Randy and His Perpetual Flip Off! Need an Expert on Your Case Involving Work & Disability?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is edited a bit from original post! The evening before my dad’s funeral in May 2016, my husband Randy walked our dog Bella (who gracefully crossed her rainbow bridge 9/1/21) while holding his cell phone in one hand to talk to my mother about his part in the service, the other hand held the leash. Bella’s a big Aussie girl, weighing in around 60.5 pounds;

and from what I hear, a huge raccoon made an appearance near a sewer opening down the street just as they were walking by. This appearance led Bella to lurch towards the coon…pulling hard on the fingers grasped around the leash, and breaking husband’s finger in the process. Ouch.

Early the next morning, we had to hit the road to make the trip to Iowa Falls and, well, experience what would transpire during my father’s service…and beyond in this world for those of us who loved him and enjoyed his company.  

Here’s a favorite photo of my dad!

Randy never saw a doctor for his finger injury. I wish he would’ve though. I performed my version of physical therapy and Healing Touch on him, but to this day…well, Randy has a broken middle finger that sticks up in such a way it resembles the image below!

Get my drift?

The funeral service was nice, and my mom did a great job choosing the readings and what to sing! Randy read the first reading, my sister Julie the second and Father Tony the Gospel, of course. I was a communion minister for dad’s friends which was very meaningful to me!

Many of dad’s church friends were involved in the Mass and he would’ve loved that! In fact, one of his buddies told me my dad was like a brother to him. At that moment, my heart grew stronger knowing my dad was very special to another person because clearly there’s not much better in life than having a good bro. This was another Godly presence for me; one of many experiences I feel during life!

Good thing my dad was cremated, so no handling of a heavy casket with a broken finger!  Afterwards, we had a nice lunch that my dad would’ve enjoyed thoroughly. He would’ve made and then ate many sandwiches pre and post funerals as he volunteered much time to his Church.  I Love You Dad. You helped a lot of people with their funerals!

To this day, Randy’s finger exhibits a perpetual flip off!  Pretty cool huh?  When certain people, like a friend he hasn’t seen in a while questions why he’s flipping them off, instead of going into detail, he just says “I dunno”.  Recently, he came home from his job and remarked one of his fellow teachers wanted to know why he flipped her off.  He smiled and replied ~

 dunno!

A great memory from a Sunday noon game in October of 2016 and most recently another one in September 2021 is of Randy driving into and out of the parking area of the Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead stadium gripping the wheel. We knew his flip off in front of many people, staffers, and cops went unnoticed! 

It’s a “I do know” factual concept for me to tap into emotional intelligence when I’m being deposed or testifying. btw I believe it’s okay to flip someone off under a table or in your mind as a form of mental exercise!!

Go ahead and contact me, my Attorney Reader, for my help as an expert, and I’ll offer my complete time and attention  as a consultant and an educator too for your case.

Keep me in mind as I also offer consulting services to help attorneys come up with good questions to help you prepare for a deposition and / or cross examination in a courtroom on cases involving work and disability.

I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client!

The best way to contact me is by email at  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com. Send a message and I’ll get back to you!

___________________

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

 

Free Initial Consultation on Personal Injury Litigation, Give Me a Call!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Free is always my favorite Word of the Day! What about you? Does free rank right up there for you? If you’re not aware, Zombie Burger makes excellent milk shakes, and what’s really special is on your birthday, your shake is free!  Image result for free

The chocolate wedding cake shake is my favorite although it’s really “only a chocolate shake” because Zombie’s wedding cake shake is actually made with a vanilla base.

But, I like to imagine it as a unique shake made by my only daughter (who works there) to help me celebrate my birthday, my wedding anniversary,  and my work anniversary all mixed together deliciously chocolately!Image result for free

Image result for chocolate milkshakeSpoil me, don’t spill me! 

Actually when you think about it, I’m a basic, simple customer considering how many different shakes are available in the shake lab!

