Direct Support Professional Recognition Week took place September 8 through September 14th this year. Direct Support Professionals are the “core” of New York’s system of supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. This job requires technical and values-based skills that make life-changing differences in the lives of the individuals they support.
This year we recognized and celebrated our Direct Support Professionals, at the Day Programs and Residences where they work each and everyday throughout the entire month of September!
This summer the performing artists of IAHD – The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. Bainbridge have been discovering and celebrating the vivid, diverse, and distinct culture of New Orleans.
Their inspired impressions of what it might be like if the Big Easy were in the Bronx came to life! Music, singing, dancing, costumes and floats!
Show Reflects Bainbridge Avenue’s Boundless Energy, Excitement and Recognition of the Efforts of Dedicated Staff
Music is a favorite activity at IAHD, and today’s musical program reflected the eclectic interests of our performers. Performances included rousing renditions of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (Beatles), Michael Jackson’s hits, “Thriller” and “Beat It,” and “Baby, I Need Your Loving,” (Four Tops). Dances also featured many of Michael Jackson’s hits, but the Latin culture was also represented with an enthusiastic dance to the music of “Dominicano Yo Soy” (Raulin Rosendo), which had the whole audience moving to the beat. Our models displayed their best outfits for different events, modeling everything from tuxedos to formal dresses to vacation attire. Many of them coordinated and planned their own outfits with staff assistance. The rich heritage of IAHD was well represented in the musical, dance and costumed selections.
The success of the show was greatly facilitated by the Ryer Avenue Residential Manager, Alexandra Contin, Brianna Hopps from the Bainbridge Avenue Pre-Vocational Program and Art Coordinator, Seth Addai. Their efforts helped to engage everyone and create an unforgettable event. A particular highlight of this year’s show was the acknowledgement given to Ms. Philipcia Joseph. The staff recognized Ms. Joseph for the outstanding effort she puts forth on a daily basis, as well as her key role in facilitating special events. Ms. Joseph humbly and graciously accepted flowers and well deserved applause for her continued advocacy and support of IAHD’s individuals.
Ann Ladd, Artist in Residence, Assists IAHD Artists to Create a Colorful Mural of the Hudson River Vicinity
When ArtsWestchester notified IAHD it had received an award to participate in the Artist in Residence program, they provided a list of artists who participate in this program. Each artist had a wonderful biography, but we made our selection and reached out to Ann Ladd, because of her expertise in working with individuals in similar settings, as well as her talent for making collages and murals of different textures. That description sounded as though it would fit the interests of the people who attend IAHD’s Tarrytown Day Program.
When Ms. Ladd arrived, we knew immediately that we had selected the perfect artist. She was energetic, enthusiastic and full of creative ideas. We brainstormed themes, and together, we developed the idea of creating a mural that would relate to our location in a Hudson River town. The mural presented an excellent opportunity for people to work collaboratively on a project while also allowing for individualized expression. Those who participated had opportunities to experiment with different types of paints and brushes and to try many of the other techniques Ann showed them as they painted fish, boats and all things related to life near the Hudson. The colorful mural is on display at IAHD, and we invite all to stop off and see it. Rightly so, it is a huge source of pride for everyone who participated, and we thank ArtsWestchester and Ann Ladd for providing us with this opportunity.
A Special Technology Project Links Learning to Functional Applicability
Ms. Lisa Yokana is the STEAM Coordinator at Scarsdale High School, offering a sequence of courses that include, “Introduction to Design and Fabrication,” “Introduction to Engineering,” “Robotics,” “Physical Computing/Wearables,” “Design and Building,” “Design for Modern Production” and “Entrepreneurship.” This Fall, Ms. Yokana and a few of her students attended a workshop at DIY Ability on the subject of “toy hacking,” which relates to adapting toys for special populations. Immediately, Ms. Yokana recognized the value of teaching her students this skill set, while merging it with an empathic and functional experience where the results of their efforts would have a beneficial effect on the lives of others. In a collaborative effort with IAHD’s Speech Pathologists, toys were identified that would be appropriate for “hacking,” and these included spin art and spirometer type art activities that could be activated with a switch. A bubble machine was also modified for switch usage.
On December 21, 2017, Speech Pathologists, Cara Levy and Sohodra Singh, invited Rima Nesheiwat to represent her peers at IAHD, and together, they traveled to Scarsdale High School to meet with the STEAM class. We met an amazing group of motivated and bright students, who were unbelievably facile in building switches, adapting toys and committed to the project of sending us home with switches and activities that the men and women at the IAHD Tarrytown Day program would be able to operate on their own. Rima carried home her art project that she had created using a bilaterally adapted switch. The opportunities that these devices will give people with limited mobility to actively participate in art projects and other activities left us filled with gratitude and wonder.
The prospects for future collaborations and the opportunities to use STEAM learning to really make a difference in the lives of the people supported by IAHD were discussed, and we are all energized by the prospects of working together in the future. We are deeply indebted to Ms. Yokana, her students and Scarsdale High School for the supplies, the talent and their generosity.