Cross Examination is Like Playing Ms. Pac-Man & I Like it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I know that a good attorney who excels at cross examining an expert witness is thoroughly knowledgeable of their case. There’s volumes of information and data that needs to be absorbed and analyzed before going to court! 

You my attorney reader, use intuition and instinct to discover weak points in the witness’ presentation, and in a fair and calm manner, formulate and ask clear questions to elicit precise information. This requires patience and self-control, especially when you’re working on the spot! Job well done!

I’ve been a vocational expert witness during workers’ compensation court proceedings about 12 times over the last 16 years. I have served in courtrooms (mostly conference rooms with a workers’ compensation deputy commissioner presiding) with up to eight people present. 

Recently, I’ve also testified in divorce court proceedings, personal injury and medical malpractice cases. For a copy of my most recent litigation history, please inquire and I’ll be happy to provide it to you.

From my side of the stand, I better be familiar with rough courtroom conditions!

I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, my vocation, and even my personality (I’m too nice, huh? hahaha!!) by the opposing attorney. I learned a lot from prior mistakes but I learn even more from recent successes.

I remember my first court appearance many moons ago. I was the primary job placement specialist on a case when the opposing attorney stabbed my body language in an erroneous and made up way.  Because there was nothing to see because human bodies speak for themselves, he undermined his credibility not mine. And I remember that well.

Image result for old fart cartoonI have no idea what the old fart was trying to do, but the judge didn’t care for it either!

I remember another court case (this was in Council Bluffs) that involved typical cross examination, starting out with repeating basic questions to get different responses from me…then the pressure was applied! I used first-hand knowledge and communication skills to respond to his questions, remaining true to my convictions while expressing strong belief in my work.

Hopefully I revealed to everyone in the room that being confident, calm and polite is a respectful way to answer difficult questions (even personal attacks). The judge on this case was newly appointed at that time. I don’t know the decision nor have I reviewed the transcripts on that case. I suppose decisions and transcripts could help me to some degree, but I don’t ever have direct access to them plus to me it’s likely they are not pertinent to any future case other than learning from miscue or miscommunication errors.

My goal as an expert witness is to win over the people in the courtroom.

To prepare for cross, I think of all the factors that may arise on a case and pay close to attention to what I want to say about 5 to 7 main issues or circumstances most likely at the meat of the matter, commonly being extent of loss of earnings. I realize the cross examiner will try very hard to prove his or her theory of the case, while devaluing mine. The opposing attorney wants to discredit me, and will eat away at any potential weakness in what I said or reported.Ms Pac-Man

I’m  pretty good at Ms. Pac-Man! Wanna play?

I rely on my expertise, research on disability and rehabilitation, objective evidence, direct placement experiences, the principles of ergonomics along with the provision of reasonable accommodation to help determine an individual’s work potential.

I understand how worker profile changes may impact access to the labor market and wage earning capacity. I can respond creatively by highlighting the constructive and favorable strengths of how my work brings successful results and focus on the positive nature of change, motivation, and choice.

I educate everyone in the courtroom about the scope of my practice and how it works when the individual agrees with my approach. Most importantly, I match people within their own world of work which takes time, attention and a great appreciation for the jobs people do everyday.

Image result for jobs cartoon

Need help with your litigated case involving work and disability? Let me know what you see as the most important aspects of the case and I’ll let you know if I believe I’m the right person to help you help your client.  

I’ll view my  interests, do a conflict of interest check and consider whether or not the case is in my area of expertise. And keep in mind I work on both sides of the fence!  Need an expert?  Contact me at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

Thank you for reading!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Rights of the Expert Witness ~ I’ll Take a Veggie Slice, Please

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

I continually assess and evaluate (there I go again!) my rights, values, professionalism, and of course ethics (which I really enjoy!?!) and am hopeful to write more on these topics and my career in the field of forensic rehabilitation consulting.

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics! I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for). 
  6. I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.
  7. I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).
  8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony. 
  9. I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced. 
  10. I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, it’s all good work!

I am glad my career continually evolves! I accept responsibility when providing forensic services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness. Thank you for reading!

Please contact me Amy Botkin for more information ~ 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

I’ll take a veggie slice and a glass of Chardonnay please. You?

