Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rebecca Photographed Enjoying One Of Her Chores

This photo was taken last night at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder.

We’ve written a lot about how the technology at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome has improved the quality of life for the residents, but in spite of all the great, useful technology in the house, the floors still need to be cleaned by a person. At this point in time there is not a robot at the home that can mop the floor so Rebecca is doing that as one of her chores. She sure seemed to be enjoying herself, and she's getting exercise at the same time.

Also, she is not sitting down on the job, Rebecca uses a walker for safe mobility, and that's what she's sitting on.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gerald Speaks About His Upcoming Birthday

This blog post was submitted via an audio email from Gerald, who lives at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder. In this post, Gerald did not use his Dynavox computer to communicate, he vocalized his responses to questions he was asked by one of the staff members from his home. Gerald is very skilled at using his Dynavox, but he is also working hard to improve his oral communication skills. Although some of the questions presented to Gerald required only "yes" or "no" responses, Gerald seemed pleased to have had a successful interview for the audio email. 

Staff: What’s going on soon that you are excited about?
Gerald: My birthday.

Staff: Is it in February?
Gerald: Um hum.

Staff: February 10?
Gerald: Yeah.

Staff: If you could have one present for your birthday what would it be?
Gerald: A fire truck.

Staff: Do you get excited when you see the people around town when they’re fighting fires in their big truck? Gerald: Uh huh.

Staff: What else are you doing on your birthday? Are you going out?
Gerald: Going out to eat.

Staff: Do you know which restaurant you’re going to?
Gerald: Three Margaritas.

Staff: But you’re not going to have three margaritas are you?
Gerald: No.
Staff: OK, good. Happy birthday G.
This photo was taken last Saturday night at a dinner/dance Gerald attended in Berthoud.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Did One Fly Say To The Other Fly?

This blog post was sent via an audio email last night by John, who is a resident of the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder. The residents of that home have access to audio email software, and John has learned how to send the audio emails without assistance from anyone.

Hi, I know it’s kind of late but I’m trying to make an email for you. How are things going for you? I hope to see you again sometime soon. I saw you last week outside (our Advocacy Council meeting) and so please tell Lou Ella hello for me.

I have a really good joke. “What did the fly say to the other fly?” It said, “Buzz off.” I’m going to have to find new jokes for next time, but I had to tell you that good one tonight. Talk to you later, bye.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Aneta Tells Us "My Mom Taught Me How To Read"

This blog post was provided to us in a face to face interview with Aneta, who is a resident at Foothills Group Home.  This is the third segment of the interview.

My mom taught me how to read. She told me that someday she’d be gone and she wanted me to know how to read. I like poetry, Emily Dickenson is one of my favorites. I had trouble with algebra though. When it got to letters instead of numbers, that was difficult. Mom was a teacher so I had to graduate from high school. I did graduate and it was the happiest day of my life. My brother knows calculus, and I’m lucky to know that one plus one equals two, but I can spell better than he can!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chris Says "Christmas Is All About Family"

This blog post was submitted via an audio email from Chris, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder. Chris had been discussing Christmas with his housemates, and came up with a brief, insightful comment.

What I love about Christmas is it’s not all about the presents, it’s all about family.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mandy Says "Valentine's Day Is Very Important"

This blog post was sent via an audio email from Mandy, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder.

Hi, this is Mandy. I like Valentine’s Day because of all the neat stuff and all the candy they have out and the conversation hearts that they have.

I think Valentine’s Day is just a very important day to people.

My mother is a florist, so she works a lot (that day). It’s the biggest holiday of the year for her. She has 18 drivers just out delivering flowers. She’s got 35 people total working for her on Valentine’s Day.

(When asked what her favorite thing about Valentine’s Day is, Mandy replied, “ I don’t know, the balloons I guess.”


(NOTE: One of the best parts of this audio email was hearing Mandy’s housemate Chris in the background providing support and saying, “Awesome Mandy” when she finished).

This photo was taken at Mandy's birthday party, with someone comparing the design
on one of Mandy's birthday cards to the shirt she was wearing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

John Has A Busy Week Ahead

This blog post was sent to John’s friend Gary via an audio email that John composed on his computer last Thursday at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome where John lives.

Hi. This is your friend John speaking. I’m sending the message email to you and I just want to say hello. Happy Thursday before Friday.

I want to let you know that next Thursday night I’m going to the Boulder Dinner Theater to see "42nd Street" which is really a fun thing. I’m going to the National Western Stock Show on January 26th, that’s on a Saturday, and then the prom after that. (John is attending a prom in Berthoud this Saturday night)  

I’ve got to let you know that my work in the Hungry Toad went really good. I hope you’ll come to that place (The Hungry Toad) and take a picture. I’ll talk to you later, bye.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gerald Tells Us His Birthday Plans

This blog post was provided to us by Gerald, a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome, who communicated this message to us by using his Dynavox computer, operating it with his finger switch.

