Disabled Lives Matter

S1-Ep31_Erica_Hawkins

September 30, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 31
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Erica Hawkins

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: Hello Hello everyone, this is nadine vogel and I am joined by the fabulous norma Stanley and norma you want to say hello to everybody.

NORMA STANLEY: Hello everyone it's good to be back with disabled lives matter.

Nadine Vogel: yep and together we are your hosts of what is not just a podcast but a movement and today the woman who is going to help us with this movement is Erica Hawkins Erica welcome to the show.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Thank you for having me nadine.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, so now you have if I if I know correctly you're a special needs mom like Norma and myself and your daughter has autism.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Yes, so autum does have autism um in addition to everything else that kind of goes along with that gamut.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: So the ADHD and the sensory processing so yeah.

Nadine Vogel: And how old is autumn.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Autum is 14 now.

Nadine Vogel: Oh okay, so that's always a interesting age whether they have special needs or not.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Absolutely absolutely and I think that you know of course you and norma know that once they hit that age is just like you know typical or neurotypical behaviors and then you see their their own personality and behaviors coming through so it's very interesting.

Nadine Vogel: You know, I've told everyone that you know teenagers and especially teenage girls, whether they have disabilities or not they definitely have special needs.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Yes, I agree, I agree.

Nadine Vogel: And we've all been there ourselves so we know.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely.

Nadine Vogel: norma you know had brought you to to our attention because of autum's gift and I believe you founded this it's a 501 C three i'm a metro Atlanta, can you tell us a little bit more about what autum's gift is.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: So autum's gift is a tailored respite.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: For families that have our loved ones with various disabilities and we've really focused on customizing our programs we were founded back in 2009 we had very gracious partners.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Who kind of just took us on, and let us kind of fell through things and i'm going to figure out how to develop the what what we feel is the best respite program definitely in the southeastern region.

Nadine Vogel: Okay, well, I, I know that respite is really, really important.

Nadine Vogel: You know and it's it's one of those things where parents, especially of younger children.

Nadine Vogel: They don't even know how to begin to take care of themselves because they're so focused on taking care of the kids.

Nadine Vogel: Right and then norma you know, for you as a single mom at this point, I mean even harder right so so let's talk about how we define respite you know what are those services How do people find out about it let's just start with what the services are.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah so fortunate, you know for myself, I am married, but the struggles are still the same you know with our families, it really doesn't matter, because what ends up happening is.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: You know the load of caring for that child is really handled by you know more so, one of the parents versus the other so yeah so i'm sorry nadine what's your question again.

Nadine Vogel: Well, just let them talk about when we say respite what do we mean by that what kind of services that you're providing.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah so um our respite services are twofold so those services can be delivered.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Within individualized basis or in a group setting we prefer group settings because our idea or our philosophy of respite is not only the character giver having a break from their loved one, but also the love when I have enough having a break as well.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: So with That being the case.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: We really like to focus on those small group settings and those small ratio, so that we can do different things like hit them out into the Community.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: and get them out on the Atlanta belt line and go for walks take them to museums um just different things, and within those small groups we run on a membership basis only.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: So with That being the case, they're always with the same people, so what we've seen.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: With our group is that it has given them an opportunity just kind of form, builds long lasting friendships and you know that usually people you know, naturally.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: You know form those and they're just kind of out having fun within our Community, we need a little bit more assistance with doing that right, so what we found is that.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: By specializing in our programs, making it a membership basis, only then we're able to really continue to focus on those small groups focus on having fun, while the caretaker is having a great as well as the loved one.

Nadine Vogel: So so Okay, so when we have the respite you know, the respite is it for like an hour is it for a day or a weekend How does that work.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah so our respite programs are four to seven hours long and that's for the groups, as well as for the individualized programs, um so, and really with our individualized programs it's tailored.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: to fit the needs of the families so some families have our services on both Saturday and Sunday and some of them have them maybe a Wednesday.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: So that's usually how our programs fall um now we do also offer a retreat to both our adults and our she's invited program, and so they went this past year to watercolor Florida for about five days um.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah so they absolutely love 30-A, of course, it was.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: A group of approximately six, the ratio to staff, it was about four staff, plus myself and another, head of the program was there in the city, so that we can help out as needed so that's given them the opportunity to get away with friends.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: enjoy you know, things like go to the beach go to the pool they went out to dinner to play just to do different things, and have those overnight well, while the parents go ahead and take a break during the same time.

NORMA STANLEY: love that love that.

NORMA STANLEY: You know, I was.

NORMA STANLEY: One of the things that I really wanted to one of the reason I wanted you to kind of be on the show was because that is such a challenging and and such an important thing when you're leaving a child, with.