Source for Rights: http://www.forensichealth.com/2011/07/13/10-things-the-fho-expert-witness-bill-of-rights/

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Randy and Abe’s Work Ethic…Pretty Impressive! Plus a Kiss!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Randy has taught the wonderfully well-behaved youth in our community (hee hee) since 1992 as an instructor for the Des Moines Public School District. He teaches at Scavo High School (which as of this writing on 2/17/2020 will soon be dismantled) and Randy will be moving on to a new program(for sure) at a new location (we think!).

The goal for any teacher is to promote learning. The goal for any student is to earn enough credits to graduate and move on in life.  It takes a lot of time, effort, energy and strategy to teach a learner. 

At times in all our jobs we work with people and coordinate, consult,  encourage, motivate, teach, etc., those who care a lot or on the other hand, those who do not care at all.  It could be about the subject matter, a project, finding a job, changing a bad habit…on and on and on. You get my point. It’s really about how to effectively roll with change. At times, wouldn’t it be easier to throw in the towel?

There you go, plop to the floor

I believe when you sustain pride in your work ethic you don’t “throw in the towel” or feel defeated when it’s not about you, it’s about another’s lack of motivation.

To keep on trying to get through to people who are difficult to teach/or work with, it helps to add humor or creativity into your approach.  Randy has been known to dress up as characters when he taught a history lesson. For example, he has dressed as Mark Twain to teach about (ahh, I don’t really know*); and as Abe Lincoln (to teach about Abe Lincoln I guess*). If I can track him down, he (Randy, not Abe) will be asked to fill in both the parenthesis. 

Abe

I also need to track down a picture from ~1993 of Randy dressed as Abe because I know I took one!

*Please let it be known I’m not the type of person who says I don’t really know or I guess very often, if at all, because of this forensic mind of mine.

Randy’s teaching endorsements in U.S. Government and U.S. History are well used especially regarding what Presidents did or didn’t accomplish during their terms. His favorite President is Abe Lincoln.

I often hung out with Abe and his son Tad during my lunch break when I worked for the State of Iowa (Do you know where this monument is found?)

I am pretty certain Abe had a fantastic work ethic and took great pride in his work.  Like Abe, I do too; and so does Randy. I hope you do too!  Here’s an article that will help you grasp the concept of taking pride in your work from the get go.

Recall from my previous blog that I believe you get your work ethic from your parents. Yet, what about the person who didn’t have great role models yet still exhibit qualities and traits of a hard worker/a person with good work ethic? 

I’ve found that it can be easy to exceed the expectations of others simply by being someone who is reliable, on-time, diligent and professional. I think these are all hallmarks of people with a strong work ethic.

Here are a few questions to ask (and if you’d like, answer for yourself) about work ethic:

Attendance ~ Are you dependable, stable and willing to take responsibility for your actions?

Reliability ~ Are you hard working and conscientious about the quality of your work?

Rules of Compliance ~ Are you likely to obey company policies and procedures?

Trustworthiness ~ Do you feel you are trustworthy and trusting of others?

I hope you feel good about answering these questions. When I interview people and find they have a good work ethic (and I often do as it runs deep here in good ole’ Iowa), I know that the person has what employers look for when they hire.

I found a couple shots of Randy and his buddy Abe. Do you know where this sculpture is found? Good Friends

He Kissed Me Back!

He Kissed Me Back!If you have a case where work ethic is in question, or certain work traits are paramount in respect to your client’s vocational background, please let me know and I can point this out. My number is 515-778-0634. I want to help you help your client tell their vocational story realistically, persuasively and yes, even creatively! 

Answer to Question 1: West of the Capitol building

Answer to Question 2: Jordan Creek Mall near Scheels

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ~ Thank Our City Workers!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A few years back, Des Moines Public Schools had planned to use Martin Luther King, Jr day as a snow make up day, but it was overturned by the school board based on good speaking and listening skills of many people. However since then, this Monday is not in session, not even virtually on this MLK Day 2021.

MLKDr. King  would be proud of the process involving our community and his holiday!

I also think he would appreciate students being in the classroom on the 3rd Monday in January learning and growing!  (What would students think of virtually learning back in the early 1960s??!!) The doctor obviously had a passion for education, as did his wife Coretta, and knew how important learning is at every age. I totally agree! Dr. King’s teachings continue to evolve throughout communities across our country. 

At the end of July of 2019, my husband and I visited the Martin Luther King National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. We found it to be a special place filled with thoughtful, soulful and educational experiences. 

You may know that on the evening before he was assassinated, Dr. King was preparing to lead a protest march to help support striking sanitation workers.  Dr. King was hard at work doing his job to help others do their hard jobs.