My birthday is February 10. I will be 51 years old. I’m going to dinner with my wife and Whitney at 3 Margaritas. (Note: Whitney is a counselor at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome).

Gerald's birthday is still three weeks away but he's already had his Dynavox computer
programmed so he can let people know when it is and what he has planned.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rae's Birthday Hat

This blog post was sent to us via an audio email from Rae, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, Colorado. Rae received some prompts in the form of answering questions presented to her by her Primary Counselor Max which were transformed into complete sentences.

My birthday was January 4th. I went out to eat at IHOP. The next day we had dinner at 3 Margaritas with Donna, Gerald, and Max. I had a big salad and soda pop. The people who work at the restaurant sang happy birthday to me and let me wear a big hat. Yes I did have a good time on my birthday.

Rae at 3 Margaritas Restaurant for her "birthday dinner."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"I'm Not Scared, I'm Terrified. Let's Do It Again."

This blog post is the second installment from a face to face interview with Aneta last Friday at Foothills Group Home where she lives.

I went to Disney World with Taylor, and it was really good. My favorite ride was Soarin’. Your feet are off the ground, about six feet, but they make it seem like you’re quite far off the ground because they have a video screen. Taylor asked me if I was scared, and I said, “I’m not scared, I’m terrified.” As soon as the ride was over, I told Taylor, “Let’s do it again.”

We had fresh squeezed orange juice every morning. That was quite good.

Getting there we took a plane. It was not my first plane ride, but it was my first Florida plane ride, and my first time in Florida. My first plane ride was with my dad. He had heard on the radio that United was having a promotion, and was offering plane rides. We flew around Denver on a jet. When we got to the airport, dad said, “Don’t be scared, I’ll be right there with you.” He said he wouldn’t steer me wrong, and he didn’t. We had a good time flying around Denver and back.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

John Hopes For A Great Bronco Season Next Year

This blog post was submitted via an audio email from John, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, Colorado. The audio emails are part of the technology the SmartHome provides the residents so they can communicate with their friends and families in an easy way.

Hi, this is your friend John. How was your weekend? I know that the Broncos lost in double overtime but I hope that they’ll change things around and hopefully they’ll have a great, better season again. So, I just want to tell you hi. I’ve been to the I-Max and I saw polar bears during the movie, and I had pizza from Pizza Hut. I went to church on Sunday, and that was about all. Oh, I watched the NFL playoffs again. I’ll talk to you soon, and I’ll send you a good joke next time. Bye

Monday, January 14, 2013

David Bowls His All Time High Score (For 3 Games)

This blog post was provided to us via a phone call from David earlier today, Monday, January 14. (note: David is currently in three bowling leagues in Lafayette at the Coal Creek bowling alley. 
Some leagues allow the bowlers to use bumpers in the gutters to prevent gutter balls, but they don't do that in David's leagues).

“Hey, when are you going to stop by again and watch us bowl? You should have been there last Tuesday. I bowled a 217, a 165, and a 196. It was only my third 200+ game, and the three game total of 578 was my highest total ever. In the first game I had eight strikes. I don’t know what I’m doing but whatever it is it’s working. You should stop by tomorrow and have a beer and watch us bowl. Our team bowls Jack’s team tomorrow, so that will be fun. (Jack is David’s housemate and longtime friend). I’m doing fine and I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow.  You know we have a good time, that's what it's all about.”

David (right) with his longtime friend Jack.
David has the pins flying here.
David (on the left) with his friend Jack.  On this night they were teammates.  They both bowl in many leagues
and sometimes are teammates and sometimes are on opposing teams.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Aneta's First Day At Work 30 Years Ago

This blog post was provided by Aneta during a face to face interview with her at Foothills Group Home in Boulder, Colorado, where Aneta lives. This is the first of a series of blog posts Aneta will be providing.

I moved to Boulder from Arvada about 30 years ago, and I moved into Carmel House. I didn’t know anybody and I was scared. Jim Graves (the Director of Carmel) was a nice guy and he helped me to be more comfortable. He helped me to make new friends.
During the day I went to the workshop (on Broadway and Iris in Boulder). I took a taxi, and that in itself was quite and accomplishment to get into the taxi cab. When the taxi showed up and they said “Are you ready for work?” you better be ready and have what you needed for the day. I learned how to take care of myself.

At the workshop, Bob and Stacy Lawhead were both there, and they made it fun to come to work. My first job was putting bike brakes together. Stacy said, “I know this will be hard to do, but I’d like you to try it anyway.” I was afraid I wouldn’t finish in time, but Stacy said, “You have all day to do it, so don’t be scared.” When asked how it turned out, Aneta pondered the question for about 20 seconds, then smiled and replied, “It turned out rather well.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Therapy Dog Helps Rebecca Exercise

The photos and text for this blog post were provided via email by Chantelle, the Site Supervisor at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, Colorado.