NORMA STANLEY: Somebody who's caring for them and it's not you, you want to know that you're going to come back and find your child Okay, there was a  story that just bothered me just last week about a young lady who has cerebral palsy who's was with a caregiver.

NORMA STANLEY: And who died.

NORMA STANLEY: In the car the caregiver left her there for five hours.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my God.

NORMA STANLEY: And left, so I just wanted to kind of get an idea because I just think it happens, too often, for our children.

NORMA STANLEY: It happens with a lot Children these days I don't understand it, but particularly for you know vulnerable populations like children disabilities it's happening more and more, and I just want to understand.

NORMA STANLEY: What the screening processes of hiring people who is taking taking care of children who can I talk to themselves and who can't help themselves, she obviously couldn't unlock the car.

NORMA STANLEY: You know that's why she didn't take her with her, I don't know, but those are kind of things that really concerned me and I was wondering if you could shed some light on the screening processes.

NORMA STANLEY: To you know when you when you're making sure that your people who are taking care of our children are handled and cared for properly.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: And qualify yeah.

NORMA STANLEY: Definitely qualified.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah so that's that's the lesson that we learned back in 2000.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: And when we first started when we first started, of course, you know our mission was respite and we wanted to you know have volunteers and.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: offer this extended date service to families, but we quickly found that that really didn't work because you know volunteers, they you know we're thankful for them, of course, our Community is but.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: um they would come and go she's had and they weren't as committed as we would like, so what we did was.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: We started a screening process so once a person is asked to interview with autum's gift the interviewing process to face.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: So it's pretty rigorous each phase is about an hour and that's before we even meet them in person, and so we usually do two zoom.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Meetings with them one on myself than one with whomever will be their lead we meet them at our campus.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: kind of just spend time with them and then we invited them to come back again so they could spend a day with our participants, so that we can just see.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: How, you know just kind of what their flow is what their natural feel is for the community and I always to learn, please I can't teach you compassion.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: But one great thing about our children is that they let you know right away, whether or not they're feeling a person or not, so why before they're even higher, you know they they do a couple of those screenings as well, so that we can just kind of get a feel for them.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: In addition to that, once that phase is done we've been introduced them to.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: It is for an individual client we introduce them to the family and allow the family to meet them and allow them to spend some time in their home um so our process is very.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Rigorous, our process is time consuming it's not just the kind of job that you can jump into, of course, we do the background checks and the drug screen and things of that sort, but we also take it a step further and we.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: make sure that persons are going to be with us for a long period of time, so with That being the case, we have their pay even structured in a way that you have to give notice Okay, so you can't just.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: fall in the company, you know work with the family, get a check and go um so we make it so that you know they have to give us up 45 day or we're pulling back our referrals.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Just kind of things of that sort, in addition to that, we believe in transparency for our families, so we do operate on an APP so when our staff members are our with our small groups or with our individuals.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Our parents are within that timeframe receiving live pictures live videos live feedback of what exactly is going on with their loved one exactly what activities they're they're engaging in because there's no better person than the parent.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: That can tell whether or not their loved one is genuinely having fun and that's what our focus is fun so again, we want them to have fun and have a break, but we want our families to have a guilt free break too so with the with the.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: The zoom meetings initially the interviewing process inperson and the shadowing the interviewing with the families and then that transparency.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: That is mandatory throughout the day once they're employed with.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: US is kind of you know it all goes into our game of helping to keep them safe.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: On and I know it's a lot, you know and respite is very expensive I worked in the field extensively before autumn's gift so I get it.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: And I get that one to one can be very expensive, but I think it has just helped that i'm a mom and I know exactly you know I feel I knew exactly what our community needs what our children need that was able to put together a program that was able to treat them all, like they're mine and.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: You know, hold everyone accountable, who comes in.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Contact with them.

Nadine Vogel: that's great, so we are at a point we just have to take a short break.

Nadine Vogel: For our listeners stay tuned don't go anywhere we'll be back in just a minute with disabled lives matter.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

[COMMERCIAL]
Have you attended a springboard Consulting event? Well, you should, we have the best events and our 2022 events are just under way. Firstly is the Brg Summit happening on Tuesday, April 26th, and then following that is Disability Matters. North America Conference and Awards that's happening Wednesday and Thursday, April, 27 and 28. Both events are being delivered by a live stream. If interested in attending, please visit www.consultspringboard.com for more information.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.

 

Nadine Vogel: Alright, everybody, this is nadine vogel and I am back with norma Stanley and together we are co hosting disabled lives matter.

Nadine Vogel: We are speaking today with Erica Hawkins who's talking with us about autumn's let me see what let me get the right name autum's gift, which is this just this fabulous service for respite and I can tell you norma you and i've talked about this right as special needs parents.

NORMA STANLEY:  Yeah.