Green garbage truckThankfully, every Tuesday morning the garbage in my hood gets picked up!

Thank you to the city sanitation workers and thank you to the city street sweepers. I appreciate your work. Des Moines is a beautiful city filled with people who care about our community and I’m proud to live here.

Street sweeperI hear the sweeper on my street quite a few times throughout the year and rush to watch it pass by my house!

Thank you Dr. King for your call to service helping working people across the nation. I’m particularly fond of this quote:  

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” ~ by Dr. Martin Luther King.

Be the best you can be at what you do as an attorney. Let me know if you’d like my help to help you help your client on a case involving work and disability! I’ll strive to be of valued service to your case. Contact me at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  to learn more about each other and our work for others!

Thank you for reading my post and please be cognizant of what you throw away!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Intimidators: Tailgaters, Drunken Jerks or Glaring Attorneys? Need an Expert? I’m Here to Help!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Remember the last time someone tried to intimidate you? How about when a person (for example, that careless tailgater or the drunk in the same beer line as you) may think they can make another person do something or react in some way? Exceed the posted speed limit ~ NOPE! Pay attention to public intoxication ~ NOT INTERESTED! or say something to the drunken jerk ~ NO WAY!uckr cupGo ahead be one, I don’t care! 

During cross examination in the past, I’ve received a pretty mean looking facial expression/glaring eyes/stare down/stern voice/condescending attitude and a critical tone to the long litany of questions arising from the mouth of an attorney on a workers’ compensation court case. I knew this attorney was trying hard to intimidate me. Go ahead, try!

But, I answered all questions calmly. P.S. ~ I love it when the attorney can’t even remember what was asked and has to refer to the court reporter! I stuck to my guns (aka: my knowledge base) during my testimony, and talked about what I knew about.  I knew what I knew.

mmI know, bring it on!

I’ve never been intimidated much by people (places, things or even animals either for that matter). Okay, okay, I am intimidated by Mother Nature, a force to be feared, and treated with utmost respect e specially when she zoome a mesocyclone or other tornado-like activity my way.  I’ll never forget the evergreen tree in my front yard crash down on the car in my neighbor’s driveway during a mesocyclone many summers ago. The storm was in full fury just as I was peeling away in our minivan to get my two youngest children who were about 1/2 mile away at a park for a daycamp.

Image result for cyclone cartoonI have always been able to speak my mind (ask anyone who knows me) and yes it’s gotten me in a pickle or two from time to time (just like my dad!). I try to express what’s on my mind being mindful of who I’m communicating with, the content of my speech/body language, and the context of how/when my message is delivered.  In other words, I’m not the type of person who “blows up” or “blabs” and I definitely don’t overshare!  

I do tend to speed up my talking and need to watch that so I don’t sound nervous, however that is a natural consequence of my hard wired fight and flight response! I read the “butterflies in your stomach” occur as blood from digestive system is redirected. (So I try to eat healthy before a court date!) 

PeacockThere is truly a difference between a cocky person and a confident person!

When on the witness stand, my role is to explain what I did on a case so the judge understands; and ultimately educate the jury on why what I did was important to the case.  I accept confidence with the work I do. My role  allows me to serve as an expert witness & educator all while consulting within the scope of my practice. I keep a placement, rehabilitation, and quality of life orientation at the forefront of any topic. 

Every day, I learn more about how to help others.  My Attorney Reader, please know I am here to help you help your client.  Give me a call and brief me on your case involving work and disability (or just work, or just disability), whatever it may be I’m interested to hear about it! 

Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to start a discussion about your case. Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Seen The Reasonable or The Unreasonable Person Lately? I Look Every Day!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is a summary of my written responses to a discussion question while studying forensics through George Washington University a few years ago.  It includes edits and additions of course, because that’s what a writer does

Question: What does the term “reasonable man”  as a legal expression used in both criminal and tort law mean to you? (That’d be me, Amy the student at the time, with the online discussion involving my cohort from across the country!)

Answer: To me, the term “reasonable (ahemm) person” can refer to a person who would think, say, act upon or not regarding a certain situation or circumstance using average knowledge or skill; then this hypothesis can be used to compare others when deciding issues of liability in civil or criminal cases involving negligence. 

