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December 2020 E-Newsletter
TLC Outcomes advocates for adults with disabilities to find and keep jobs and live independently in the community
A Day in the Life of a Speech-Language Pathologist at TLC:
Meika Billings, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist at TLC
What is the must have? A toolbox of ideas and alternative therapies ready is a must. At TLC, I work with adults and children with a variety of communication problems. My work includes using different techniques to improve their ability to understand when others speak, use sentences to express themselves, and more. I also help children who are "picky eaters" try new foods! 

My day usually begins with planning for the two Outcomes groups I facilitate: The Know How club and the Social Communication group. The Know How club focuses on strengthening workplace success skills such as interpersonal communication. The Social Communication group focuses on building positive relationships with others in the community. Both clubs last for one hour. Consumers and I watch videos, engage in discussion, and engage in game-based learning. I encourage them to share their ideas and interact with other group members. It is always a joy to see them ask questions and experience their "aha" moment. After each club, I document what took place to keep track of the activities and record what resonated.

Next, I usually have one-hour individual speech therapy sessions. I work on improving cognition and language in consumers who struggle to communicate in the community and at work. My goal is to help them enjoy a high quality of life. Following those sessions, what do you think is next? You guessed it! Documentation to track progress in therapy. I cannot decide if I enjoy individual sessions more than the groups because both are equally emotionally satisfying.

Late morning, if time allows, I try to drop into one of my favorite clubs: Job Club. TLC employees help consumers to find jobs and work on interviewing skills. I enjoy sharing my job search ideas and interacting with the consumers. After Job Club, it is usually time for lunch, followed by sessions with children in the Outpatient department.

I look forward to working each day. I am always ready to take on what my consumers and clients bring my way.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Interviewing (for a Job) Using Zoom or Other Virtual Platforms During a Pandemic and Beyond 
You are out of work and now you are interviewing for a job using virtual technology and you ask yourself what do I do now? I never had a virtual interview.

First you need to determine where you will have your virtual interview. Will it be in your kitchen, your dining room, or some other room? 
  • Choose an area for your interview that offers an attractive, uncluttered background.
  • Wear professional clothing or business casual depending on the job. If you are not sure, it is fine to wear professional clothing.
  • If possible, sit somewhere with a neutral color background.
  • Wear solid neural colors. Avoid fluorescent colors (ultra-bright version of almost every primary and secondary color, including: Green—Neon, Electric Lime, Red—Bright Red, Electric Orange, Blue—Electric Blue, Electric Cyan, Pink— Neon (or “Plastic”) Pink, Neon Magenta, Purple—Bright (or “Proton”) Purple).
  • Keep patterns simple without details, and jewelry small and non-distracting.
  • Some make-up if you are a female is good but do not wear dramatic eye or lip color.
  • Keep the area you are in clean and free of visual and auditory clutter.
  • Turn off potential distractions such as cell phones.
  • If possible, close the door of the room you are in if it is an area where people will frequently go by.
  • Check the lighting in your room and close all drapes or blinds to prevent glare.
  • Keep the lighting in front of you. Ring lights like the ones used by news reporters and social media influences can be purchased for under $20 online.  
  • Use natural gestures when you speak and avoid too much movement.
  • Smile and talk slowly looking at the camera not your reflection in the monitor when responding to questions, asking questions or providing comments.
  • Do not doodle, yawn, or chew gum.  
  • Watch your body language. The potential employer will be observing this.
  • Speak in your normal voice without shouting.
  • Consider using a headset that adds bass and tone to your voice as well as block out any noise from you end that could interfere with the interview. Headsets can be purchased from a store such as Staples for under $25.00. 
  • Ensure there are not airflow issues that affect the microphone (fans, ac units, open windows).
  • Ask the interviewer(s) if they can hear you.  
  • Prior to the interview, test your devices (computer or phone).
  • Adjust the camera so that you fill the screen as much as possible instead of seeing your desk, chairs, walls or floor.
  • Raise the camera on your computer to just above your eye level. It prevents you from looking down at your interviewer and keeps you focused on them.
  • Prior to the interview, practice interviews with a friend, job coach, case manager or family member; if possible, record and watch it prior to the real interview. This will allow you to see how you look to others.
Navigating the Workplace During COVID-19 Tips and Tricks 
  • If you are not well stay home and inform your employer if possible, at least a couple hours before your shift begins.
  • When at work wipe down surfaces you touch in your office at least daily, and in common areas, multiple times a day as appropriate to your workspace.
  • Do not be offended if your coworkers do not want to make friends and be social outside of work. It is due to safety concerns during a pandemic, not to you as a person. 
  • Avoid gathering in small rooms with multiple individuals.
  • Understand everyone is apprehensive about working around others during a pandemic. Demonstrating sensitivity to others is always a positive thing to do.
  • We welcome the positive news of multiple vaccines, but it does not reduce our individual responsibility to be vigilant and prevent the spread. 
  • Be patient, kind, flexible and give others you work with a break. In most cases a work project that is late will not be the end of the world, but remember to communicate with your supervisor before it is due and determine if this is critical and what should be done. No one is functioning at 100% capacity and everyone is under great stress.
  • Communicate with each other and let others know I if you are having a bad day.
  • Many you work with have had family members that have had COVID and some did not survive. 
  • Follow all CDC guidelines 
  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering as a measure to contain the wearer's respiratory droplets and help protect others. Employees should not wear a cloth face covering if they have trouble breathing, cannot tolerate wearing it, or can't remove it without help.
  • Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment and may not protect the wearers from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. However, cloth face coverings may prevent workers, including those who don't know they have the virus, from spreading it to others.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  
All about the Job Club and Know How Club
TLC Outcomes is conducting a Job Club and The Know How Club in a challenging time. We provide training, which is designed for our consumers, using all resources available to assist our audience to be prepared for an interview, answer hard questions, and demonstrate confidence while they are in an interview or on the job.
Job Club
The Job Cub offers support to those under employed or unemployed and want to work. The purpose is to develop workplace skills so a person can be successful in the workplace during COVID-19 and beyond.

