While these items are sent as Tapestry tips, they are good tips for everyone we support during this time whether they have goals supported by Tapestry, or not.
During this time when Tapestry (community-based day services) have such limited options, it is important to remember the many ways we can help people achieve their Tapestry goals.
Tapestry’s mission has always been to help people build relationships and being a PART of the community, not just IN the community. We have expanded our interpretation of the mission and are now allowing activities where the person is alone with one or two team members, only when they are able to meet the safety guidelines in place, such as trips to the park, hikes, walking around the neighborhood, playing games in the park, exercising outside, etc. If the guidelines can not be met, for example, the hiking trail has too many people to maintain social distancing, the activity will need to be rescheduled for another time less populated, a different location found, a different activity, etc.
Many people we support with Tapestry have a communication goal. These tips are to help you think through the many ways we help people communicate as well as thinking about additional communication support that can help during these times of heightened stress, uncertainty, or fear. All of these tips should be applied as needed and as it works for the person you support’s unique communication style.
- LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN.
- Don’t fill the silence – Many times, someone may struggle to try to get their thoughts out. It is natural to want to ease the struggle and fill the silence by filling in words for them or rush to help them answer. Pause a moment. Give someone time to think through what they are trying to say. Some people don’t verbalize quickly. Nod your head to show you are listening.
- Ask, “How does that make you feel?” – Many times people don’t really want our advice, they just need help processing a feeling. Asking a question helps them process on their own.
- Ask, “What do you want to do about that?” – listen to what they have to say. If you have advice at this point, soften it with something like, “There may be another option. You can… What do you think about that?” This helps someone know you are working with them, not lecturing them.
- Instead of asking questions directly, start with, “I wonder…” For example, instead of saying, “Do you feel frustrated about not being able to see your friends right now?” say, “I wonder if you are feeling frustrated about not being able to see your friends right now.” – This helps people open up and not feel like you are putting something on them. It leaves an opportunity for more open-ended responses.
- Ask, “What is the best part about this?” or “What is the worst part about this?” This will help you target your help in the ways that matter the most to the person instead of guessing what the priorities are.
As always following a Tapestry activity, it is important to include the supports you provided in your documentation. Include the ways you helped someone communicate. This will also help other team members know how to best help someone and you can all support someone consistently in the way that works best for them.
If you have ANY questions, please call your Tapestry team!