…But then I asked myself more questions, like, so how would an average person behave under the “exact same circumstances and conditions” because how could the context or a situation ever be the same to more than two people? With unique personalities, the many layers of culture in society, who really is average?…and doing more of my own questioning, I thought, just how is one average person selected during the jury formation process, let alone finding up to 12 “average people” who are impartial to the case and have the energy and focus needed to develop into a jury pool?

Image result for jury cartoonI’ve been summoned for jury duty once in recent memory, but didn’t move through to a next step. I have no idea why! Although I would love to serve on a jury, as it is a right and a duty, I wonder if my profession for some reason had anything to do with the selection process. The one thing that would bother me though is sitting for a long time during a trial. Ouch! Would need yoga!

Okay, so I continued with my thought process and answer: Our legal system compares actions of people and makes a decision based on the factors involved whether or not a reasonable person would or would not do the same thing. Using this standard can lead to strange outcomes I’ll bet. For my research, I found an interesting read titled Brigham Young Law Review titled Better Off with the Reasonable Man Dead or the Reasonable Man Does the Darndest Things

It’s written by Randy T. Austin in 1992 and includes numerous citations and some funny foot notes! One part reads: The Reasonable Man first appeared in the law in the 1837 case of Vaughan V Menlove. The defendant’s haystack caught fire due to poor ventilation. The defendant had been warned on numerous occasions that this would happen if he left the haystack. The defendant argued he had used his best judgment and did not foresee a risk of fire. The court held his best judgment was not enough. He was to be judged by the standard of a reasonable man.

Another part reads: The Reasonable Man Did he evolve? Was he created? has had many first names: Prudent, Ordinary, Typical, Ideal, Average, Right Minded. He has qualities of a good citizen, an ordinary chap.

On the other hand, others say he is inadequate, makes mistakes, is selfish and afraid. He does typical things (for example, takes out the garbage, opens doors for others) he doesn’t do atypical things (like park his car on the busy freeway to scrape a small blob of bird poop off his windshield or drive his ball when he clearly sees golfers still on the putting green.)

Image result for bird poop on windshield

It was a HUGE Blob! All the drivers on the freeway should’ve known why I stopped!

The Reasonable Man is shy and he doesn’t want to talk about himself, but his best friends (judges and law professors) are happy to talk about him. And talk about him a lot they do!

The review concludes that the reasonable man has enjoyed a long and prosperous career in law and the author Randy believes due to the arbitrariness of the standard and insensitivity to gender issues, it’s time to thank him for his contributions and bid him a fond farewell. So be it.

Then I found this written by George Bernard Shaw to ponder: The reasonable person adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. 

Next, I decided I’m going to play a game I just made up called Reasonable or Not Reasonable? As I move throughout my city, in the community and my own hood, I’ll keep a look out for a Reasonable Person or a Not Reasonable Person and decipher what transpires (via my own eyes) and brainstorm why it may be that I think this person is or is not average. The context, situation and circumstances will matter, and whether or not I’m somehow involved in the interaction will too. 

I’ll tally up how many average people and exceptional people I meet on a particular day and then talk to someone (You, my attorney reader?) about my results. What do you think my probabilities will look like? No doubt in my mind this will be a fun learning experience!  As a counselor, I have that sixth sense about others!

Related imageAs an aside, have you seen the play production 12 Angry Jurors? I saw the play at North High a few years back, with Taylor and Bridget being 2 of the jurors. I’ve also seen it at the Civic Center with Richard Thomas as the lead. It’s a great dramatic production and makes you really think about doubt!

I’m sure you’ve studied the “reasonable person” standard, please share any good legal case stories! Thank you for reading, and just a little more, here’s the link to my disclaimer because I’d like you to read it, too. Let me know what I can do to help you help your client, especially with a case that’s going to trial!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Happy 19th Anniversary Vocational Resources Plus

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Vocational Resources Plus LLC Celebrates the beginning of 19 years in business!

September is a special month for me. My birthday is on September 15 and I started my own business on September 15…back in 1963 and 1999 respectively!

Please read on for information on Vocational Resources Plus LLC. I offer life care planning as well!Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers an array of vocational rehabilitation services with a focus on placement.

Vocational rehabilitation is a set of services designed to facilitate the return to work process (also known as placement) for individuals following a serious accident or illness that disrupted employment.

Placement is the bottom line of vocational rehabilitation, and therefore is the most in demand service.  Placement can be simply defined as finding suitable employment. Continue to read on for more detail on Vocational Resources Plus LLC’s placement services and procedures.Vocational Resources Plus LLC designs unique placement services to return-to-work problems that arise on workers’ compensation, personal injury and disability cases.