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Image result for chocolate milkshakeYou and I, my Attorney Reader, can meet and I can offer you free initial consultation to discuss your litigated case and how I might help you help your client!

Free Initial Consultation on Personal Injury Litigation!

I may not foot the bill for your meal (let it be known we can equally share in the cost), but I will offer you a free steel straw to drink your shake! Trust me, any shake tastes better through a steel straw rather than plastic.  

If it’s not your birthday on the day we meet, I will buy you a shake of your choice! And during sips, we can talk about details, how you see my work as helpful, my bill rate, and other business policies and procedures pertinent to involving me on your client’s case. 

If you have questions on a case that have anything to do with work and disability, you need solid and detailed information to base your decisions. I am here to help you design questions and build your case.

Image result for jalapenos cartoonKeep in mind that when we meet (if at Zombie in the East Village), I may even try to motivate you to try my favorite sandwich with extra jalapeno just the way Arin knows I like it ordered!  And I can introduce you personally to the front hosts, a fine, upstanding couple! 

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Excuse me, I’m losing a bit of focus between thinking about eating ice cream and hot peppers with zombies, and I’m hungry! So at this point in my post, I want you to know I can also help your client by designing a life care plan.  

A plan helps determine lifetime needs and costs of care to address serious injury resulting in permanent disability while highlighting the medical recovery process, current problems and potential complications.

Life care planning that encompasses forensic vocational rehabilitation is a unique concept and I am able to provide this service.  As a certified life care planner, I guarantee I will comb through the healthcare and vocational complexities of your case,  prepare the most comprehensive plan I can for your client, and come prepared to educate a jury should it go to trial.  

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Contact me at 515-778-0634 or email me at    amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

 Let’s talk briefly and set up a time to meet!

I’ve uploaded an updated resume along with a sample plan, and brochures on my co-companies, Vocational Resources Plus and Life Care Planning Resources Plus, which you can access at the links on my website. Any questions are welcome!

By the way, Zombie Burgers’ knowledgeable staff  is used to working with various dietary preferences and restrictions, so let your voice be heard (comes naturally doesn’t it?!) when you require specific food and drink or you have interest in requesting something new!

I am a vegetarian; and I tend to order the same food and drink (boring I know) when I eat out at my restaurants! But that doesn’t mean I’m not a creative person!

Most importantly, always be sure to leave good servers a good $$$ tip $$$.  Word of the day: douceur   pronounced:  doo sur    a gratuity; tip. 

Here’s my counseling “tip” for the day:  Practice yoga at home, it’s free!  I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to helping you help your client (that’s why I’m here!). Thank you for reading my post!

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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.

Client or Customer? Both are Equally Valuable!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I consider the individual as the client, and the business entity (eg: an employer,  or a service provider, or a law firm) as the customer. In the case of providing job placement services, the client typically is a person who has already worked for a number of years in the workforce and is now on a path looking for new work opportunities that the person can do and wants to do.Matching People With Their World of Work

Matching People With Their World of Work

My philosophy regarding placement is to individualize services to match the job seeker within his or her own world of work. Although we all comprise the working world, we each have our own niche that can be as far and wide or narrow and slim as our talent can go.

I focus in on which job search tools the placement client can use to benefit their own natural style of communication. Being able to describe yourself in a way that answers questions during an interview while showing your personality is valuable.

Understanding your transferable skills and where you can apply them in many different settings and situations (and make $$$ to boot!) is instrumental during job placement. Believe in yourself first, and then build a market profile of yourself. And start the sale!

It’s a matter of expression to picture your skills as valuable, marketable and on sale to the best buyer!

On the consulting side of my business, I have services available for the customer. One such service is job analysis.  A job analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular functional duties and requirements and the relative importance of them for a given job. An important concept of a job analysis is that the analysis is conducted of the job, not the person.

While job analysis data may be collected from incumbents through interviews or questionnaires, the product of the analysis is a description or specifications of the job, and again, not a description of the person.

carrying clipart - Clip Art Library

Don’t describe me, describe the job!