In Job Club, we plan activities, discussions, and materials to help prospective job seekers improve their lives in a difficult time. Sessions are adaptive to audience needs and goals that support feedback and discussion to generate ideas and opportunities for participants.
The sessions establish an opportunity to participate, engage and see positive faces during a time of isolation and detachment from traditional routines.

The Job Club is an intricate part of the employment training process and teaches our consumers the necessary tools for seeking, securing, and keeping employment.
Participants develop self-confidence, job readiness and learn all about job preparation. This club facilitates and enhances completion of resumes, applications, cover letters, thank you letters and interview techniques.

Outcomes staff identify job leads in the DMV area near consumer’s homes that fit the skillset and/or interest for employment. Outcomes staff allow open discussions during sessions so that consumers can share experience relating to the job postings and ask questions about specific job duties and responsibilities.

Job Club sessions often involve discussing the stages of change with consumers and identifying barriers to employment once they identify specific job leads that look promising. Recently barriers have frequently involved working around COVID and discussing the correlation between anxiety and starting a new job

Know How Club
The Know How Club is focused on those we support that are on furloughed from their job because of COVID-19 and have a job to return to or those working part-time now but anticipate going back fulltime with their employer after the pandemic. The purpose is to maintain workplace behavior skills so a person will continue to be successful on the job.

Consumers learn to strengthen important work success skills (e.g., interpersonal communication, conflict resolution). Consumers work in small groups, facilitated by a speech-language pathologist or social worker, to discuss work success skills.

The Thursday Know How Club is currently exploring nonverbal communication. Participants review and analyze movie clips and commercials to discern nonverbal messages. Further, they are challenged to demonstrate work scenarios using only gestures, facial expressions and body movements. Consumers are engaged during the videos that portray a wide range of emotional situations and enjoy the lively exchange of charades.
MainStreet and TLC Outcomes Service Collaborate
TLC Outcomes began providing vocational workshops for individuals that live in the MainStreet Community in October 2020. The sessions are currently offered virtually by Zoom and have about 15-20 participants each session that are very engaged and ask good questions. Like the Job Club and Know How Club, these individuals want to work and become productive citizens in their local community.

  • Main Street presentations gives TLC Outcomes an opportunity to expand vocational and Workforce Development programming to the community.
  • Initial sessions covered overviews for resume writing, cover letter writing, and interviewing, with plans to expand to job development and employment retention skills building. 
  • Sessions follow an “every question answered” philosophy to ensure everyone gets something from the session that they can take and use in the future.

TLC Outcomes looks forward to continuing to work together with MainStreet and help those they support to become gainfully employed and maintain jobs they get. 

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a
time to visit us, call or email our Admissions and Community Supports Coordinator, Sherri Stocklin
(301) 294 9205
TLC Outcomes Adult Services
2092 Gaither Road, Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850