The objective of each placement assignment is to research key details on an individual’s employability. This information provides the base to plan for courses of action. Action is presented in the form of service delivery, case management, and reporting services, or whatever is needed to bring facts on board.

The goal of each service is to identify strategies that are proven to achieve positive employment related results. The objectives set forth in a service plan will effectively place the person back into his or her working world.  This ‘pathway to work’ expedites resolution, details the scope of occupational loss, and ultimately addresses the monetary figure of claim that is in litigation.~Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers comprehensive placement services to address labor market conditions, workforce issues, and attributes of specific occupations. The value of designing a service specifically based on the individual’s personal background, work history, transferable skills, knowledge and abilities, coupled with his or her interests, aptitudes, personality factors along with various vocational and physical attributes is higher than the actual cost of providing the service.

The case is covered carefully while the individual and all representatives associated with the claim are provided with specific details of the situation to better understand the priorities of successful rehabilitation. All services are documented and a narrative report is useful to evaluate the claimant’s rehabilitation potential, to determine the extent of loss of job, or pay, or of employability.

Specific details on level of cooperation to secure employment, worker qualifications compared to existing employment opportunities, and compliance regarding recommended therapeutic intervention or physical exercise are a few examples that are assessed for the individual to adjust to their situation.Vocational Resources Plus is often called upon to help when a case is in litigation or has the potential to become overly problematic and costly. Referrals are welcomed from attorneys and employers!  The strategy of assigning your difficult cases to a knowledgeable consultant saves time and reduces long-term effects of any claim.  I’m here to help!

MISSION STATEMENT

~ Vocational Resources Plus LLC commits to helping with the needs of its clientele by providing consulting services that exceed the standards of practice expected in the field of vocational rehabilitation.

 COMPREHENSIVE JOB PLACEMENT OFFERED THROUGH 

Vocational Resources Plus LLC

Job placement is a professional procedure. The purpose is to assist the job seeker to find a job matching his or her knowledge base, skill sets, abilities, work capacities, interests and aptitudes, as well as needs for location, work scheduling, level of earnings, benefits, plus more!

Comprehensive placement on average can take 4 weeks – 6 months (based on available employment opportunities and client cooperation). Placement is broken down into 3 phases: Information Gathering, Accessing the Labor Market and Placement. Other services such as Job Seeking Skills Training, Vocational Counseling, and Outsourcing are available on an as needed, individualized basis.

Within the first few weeks of placement, the placement specialist may be able to discern if success at obtaining employment is likely or not. All case activities, research and results of efforts are reported. Expert testimony is available.

Phase I ~ Information Gathering

This phase is time intensive and involves meeting the client, orientation, paperwork, appraisal of qualifications and transferable skills, and participating in other preliminary processes. The individual’s skill set is matched with existing employment opportunities. Resumes are prepared, reference building is performed, specific, information details are gathered and goals are set.

Timeframe: 1-3 weeks. The placement specialist can spend from 10-15 hours per week on preliminary processes. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

Phase II ~ Accessing the Labor Market

This phase involves designing a flexible marketing strategy to assist the client in establishing informational interviews and job interviews. Results are evaluated to help make decisions and to clarify career choices. It involves identifying and contacting businesses in appropriate markets and industries to assist with finding adequate profiles of persons to meet marketing needs and job opening requirements.

Timeframe: Commonly starts in the 3rd week and continues as long as feasible opportunities are identified, up to approximately the 6th week. The placement specialist averages 5-10 hours per week. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

 Phase III – Placement

When the client has sufficient opportunities available and is cooperative with placement procedures, this phase unfolds. When the client is placed, follow-up occurs at appropriate increments. If the client is uncooperative or if excessive barriers do not allow for a successful transition into the workforce, other Vocational Resources Plus, LLC services are available or referrals can be made.

Timeframe: Starts at approximately 3 or 4 weeks into the assignment, depending on the client’s situation and continues until placement occurs. A minimum of one month of post-placement services are offered. The placement specialist averages 1-5 hours a week. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

Thanks for reading….now give me a call!  There’s a sample employment packet the client receives, it’s located to the right on my website. Take a look around at all the resources available! I have even more to share!