A job analysis that includes accommodation options has helped when the client is already an employee (and has an illness or injury leading to questions about ability to do the job) and a decision needs to made whether the best option is to retain or release the employee from permanent employment.

Judgments are made using data collected regarding the job and / or a variety of jobs with similar components. And then I can provide expert testimony based on the data and my opinion of the person’s place within his or her own working world.

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I like customers and clients equally and promise to serve all people to the best of my ability.

Call me, Amy, at 515-778-0634 or email vocresources@gmail.com should you want me to help you with your clients. I have a plethora of other services to help you help your client!

Btw, this post was originally written and posted 10 years ago! With some updates, it’s could to go again and I 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.

Big Miss Steak…Cut Your Meat, Chew A Lot and Eat Slowly!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We humans make some big mistakes. It’s those misguided or wrong actions or judgments that range from simple to complex that can cause alarm and then when understood and corrected can turn into an unforgettable learning experience.

My family and a couple of the kid’s friends had Florida travel plans in June of 2017 to visit my mom and her new husband Dave; and my sister who lives in the Sunshine state, too. Disney World was in the works and a lot of beach time was in mind!

I enjoy flying in an airplane, do you?

We were ready to board the plane, in fact most passengers had already boarded, when I heard over the intercom something to the effect of “stop boarding”. I then witnessed passengers I previously watched moving into the plane’s bridge walk back out with their carry-ons in tow; and thought to myself “oh no, no, no, this doesn’t seem right”.

After all passengers were back in the boarding area, the announcement came on that the plane had been hit by the baggage handling cart causing a hole in the fuselage and we would not be flying. I listened to several passengers give their theories…and some actually felt the impact from the baggage cart when it hit the plane on the side. Wow.

Baggage carts are usually seen in a flurry of activity

After being at the airport patiently waiting to board for 3 hours, the flight was canceled because no rescue plane could be found.  Did you know rescue planes existed?

Many passengers were grumbly and we figured someone at the airport possibly got fired. I watched with fascination through the terminal window as the plane was being inspected, even the pilots were taking pictures with their cell phones! 

Being a Saturday evening, this was the last flight of the week until Thursday, (can you read into what airline I’m referring to if you’re familiar with DSM to Orlando flights?) Although there were some options for our travel the next week, none would have worked out for each of our schedules.

Cartoon Map Of Florida State - Download Free Vectors, Clipart ...

No vacation in Florida. No Disney for the kids. No beach for me…and I even packed four bikinis!, no seeing our friends and family, no nothing…and all the energy involved in the planning of the trip, down the tubes.

I really just wanted to get out of the airport and back home that day. I looked at this experience with the family as practice however, because we’ll be doing it again! Plus I learned how to pack more efficiently and now know I can take food on the plane! 

big miss steak!

Question: How the heck did a human driver hit a huge airplane with basically a golf cart and seriously damage it? This was A Big Mistake affecting a lot of people! Of course my mind went into litigation thinking as there could probably be some lawsuit for any reason. Good thing no one was injured; and hopefully those who really needed to get to Florida ASAP got there without too much anguish.

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You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!!

When my son Jacob was very young, he used to love to repeat You’re Fired! You’re Fired! You’re Fired! over and over and over.  I really never had any idea who he was firing, but he did a lot of it! Jacob was fond of Charizard, of the Fire/Flying Pokemon species, maybe that’s why he was fond of the phrase you’re fired? Are you? Have you ever been fired? Have you had to fire someone? Did you learn from it?

Okay, here’s one of my own mistakes about me as I was getting ready for the Florida trip. As I considered what to take as a carry-on (free on this airline), I decided upon a smaller purple suitcase with wheels I’ve used before…and as I was packing it I felt something lodged at the bottom.  Upon retrieval, I found a maroon jewelry box and opened it.

Wrapped up in tissue was my diamond tennis bracelet!