Here are pictures of Rebecca as she walked the therapy dog Raven around the house with her physical therapist Shannon. Rebecca has been working with Shannon for two months now. Shannon reports Rebecca is getting stronger and able to exercise longer without getting as tired.

Two months ago, Rebecca was assessed by her physical therapist and it was concluded that she was not safe to walk without her walker at that time. Since then, she has been working on balance strength and the goal is for her to walk with out adaptive equipment for 500 feet.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Donna Exercises By Standing To Build Leg Strength

The text and photos for this blog post are from a visit to the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, Colorado, on Sunday, December 30.

Donna, pictured here, has been building up her leg strength by standing. She uses the exercise bar attached to the wall and has two staff members from the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome available to assist her to make sure she is safe.

When these pictures were taken, Donna, both staff members, and two other residents of the SmartHome loudly counted to 20 while Donna stood. During and after each repetition, there was a lot of support and cheering from those who were present. Donna stood about four times while everyone counted to 20, then she requested trying it for 30 seconds, and she did. Alex, one of the SmartHome counselors, told us that Donna has stood while holding onto the exercise bar for up to 50 seconds.

Donna said it is her goal to be able to walk again someday. It will be a long road, but as Donna said in a recent blog post, “Now that I’m here in the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome, I can do almost everything.”

Keep up the great effort Donna, and a nice round of applause is owed to her housemates who provide heartwarming encouragement to Donna.

Donna is preparing to pull herself up to a standing position with Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome
Residential Counselor Alex on her left and Site Supervisor Chantelle on her right.
Donna churns her arms in celebration after standing for 20 seconds. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year From John

This blog post was submitted via two audio emails from John, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, Colorado.

Hi, This is John. Happy New Year. I hope that you had good Holidays and happy Monday. I was wondering if you want to try to write me back? I just want to let you know that I say hi.

So, have a good night and I’ll keep thinking of new jokes for you. Here’s one for now. “When is a car not a car?” The answer is, “When it turns into a driveway.” I hope you understand that, and I hope that you’ll write me back. I’ll talk to you later. So long for now, bye.

This photo was taken at Naropa University last year when John performed there with other
people in CORE/Labor Source classes as part of the Fringe Festival. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gerald Continues To Learn Using Technology

This blog post and photos were given in person by Gerald to a friend during his friend’s visit to the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome last Sunday.

Gerald continues to learn by using technology. He recently learned to count to 100 and now he is continuing to learn how to spell.

Using a finger switch, in the top photo Gerald is finishing typing the word "fishing." He chooses a row, then letter by letter, left to right, chooses the correct letter. This picture was taken just before he dropped down one row to successfully choose the "g."

Gerald's Dynavox is programmed so he can just choose the statement "I like to go fishing" but by learning to spell he may be able to go beyond what is programmed into his computer and communicate even more effectively.

Gerald's patience with the process is also really neat. If he clicks the finger switch just a moment too soon or too late which results in the wrong letter being chosen, he has to backspace, delete the incorrect letter, and go back to the upper left and start over for that letter.

Gerald is about to type in the letter "g" to complete the word "fishing."
He us using a finger switch to choose the correct letter.

Gerald takes a short break after correctly spelling out a word.

It's not all work and learning for Gerald.  Moments after successfully spelling three words it was time to enjoy the Broncos game.  Here is Gerald cheering right after the Broncos' first touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Friday January 4th Is Rae's Birthday

This blog post was submitted in three different audio emails by Rae, who is a resident of the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, Colorado. Rae’s Primary Counselor, Max, provided some guidance to Rae by asking her some questions, and minor editing was made so Rae’s comments would be complete sentences. Way to go Rae, we appreciate you sharing this information with us.

For Christmas this year I went home for three days. I left on Monday and came back Wednesday. My Christmas was fine. I ate dinner with my family. We had ribs and macaroni and cheese, and pie and cake for dessert. I got presents that I liked too. Today I’m going to clean my room.

Yesterday I went to the zoo and saw a lot of stuff. I liked it. Brent went with me.

My birthday is January 4th.  That's tomorrow. I want to go out to dinner and I want eight people to come out to dinner with me. I think I will get some chicken. I like Three Margaritas. Brent and Whitney will be going with me too, they work on Friday. Maybe some people from Innovations (Imagine!’s residential department) will come too.

Pictured is a piece of art Rae made to give to her niece for her niece's birthday.  Now it's Rae's turn to have a birthday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Donna Says "We're In Our Proud Years"

This blog post was provided in person by Donna, who is a resident of the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, Colorado.

I'm happier than I was a couple years ago. Now that I’m here, living in the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome, I can do almost everything. Almost, not quite everything, but I’m on my way. All of us here, we’re in our proud years.