515-282-7753 or email VocResources@msn.com

    lcpresourcesplus.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Florida…Recovery Mode is A Lot Like Rehabilitation!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Originally Published on: Sep 14, 2017 We had a nice Florida trip early August 2017…finally made it! Initially, the plan was for Randy and me, our son Nick, his friend Jolee (who’s getting married to Jeremy this Saturday!); our daughter Arin and her friend Kassidy to make the trip in June 2017.

But due to a hole in the plane that didn’t happen!  Instead (only due to timing issues), we along with Arin, our son Jake, and their mutual friend Bridget made it!

Arin  Presenting the Ocean View!

We stayed some of the time with my mom Ann and met her brand new husband Dave (he’s a keeper!!) who live in Sebring, and went out one night with my sister Janice who lives in and works for the City of Ft. Lauderdale. Janice was recovering from a workers’ compensation related injury (neck strain) due to getting rear ended while on duty driving a city vehicle by a distracted tourist driving who was on his phone…(read more below).

We splashed in the ocean a few times (absolutely gorgeous mixture of colors); saw an alligator in the Everglades (Jake eyed him from the road!); helped complete an over 500 piece puzzle (which was nonstop until completion!); visited my brother Steven’s cemetery plot and where my dad‘s ashes are buried near Orlando….and witnessed a rainbow from above on the plane ride home! 

No Stopping Until the Last Piece!  

So, think (or don’t because it was too much…) of the mileage we put on in this beautiful state over the days as Randy drove us all around in a not very big rented SUV…from Orlando to Sebring, from Sebring to Ft. Lauderdale, from Ft. Lauderdale down to the Everglades, through a lot of the Everglades and back to Ft. Lauderdale, from Ft Lauderdale back to Sebring; from Sebring to Winter Haven for a stop at the cemetery and back to the airport in Orlando.

And of course lots of driving in between. Thanks for chauffeuring Mr. B, as I was “assigned” the back seat most of the time so one of the kids could co-pilot.

My father’s ashes are buried here with my brother…well, not all dad’s ashes. Janice has a beautiful urn at her home filled to the rim! 

It was incredible to view a rainbow from above it on the flight home.  And, come to think of it, I saw an incredible sunset on the way to Florida although one had to (if lucky enough for the window seat like me) really look behind to the West! When in the air one’s feelings can really affect the flight, as you may well know. 

Back to the worker compensation situation Janice went through. The person assigned to “help her” was rude, condescending and uninformed. My sister confided to me she wanted to reach through the phone and grab this person by the neck and say…

“Hey you! My neck really hurts and I’ve recently received medical treatment. I’m recuperating at home as has been discussed with my direct supervisor and will be back on the streets when I’m better.” And Janice did return to her job quickly considering the situation, but she certainly didn’t need any more stress placed on her by someone who didn’t care!

Another tidbit about our Florida trip… (continual praying for Florida and all Floridians due to Hurricaine Irma, the stories I’ve been hearing)…I went into the ocean the first time with all my jewelry on (STUPID), but only for a short time before I realized I really wanted to go under and do some serious splashing with these two!

Back on the beach as Randy was helping me remove my diamond tennis bracelet, it…it broke in half. I would have NOT nearly had a good time in Florida if the ocean had swallowed my bracelet.  Another Lesson Learned!

My diamond bracelet is a keeper, too!

I want you to know I truly care about my family, my clients, my customers, and the work I perform. I would never be purposely rude to anyone and will always strive to understand any given situation in order to help in any way I can.

In recovery mode from Irma, Florida will be going through a lot of rehabilitation. Thank God my mom, Dave, sister Janice, good friend Bryan and all others who went through the HE double toothpicks recently are safe. I hope recovery mode and your state’s rehabilitation is timely.  My mom didn’t have power at her house for several days and it was hot and miserable! I wish I could’ve tossed her an extension cord from my house here in Iowa! Hang in there during rehabilitation!

Please let me know if you are interested to learn how I can help you help your clients.  Give me a call at 515-282-7753 or email vocresources@gmail.com and let me know about your legal case. I’m here to help!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Being Nosey, Opinions and I Make My Point Clear! Job Placement is Hard Work!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One summer while I was walking around Gray’s Lake, I eaves dropped over a conversation two young women were having about tap water throughout the city. I was right behind them, ready to make a fast pass around…and interested in their subject!

I’m not like Gladys Kravitz all the time!

One thought Urbandale water was good and the other didn’t. They agreed West Des Moines water tastes ucky.  One loved Chicago water (and I thought ewwww ucky, and the strange smell to boot).  Then their conversation turned to a cute guy jogging their way…and I made my pass.