Being missing for over a year, I had seriously thought it was lost for good. Okay this “big miss steak” wasn’t so bad, and I hope I learned my lesson.  There was another time time I was stopped at airport security because a pocket knife was found buried inside an unknown ripped seam inside my little purse. Oops.Swiss Army Knife Clip Art

Another “big miss steak” is inadvertently bringing a pocket knife through security!

I strive to be extremely careful with my work, especially with my writing skills. However typos do arise and I’ve been known to unfortunately miss my own (including having a date wrong on my resume for a couple years before I noticed it!)  BTW, other’s typos glare at me.  

But big mistakes, like negligence when it comes to a patient’s health care, is something I can help with and I’m sure we’ll both learn a lot through the course of the case. If I make a mistake on your case, I will accept responsibility.  

I’ve recently worked on a medical malpractice case; and in this case the patient died, however my role/goal was to perform a vocational evaluation and assess his earning capacity had he not died in such a short period of time. For more information on my work in this case and how I followed basically the same methodology as other evaluations, please contact me. 

Image result for big miss steakYes everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to be careful in our roles at work. I don’t know if anyone was fired or if there was any lawsuits over this airport incident, but it got me thinking about mistakes, including the many of my own.  

I’m not saying eating steak is a mistake, but I agree becoming a vegetarian is a big missed steak!  Keep in mind I am a vegetarian and have not eaten steak since 2011 (although I can’t deny the great smell!)  To each their own, just be sure you cut your meat carefully, chew a lot, and eat slowly!

Contact me at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com for help on a litigated case involving work and disability! Are you a meat eater or a no meat eater? It’s your choice!

Thank you for for reading my post.

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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.

Here to Help The Passionate Attorney Help Your Client ~ Life Care Planning Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Along with vocational consulting services, I offer you life care planning services. Life Care Planning Services are valuable to passionate attorneys such as yourself: One who works to your fullest potential for your clients; One who truly cares about your client; and One who strives to maximize the best outcome for your client.

A Life Care Plan will help you help you help your client.

cartoon lawyer  Are You a Passionate Attorney?  Image result for woman attorney cartoon

Comprehensive Life Care Planning Services focus on the individual who sustained a personal or catastrophic injury, has a congenital disease or acquired illness, or suffered a traumatic event that altered his or her life leaving them with a disabling condition. The individual and his or her family is in need of planning how to live with these ongoing life changes.

Image result for passionate attorney cartoon   What About You Mr. Big Finger? Image result for group of attorneys cartoon

A Life Care Plan outlines an individualized holistic program that documents your client’s specific healthcare needs and a projection of what it costs for that care over their lifetime. An economist reviews the plan to determine the present value of the costs.

Even more, a Life Care Plan  helps prevent medical complications, enhances community and society participation, considers quality of life issues, and assists in maintaining emotional and psychological health. 

The person’s life now has important healthcare needs and significant costs are associated with those needs. How can you, the person’s caring and passionate attorney prove this, or show this to others, and why would you need to do so?

A Life Care Plan is helpful in many ways, here are three,

  1. to facilitate decision making relating to the individual’s health care, long-term care, and special needs; and perceive the related costs;
  2. to identify and obtain good care in the individual’s community, whether at home, an assisted living facility, or, if necessary, a nursing home; and perceive the related costs;
  3. to help move the litigation process forward, and ultimately to settle or win a case justifiably at the highest level possible using real data!

A Life Care Plan involves a systematic process (I do that part!) of developing a “road map” of the care, goods and services the person will need to ensure optimal health, safety and life satisfaction. A plan also highlights what it is the person will need to restore or improve their life activities to their maximum potential.

Keep in mind that while most Life Care Plans are developed for people who have suffered a traumatic injury, Life Care Plans are increasingly used for older adults with chronic conditions to anticipate their health and financial needs in later years. Do you have a client in this elite category? If so, be prepared for more future that focuses on healthy living! (Hint: Get a Life Care Plan!)

