Community Habilitation Components
Individuals attending WATCH will be offered training in the following skill areas that they need based on agency and self-assessments.
Each individual attending WATCH. will be offered those personal care and hygiene skills necessary to allow them the opportunity to become as self-sufficient and independently functioning as possible. The need for development of a positive self-image in keeping with a responsibility for the preservation of human dignity directs the staff at the Center to teach and develop skills which will meet the needs of all persons served in the program.
Formal research, as well as general experience indicates that the more people can do for themselves, the better they feel about themselves. People who look different, tend to be highly noticeable. In the past, many mentally challenged individuals "looked different" simply because their personal hygiene and care was poor. An effort to teach individuals about hair style, clothing styles, dentures, make-up, care of fingernails, eyeglasses and shaving will help the person feel she looks prettier or he is better looking. Thus, their self-image is more positive than negative. Attitudes toward development in other skill areas also become more positive. The basic premise of the theory of normalization is not only allowing for a normal life style as possible, but also as normal an appearance as well.
Independent Living Skills:
The need for the development of positive attitudes regarding self-image and self-worth direct the Center to teach and develop skills that will enable an individual to become a functioning member of his or her household. These skills include food preparations, washing and drying dishes, general housekeeping skills such as dusting and vacuuming, setting a table and doing laundry.
An individual who is able to perform these basic household tasks, not only becomes more self-sufficient, but also becomes a more integral member of the household unit, be that his or her own family home, staffed residence, group home or ultimately, perhaps, an independent living setting such as an apartment.
There is a tremendous need for mentally challenged individuals to have basic functional life skills such as number concepts, money concepts, calculator skills and word recognition. WATCH teaches day-to-day practical skills which all people must have in order to function in today's society. Most people take for granted telling time, but for a mentally challenged person, the acquisition of this skill can take several months to accomplish. The attainment of these skills and others, including recognizing colors, knowing one's address, phone number and age, allow the individual to be less dependent on others and thus, by being more self-sufficient, develop a more positive self-image.
Instructors from West Kentucky Learning Center conduct adult education classes weekly. Individuals may also participate in a Life Skills/Sign Language Class one day per week if they choose to do so.
The need for our individuals to be self-reliant and productive members of their community directs this center to train them in various vocational opportunities adapted to individual abilities. The more skills developmentally disabled individuals can attain in the many areas of work, the more accepted they become. Work is one of the most normal activities of life. It is an activity in which a large percentage of the American population is engaged. Therefore, the need for this population to do some sort of work is vital.
Individuals will be offered job readiness training for workshop contracts, and community based employment. Participants learn the importance of following directions, developing good work habits, and relating to their employer and fellow employees. Individuals may also be introduced to skills such as using a time clock, developing a resume, and interviewing skills. Individuals who have attained jobs in the community are also taught to use the public transportation system to get to their job site.
Many of our individuals have language problems. Some have no speech, while others have unintelligible speech. Many handicapped adults are able to comprehend, but lack the ability to communicate easily or spontaneously. Some of our participants receive therapy from a speech pathologist based on individual needs. Speech therapy will either be held at the center during regular hours, or the individual will be transported to approved sites for speech therapy as needed.
Motor skills include both fine and gross movements of the body that results from coordinated activities of nerves and muscles. Gross motor skills are any skills in which the large muscles of the body are involved. Exercise equipment and instruction are available for daily use, if desired. Swimming, basketball and field day activities are offered when available. When needed, our participants are provided with physical therapy. Fine motor skills are any skills in which the small muscles of the body are involved. Programming in the fine motor area includes writing skills, tool manipulation, sanding, staining, collating and small parts assembly. These are skills that are expected of an individual by society and assist with the development of a positive self-image.
Training in community skills is directed toward increasing general mobility in one's community. The purpose is to acquaint the individual with places of interest such as learning where the grocery store is and how to shop there; learning how to go to a restaurant, order, and eat appropriately; learning where and how to make use of community recreational facilities including the bowling alley and the swimming pool. Also, training in mailing items and learning where and how to use the library is taught. As mentally challenged persons develop these skills and utilize them effectively, the public will become aware of their capabilities in our community. Each individual will increase his/her interaction in one's community through volunteer work, making use of recreational facilitits, eating at restaurants, grocery shopping, and touring community facilities such as the fire department, humane society, or the local television station.
Day Training Components
WATCH provides in-house employment for its participants through contract work with various agencies. Individuals receive a monthly paycheck based on the piece rate of their production or an hourly wage.
Briggs & Stratton Corporation
WATCH has enjoyed working with the local Briggs & Stratton plant since 1986. Individuals assemble throttle shafts and other small parts for lawn mowers in the workshop on a daily basis, and are paid a piece rate.
In 2005 WATCH began contract work for Pella, assembling several different small parts to be used in their window and door assembly. Individuals work on the Pella contract each day, filling a weekly order of assembled parts for the Murray facility, and are paid a piece rate.
WATCH also contracts with various community businesses to provide additional in-house employment for participants on an as needed basis. Some of the contracts that individuals have worked on in the past inclued collating, sorting, rework, inspection, assembly and packaging. Most of the time jobs such as these can be completed at the center at a lower cost to the business.
Community Based Supported Employment
The community based supported employment program provides job placement and training for participants through two funding programs. These workers become productive members of society receiving a considerable increase in wages, fringe benefits and the opportunity to work in an integrated work setting.
Individuals are placed in jobs working a maximum of 40 hours per week at minimum wage or above. Participants are trained by an Employment Specialist who stays on the job site until the quality of work equals that of the other workers. The Employment Specialist is also available for future support if needed. Calloway County businesses have been very supportive and pleased with their results after participating in supported employment. Since the supported employment program began in 1986, over 200 placements have been made in the community.
The supported employment program at WATCH has received national recognition form the National Organization on Disability. WATCH was named one of 13 winners in a nationwide competition and received a cash award of $1,000.00 for expanding the employment opportunities of severely disabled adults. Former Presidential Press secretary, James Brady, Chairman of the awards program, presented the award to WATCH at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.
WATCH staff welcomes inquiries concerning employment contract possibilities for its participants. Any employers interested in hiring WATCH participants may call the center at 759-1965 ext. 100 for more information. Working and the benefits of working give the developmentally disabled person a feeling of independence, self-reliance and satisfaction.