I came to AIM Services when I turned 18. In high school I had an internship with school aged kids with Autism and I really liked it. I also was volunteering in a nursing home, and I knew I liked working with adults. A friend who works for AIM told me to come apply, and I did. I just celebrated my three-year anniversary at AIM Services in March of this year.
When I first started working with AIM Services, I was really nervous. I was only thinking about how difficult it can be working in this field. After finding the right encouragement to stick with this job and give it time, I was able to get to know the people I support very well. Everything I was told or thought about this field was wrong; it was nothing like I thought it would be. I like coming to work and I thought it was going to be hard. Of course, there are tough days, but that can be changed around pretty quickly.
I have had many experiences that have strengthened my decision to remain in this position. One experience was supporting someone that I was told could not walk; she could only stand and pivot. I walked with her, supporting her with my arms. She trusted me and I was able to help her walk. Another experience was taking a gentleman I support to see his mother. She told me she trusted me with her son and she saw that he was obviously taken care of very well. A guy I support, often runs up to me and hugs me. He does not do that with many people. When I return from a break or a vacation, you can tell that people missed me.
I have the best coworkers. Those that I work with care about the people we support so much. We all know that the other cares and wants the best for the people, so we work very well together and balance one another when we need it. When someone is on vacation we miss each other. When we are here at work, you can tell that the people we support are happy because of the staff. They often miss one person’s certain way of cooking or tell me something special that a staff member did for them. I am attached to the people I support and to my coworkers; everyone feels like family.
Last year, I tried to leave AIM to again work with the elderly. I missed the guys so much I had to come back. I think they have taught me more about myself than anyone else. I thought they might miss me when I left, but it was me that was missing them.
The current pandemic was a hardship at first. The people we support are not good with change; especially with new staff. As time has passed, in a way, this experience is one of the best things that has happened. It has allowed for people to do more for themselves. Going for rides, coloring, listening to music, sleeping in, getting a haircut when they want; these are the simple things they enjoy on their own terms and in their own time. Because people have remained in their homes with consistent staff, they have done more and are happier. We often take a guy on a drive to wave from the window at his mother. The other guy we support is able to FaceTime with his mother all of the time. He is truly another person when he is able to do this often. Although there are limitations on where people can go, they are experiencing new found freedoms and are happier. Together we are realizing necessary support changes we need to make to increase people’s happiness. When it comes to the people we support, a lot of positives have come out of this.
I want people to know that being a DSP is probably nothing like the story you have been told or told yourself. My advice is that, if you don’t like the job the first week, don’t give up. Give things a chance and be willing to branch out and continually meet new people you can support.