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The standard definition of a Life Care Plan is a “dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs. (IALCP – International Academy of Life Care Planners, 2003. Definition established during the 2000 Life Care Planning Summit.)

Please visit Dr. Deutsch’s webpage for much more information on Life Care Planning. Dr. Deutsch was on my training team!


Above is my most recent CRC Certificate and below is my CLCP Certificate

I need to take another picture of my newest one which expires February 28, 2026!

I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP).  As a professional in rehabilitation, I am able to develop a plan using  advanced knowledge of specific disabilities, established treatment care resources, and a consistent objective approach toward the practical and functional elements involved in providing the treatment of catastrophic injuries and diseases. 

Communication and negotiation skills are essential (so true) while working with patients, families, caregivers and treatment teams. Keep on perusing my website, which is mainly a relationship building blog, and read my writings. I’d be happy if you would truly consider how Life Care Planning Services will help you help your clients.

Contact me ~ Amy Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP ~ at 515-778-0634 or by email at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  so we can start discussing your case.

I’m here to help you help your client!

___________________

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

Conflicting Medical Opinions? Handle With Care!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Upon referral of a vocational case, I review a variety of  medical data, for example, treating physician reports, functional capacity evaluations, independent medical evaluations and if available psychological data like psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, and psychiatric evaluations found within the file.

During a workers’ compensation litigated claim, or on any claim that involves work and disability, it’s important for me to understand the individual’s medical situation based on the data contained in these records.

Related imageGood thing I’ve had medical records training and enjoy the review!

If a file contains more than one FCE and/or IME, I can expect the reports to have conflicting opinions. For example, one physical therapist will recommend the claimant has the physical capacity for light work, while the other physical therapist says medium work. Often the therapists also have conflicting information about the individual’s maximal or lack of effort put forth during the evaluation.I Did My Best

The claimant needs to honestly and sincerely say “I Did My Best!”

Assisting the individual (who can be referred to as the injured worker, the claimant, the patient, the testee, the evaluee, and potentially the client)  in returning to work following an injury is a central role in found within my specialty of placement. This involves finding the best occupational match within the individual’s own labor market. A person’s “doctor imposed restrictions based on an FCE” should not direct the provision of placement services. A person’s knowledge, skills, interests and abilities should!

Image result for opinionWith conflicting opinions from professionals, what data should I rely upon to perform a beneficial service?

To resolve discrepancies I first ask myself, why is an FCE being used for this specific claim? The utility of this type of scientifically based evaluation, the training sources, performance methods, test protocols and standards to measure them are numerous.

Conflicting options are influenced by components of context and can be derived from subjective views. 

Professionals may have opposing views for their own reasons but I must be able to articulate their reports into vocationally-relevant terminology and tell a story about meaningful and gainful work. And it can be challenging to do this if I don’t understand the conclusion of the FCE report to begin with!

WORK

I love reading medical data rich in detail about a person’s world of functioning!  And I love writing reports rich with detail about a person’s world of work! 

A functional capacity evaluation is actually a term with various definitions, purposes and constructs. The purpose is to  evaluate an individual’s capacity to perform work activities related to his or her participation in employment. It seems that in essence, by having a functional capacity evaluation a person is likely to be put in an unfortunate position of deciding whether he or she is willing to return to work. 

If willing, there’s a way. If not, there’s no way.

From what I know, there are approximately 10 different types of commonly used functional capacity evaluations. Here in Iowa, I am most familiar with FCEs with names like the Isernhagen Work System, the Blankenship, Matheson, WorkWell and X-RTS. The reliability or validity of any system is somewhat irrelevant to me because the testing is already entered into “evidence”.

What is relevant to me is whether or not I comprehend the results and recommendations contained within the evaluation. Sometimes I can, sometimes I cannot. I always use a “Does This Make Sense to Me? test!

Image result for conflictingIt’s up to the dualing physical therapists to make their best points during litigation, I’m not in that ring!

I feel fortunate of connections with several physical therapists allowing insight into their clinical practice. I attend continuing education programs, and recall one that helped me understand various approaches to FCE’s specifically the X-RTS Lever Arm.