BTW, I remember where I was,  nearly 1/2 way round where I started, not including the ever stop at my brother’s plaque on the bridge!

Clearly, people’s opinions vary widely around one subject!

I don’t think I will ever find a person who is adversarial to water – and specifically why water is important to a person. 

However, in my role as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, I routinely find a person (actually an attorney or two!) who is adversarial to my opinion regarding whether or not a person can return to work over their stance that the same person is permanently and totally disabled.

I’ve evaluated hundreds of people and I hold firm in my opinion that work is incredibly important to a person. Rarely have I not been able to identify work for a person. In that type of return to work situation, the person’s serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder comes into play more than the person’s physical capacity.

One point I’d like to make clear! 

And this isn’t an opinion, it’s just the truth! It is easier to state that a person cannot work than to identify what a person can do for work.

“No, can’t work.” That’s it.  “No” “Can’t Do” “No Work is Available”  What a negative attitude.  Is it really just too much work to find work for a person?  VS  “Yes, you can work” “Here’s why, how and what the person can do!” “Yes” “Can do” “I will help you!”

This is a positive attitude!

Yes, and truly the fact is that it’s a lot of work to find work for a person! That’s what I’m trained to do! And I love it!

A vocational rehabilitation counselor cannot give a person a job – the professional works to define, enhance and channel the placement client’s skills, abilities, and aptitudes into the working world. 

The client is empowered with resources and strategies to perform specific and goal-oriented job seeking activities.  I’ve found the outcome of return-to-work in a workers’ compensation case impacts the placement process just as much during litigation as it does following case settlement. 

Keep an open mind when forming any opinion

It’s a tragedy when an attorney sabotages any job seeking efforts, whether implied or not. I do not appreciate when any one tries to negatively influence any one else, especially when it comes to work.

I keep my opinion clear, based on fact and grounded in rehabilitation. No one can steal my opinion away!

Image result for grounded

Please see a paper I wrote in August 2013 titled (it’s posted on my LinkedIn page) or ask for a copy titled:

WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE RETURN-TO-WORK DURING A LITIGATED WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM?

Let me know what I can do to help you with your legal work regarding your client’s return to work! Thank you for reading my post!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-778-0634  * VocResources@gmail.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Yoga Yogi to the Rescue…What’s Your Favorite Pose? Helping Myself to Help Others!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’m a strong proponent for practicing yoga as a form of complementary and alternative therapy.  Well, for me, I practice yoga to relax and rejuvenate thee ole’ muscles after strenuous physical activity.  Yoga is great to reduce stress, strengthen and tone your body, and increase your flexibility.  What’s cool about yoga is you can do it right in your living room!

Yoga Yogi to the Rescue!

I practice many yoga moves and have been practicing since fall 2010. My favorite yoga poses include those I can describe as fire hydrants, salute to the sun, shoulder stand, t balance, triangle, mermaid, spider, butterfly, fish, tortoise, camel,  gliding swan, kneeling dolphin, pigeon…I could go on and on! For my ultimate vote I’d recommend Sun Salutation!

The Sun Salutation (or salute to the sun) is an incredible move that stretches ligaments and muscles to increase the elasticity of the vertebral column and joints. It’s actually a series of 12 yoga moves performed in a single, graceful flow.

Sun Salutation

Yoga has helped my mind, body and soul in many ways! Thank you Noreen Gosch for being my first excellent yoga instructor.  She teaches through the Des Moines Public Schools Community Education Program and I highly recommend any course, whether exercise related or not, that catches your interest!

Time to roll out my mat!

Keep in mind there are numerous variations of yoga! Most poses involved creative stretching, like the crocodile pose! Be sure to try the horse posture, it works on the outer thigh/hip pocket area ~ yea the saddle bags; and the reclining warrior, excellent for stretching the thighs and strengthening back muscles…and…and…you figured it out, I love Yoga!

As on update to this post (evergreen in my eyes), I obtained a dream goal (in July 2016), which was to lead a yoga class! Hum, a calling? No, I just want to share my gifts with others.  I want to make myself as good as I can be do help others! (BTW, I love Healing Touch too!)

If you’d like to discuss the benefits of yoga, or any therapy that catches your interest, let me know. I guarantee if you practice any form of yoga that works for your body, you will be in a better state of mind!

Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP * Vocational Resources Plus, LLC 

lcpresourcesplus.com

VocResources@gmail.com

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.