Life skills team leader says flexibility and creativity key to work
Lisa Bailey

Amy Glass has supported many people to build skills for independence and connect with the community in the 13 years she’s been with posAbilities.

But these relationships have taught the Richmond life skills team leader a few things as well.

“I’ve met a number of people and I take away something from everyone,” says Amy, who has done one-to-one work, group and evening programming with the life skills program.

She’s grown, for example, in her view of people’s abilities.

Coming to posAbiliites straight from school, Amy says she expected to learn about disabilities.

“Through my years and starting with this agency, you learn it’s not about the disability, it’s about the ability, and every individual is different,” she says.

Amy has learned to be creative in the way she approaches people and discovered different ways to look at the world.

People she’s supported, for example, have pointed to simple beauty in life, like a tree in bloom.

“Our lives get so busy and we’re so focused on what we’re doing, we just forget to look at what’s around us.”

Amy says that people she supports ground her, remind her of what’s important in life, and to celebrate success.

“Quite often we do it with the people we support but we don’t do it with ourselves. We set long-term goals and big goals and we may not reach it and we feel as though we haven’t accomplished something. But in every journey you learn something, and there are successes in everything.”

Amy has seen the developmental services sector change.

“Community living has gone from that to living in community, participating in the community and this changes with people’s needs, the dynamics of family and what people want.”

As a result, flexibility is key in relationships forged with people supported. It’s also crucial to discover interests and strengths.

“People connect over common interests, so you find out what people enjoy doing and look for ways that they can become involved,” Amy says.

As well, it’s important to be exposed to different things in life so people can make the best choices for themselves.

“In life skills, you’re focused on goals but conversations happen and stories come up. You get a sense of an individual and what they’re like, and many families we work with are very supportive so you can say, ‘I noticed (this person) is very interested in this, I know about a program,’ and families can follow through and help to encourage and support that involvement.”

Support also develops naturally as life skills participants connect with each other.

Amy says it’s exciting to see life skills participants grow and connect with the community so when the program support ends, they continue to be involved.

“I feel very fortunate to be involved in this agency,” she says.

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