Thinking Cap

The X-RTS Lever Arm passes my make sense test!

So within the context of my vocational consulting work while cautiously putting any judgment aside (which seems hard when I know I know certain things), I analyze and compare each FCE while considering the testing results.

I note whether the FCE report is readable and user friendly. I assess if I understand terminology and methods used, how long testing was administered, what actually was administered, the claimant’s behavior during the test, and how the evaluator came to his or her conclusions about the results.

No senseDoes the conclusion make sense?

Are there concrete and realistic recommendations regarding strengths and weaknesses in relation to performing physical demand levels of various work situations? In other words, are there recommendations regarding real jobs found within the person’s labor market?

No senseDo the recommendations make sense?

I definitely look for the goals and expectations for the evaluation, and whether maximum and consistent effort was made by the evaluee. Comments on the suitability of the testee’s future employment options along with the evaluator’s observations are valuable and should be included.

It’s important to note what body part/extremity the therapist focuses on in relation to what body part/extremity was injured. For example in one report, the therapist discussed lower extremity activities, when in fact it was an upper extremity injury. If the report cites examples or uses too many percentages, it’s important to understand how the therapist justifies examples. I’m familiar with a therapist who changes the percentages of the same examples from report to report. That doesn’t make sense to me.

No sense I try really hard to make sense of most things and situations!  

If I am able to square an FCE in my mind after careful and prolonged study, is it possible the evaluee could do the same? That  would be  fortunate, especially if the therapist offers good recommendations that make sense!

How does the evaluee, when not truly the therapists’  patient when referred for an FCE by their own work comp attorney; with an additional FCE visit to a different physical therapist by the defense attorney  (that makes 2 different reports prepared by 2 different therapists) perceive discrepancies in the results? Sadly, in my eyes the FCE often gets “interpreted” through an attorney. The repeated pattern of thinking of one’s functional capacity as “poor” does not help anyone return to work.

If there is an IME (Independent Medical Exam), it may seem more geared towards one of the FCEs. Regardless, I try to comprehend all reports, noting the one I understand the most. I’m not so sure that an IME is really a “fresh set of eyes” in the workers’ compensation cases I’ve worked on. This topic is another blog in itself.

Putting both, or multiple opinions in a vocational report and making use of other documentation to support my ultimate and final opinion is a great idea, however I have to be cautious to not put myself in a role that isn’t mine (which is making a medical opinion which I can’t do).

If I am able to provide a doctor (ideally the most recent treating occupational health or rehabilitation doctor) detailed information directly related to a specific occupation or line of work and any resources that could help the doctor understand how such work is performed in a smart, safe and effective manner, many benefits arise.

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Clean your lenses!

There’s a clearer understanding of the vocational rehabilitation process and with agreement from all involved, there’s a higher likelihood one could see a successful common outcome (return to work). This certainly helps solidify my vocational opinion and make reasonable recommendations. Yet, this type of opportunity is not frequently available (it is for me to though through processing a life care plan!).

In my reports, I document what medical records I’ve reviewed and then use the actual words from the individual during an interview (or deposition review) describing how s/he details their physical impairment.  Often I hear verbatim what one doctor wrote in their restrictions. The evaluee will respond to my open questioning about any physical limitations (sometimes after the evaluee refers to his/her doctor’s letter) and read or have it memorized saying: “no lifting over 20 pounds, avoid twisting, bending, stooping, sit and stand as needed.”  No sense

What do those words really mean in real life? It doesn’t make sense to me and the individual doesn’t seem to know either. Ask an employer if they have a job that involves no lifting over 20 pounds, no twisting, no bending, no stooping, no this, no that…and that’s not talking their language!

The evaluee who responds to me in this fashion (using verbatim restrictive words) needs future vocational counseling. Vocational counseling (which may or may not be provided depending on the nature of the litigation) helps to gain a clearer understanding of how the person’s medical situation has changed their daily living (especially in the context of their own world of work). This understanding leads to the ability to articulate the individual’s capacity for success to others (family, friends, job interviewers, etc.).