Nadine Vogel: Respite respite respite capital R if you don't have the family right and friends and folks that can help, this is the way to do it and Erica it sounds like you're doing an amazing job with this organization.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Thank you, thank you nadine.

Nadine Vogel: Just tell us a little bit about the disability types that you serve and the ages, that you serve.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Yeah, so the disability types that we service um pretty much vart and we feel like we're capable to and due to our screening processes were capable to take care of pretty much anyone who comes to us.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Um not so much medically fragile I think that's a different level of care that we're able to to give because we are a very active Program.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: But, as for the ages you'll see on our website that our programs actually range from age three.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Throughout adulthood, and the three year olds that program is every moment counts it's about three to six what I found as a mom is that when autum was at that tender age, and we really need it.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Daycare programs for her inclusivity and it was not fair Okay, and so, for us it was like hey let's take her to the playground let's let's get a membership at the Y so while we're working out she can go into the kids room, because every single moment counted as.

Nadine Vogel: Early. intervention.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: It is it is and we had to kind of you know find a way, so, aside from the every moment counts, we didn't go up into.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Our teams and adolescence um so we have our signature respite program and those programs and they're able to get out into the Community, we may have art therapist come in for the day music therapists.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: And they do cooking they do sewing so much just a variety of different activities, and then we have the she's invited program which allows our girls.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: um usually our girls are you know considered neuro diverse to come together and just help to bond and form those groups and things those little social groups that they will need.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: And then we have our adults for our social experience and really with our adults.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: They focus on the thing which is this expanding on those relationships that they have they do in Community activities Monday through Friday.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: On they also have programs and things on Saturdays where they go to different outings like maybe to a braves game and um fine dining we're really like to let them kind of request and tailor their own programs.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: or just provide us with a list of things that they want to do and share with each other so so yeah so autum's gifte has something for everyone.

Nadine Vogel: And I guess if someone does have medical needs, they could bring their own nurse or someone with them as part of the Program.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Absolutely, and you know what I had.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: In that would be fantastic we're totally open to that and that's something that has helped to make us unique to is because we've even gone as far as is to have para professionals and things that come into our Program.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: If a family really wanted to be there, so that they can train us how to work with that particular that particular child, so that we can you know just kind of streamline thing so yeah.

Nadine Vogel: So how about you, this is a $50 million question, I think, norma, you and I talked about this, we you know every interview right it is covid the dreaded covid right how has that impacted what you've been able to do.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah so covid.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah. the dreaded covid.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: And what impact it has had you know for a while we had to stop our services, we were, and you know.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: co-listing with different places and having our different programs set up as a different locations that we felt our participants could go into and.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: meet their needs, environmentally but we had to stop that and that really and you know just kind of stifled our movement, a bit because we had to refigure things we had to just go back to the drawing board figure out.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: How to make it work and so that's when we started doing a lot of different things in community, but we were blessed to meet Andrea Gordon.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Andrea Gordon is hosting an event called fashion meets food and, within that event, it will benefit autum's gift in our respite programs for families, so that.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: The proceeds are going to go towards helping us to move into our own location so we're looking at doing that very soon, in October, so.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: we're very thankful to Gordon and the chef for putting on this event for us and and it's going to be an annual event, and I know that it's going to be fun and will raise lots of money for respite i'm.

Nadine Vogel: Raising money for respite they know you said that you work on membership So who is it like sliding scale based on how people can afford to pay and then this becomes you know this fills the gap or How does that work.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: yeah so the way that the money's work out is, we have one set fee, but all of the money raised.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: All of the monies raised for autumns gift go right back into the scholarships so because that's where the greatest need, is because.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: For us to provide the level of care that we do and a have Apps and creme de la creme Staff and things of that sort, we want to maintain those things, and that quality of care and so all of those things go back into the scholarship pod which fall back into our staff.

Nadine Vogel: got it. Well that makes a lot of sense.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: So all of our families have. An opportunity to partake yeah.

Nadine Vogel:  Well that was great Well, I can tell you, you know norma you and I, and we are probably the biggest believers in respite right.

Nadine Vogel: And in not only the kids meaning of but even more so for the parents so Erica I just want to thank you so much for all that you do for autum's gift I believe it's a gift that you're bringing to everyone.

Nadine Vogel: And so appreciative that you came on our show today.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Thank you all so much for having me and for allowing me to speak with your families about respite. yay.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely so norma another great show.

NORMA STANLEY: Yes, it was yes, it was a lot of great information shared today, so thank you again.

NORMA STANLEY: Erica and looking forward to bringing lots more great guests to disabled matter as the week's pass and they're passing very quickly as i'm looking into the year Lord help.

Nadine Vogel: Alright, everyone will see you again soon bye bye.

Autumn's Gift Respite Care: Bye.

NORMA STANLEY: Everyone have a blessed one, bye bye.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

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