Please keep in mind, the term “restriction” is not conducive to a successful job search. The ability to explain who you are and what you can do from a functional perspective to help a business make or save money is what is conducive to a successful job search. Restrictions should never be the focus of job placement. Skills are!

Rehabilitation counseling is especially important if the individual is searching for a job and is requiring job seeking skills training on how to or how not to disclose disability or any functional limitation. The personal attributes gained from training helps the placement process move forward with common goals avoiding getting stuck within a few words that don’t apply to working reality.

WORKWhile staying true to my convictions and firm beliefs that a person can work if the person wants to work and has the capacity to work, I need to understand the dichotomy between science and clinical practice is more imagined than real.

If healthcare professionals submit conflicting reports on the same individual, I need to be able to resolve inconsistencies to better understand and appreciate the opinions offered. It is not my role to determine which opinion is correct. It is my role to utilize available information, provide a beneficial service, and make a sound vocational opinion regarding the individual’s strengths and weakness in relation to work capacity and employability.

Matching People With Their World of WorkIt’s rewarding when I can clarify a person’s sense of their own world of work.

I strive to extend the value of FCEs in the litigation process. I am trained not only in understanding a client’s functional abilities at work, but at home and at leisure.  Together, my knowledge with those of other experts, contributes to decisions about the economic losses, or damages, for which the person receives compensation.

Thank you for reading this long post! I’m here to help attorneys like you help your client. Please know I always search for a way to best express my vocational opinion. Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  or 515-778-0634 and let me get to work for you!

___________________

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

Employment Discrimination and Help With a Litigation Fix!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As a vocational expert, I can help sort out the consequences of employment discrimination cases in many ways and from “both sides of the fence”.  To me, this phrase means I will be fully instrumental to help serve your client without falling off and hurting the case because I have a full grasp of what I’m on to. To accomplish this goal, I balance your case with your client’s story and use all my instincts and brain power…kinda like a cat!

Black Cat on FenceCats’ tails are instrumental in balance!

Cats’ tails serve as a counterbalance when cats walk on narrow spaces, such as fences. However, one of my felines from long ago, (Max 1987 – 2002) was a Manx, henceforth no tail but he was well able to manage cat life with his strong body shape in every way! I asked my vet, and yes, even cats with amputated tails have proven to re-learn how to balance.

Employment discrimination cases need plenty of proof and evidence. Loss of salary, loss of benefits, and lengthy unemployment can be quantified pretty easily. Other qualitative issues are more difficult to assert. For example, if there is a claim the loss of job adversely impacts income and questions surface regarding economic realities, I can help with educating the individual on how to engage in a meaningful and productive job search, or I can assess the extent, quality, and reasonableness of a current job search. It is important to keep employer attitudes towards hiring an individual terminated from previous employment in mind.

Further, I can help to determine the impact on earning potential and perform a beneficial vocational assessment and evaluation that provides data, and offers qualitative detail such as, for example ~

  • results of a labor market survey providing local job availability along with wages and benefits associated with those jobs
  • qualifications for a variety of  jobs in a person’s labor market
  • vocational training options following the discrimination or termination

Image result for meow

I can also help uncover whether or not a good cause for termination of employment existed. That’s why documenting real time employer and/or employee comments proves helpful to sort out the nuances of the case. I’ll take a deep look at a behavior or situation that any reasonable person agrees would or would not warrant discharge. I can help determine the ramifications of ~

      • Attendance
      • Dishonesty
      • Endangerment of health and safety*
      • Illegal conduct
      • Insubordination
      • Personality/attitude problems
      • Poor interaction with subordinates
      • Work performance and productivity
      • Violation of work policies and rules

*If disability is involved in the case, under the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title I of the ADA), I can assess for qualifications, physical demands and work-related attributes; and identify reasonable accommodation(s). Keep in mind, I believe that for every disability there is some form of assistive technology to allow continued employment. Most times there is more than one way to do a job!

If necessary, I can provide expert testimony to help prove the loss of job was or was not accountable, understandable, or reasonable. Do you have a case where I might help? Give me a call and let’s talk! I hope you’ll find our conversation interesting (I can give you a couple recent case examples). And if you like cats, let me know why, really! And if you don’t like ‘em, I really want to know why!

DudeCats have other unique advantages besides their beloved / not so loved personalities.

If falling (which doesn’t happen much based on my own personal cat ownership research) a cat’s head twists to inform the brain exactly how to restore alignment in a millisecond and a perfect landing is guaranteed!

16 Claws

If a cat falls from a porous surface, 18 hooked claws do their work in an instant!

Do I have you more interested in cats or my work as a vocational expert!?!

Felix Feeling Loving 5-30-2010

Felix (2002 – 2015)

I very much miss my Felix. As mostly a cool outdoor cafe’ kitty, you were quite a lover! Felix shared his feline life with me through many a fix (both his and mine) over the years.  Keep me, Amy Botkin (and Felix with his secret bag of tricks) in mind to help in dubious or even in basic situations involving employment discrimination. I definitely can help your case through a litigation fix! 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * 515-778-0634  * amyebotkin@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.

A Bouquet of Gerbera to Share, Along with My Vocational Assessment Services

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I’d like to share a beautiful bouquet of gerbera daisy with you, my Attorney Reader
With these flowers, I remind myself of how valuable you are to me as my client and how I am specially equipped to serve you as your consultant. Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to look around my website. 

On this site, I share information about my work background, including the fact that when I first started my vocational consulting practice in September of 1999, I was working part-time at a flower shop which was Doherty’s on 2nd Avenue as the “flower processor”.

My job in the shop involved duties to clean up the backroom, the upstairs storage spaces, the walk in cooler, and any other area that needed it, along with the best part of my job, which was to process incoming freight. This involved ♥I loved it!♥ opening boxes of flowers after I signed off for the delivery; and preparing the beauties for use by the floral designers. 

Image result for gerbera

My very favorite flower to process is the gerbera daisy!  They are great for adding color to any room or garden, with flowers that often measure 7 inches across!

Image result for gerbera flower

Why You Ask?

Do you want to ask me, so Amy, why is the gerbera daisy your favorite? My answer is: Because of the ease of cutting the stem! But the cut has to be just right for the bloom to last as long as possible! It’s not just about cutting the stem, it’s about thinking about the care involved in cutting the stem!

On-the-job, I was taught how to unwrap the shipment of assorted flowers that arrived, prepare a liquid solution, cut the stems and place them in the solution, then store them in the best place in the large walk-in cooler. When an order from a designer came through, it was again my job to bring the specific flowers out from the cooler and cut the stems perfectly before re-placement back in the cooler, marking the order, and just in time, as required for best results!

I used a really big stem chopper a lot. It looked like this: 

Image result for stem cutterWatch the fingies, Amy!  No, I never got injured!

I really enjoyed this part-time job because I was working with live beauty, and I was continuing to follow my passion. You see, growing up in the 70’s, I  was a member of a garden club. I excelled in flower arranging, even entering fair contests and winning ribbons!  Thank you Marie Hubbard, my neighbor mom, who was the club leader and one great teacher!  To this day I continue to enjoy arranging flowers!

Image result for cartoon winning ribbon

Where’d my show ribbons end up?

My job as as a flower arranger was short lived because my consulting business started getting busy and I could no longer take calls in the bathroom without feeling guilty. 

It was at this time in my life (by the way, the week before Valentine’s Day is very hectic at a flower shop…chop chop chop!), that I decided the only job I wanted to focus on was my own job as a consultant, which lead me to make a change for the better!  

In a nutshell, the decision was made to only have one boss from now on! And that’d be me. 

My plan for 2021 is to to continue to utilize my website for the purposes it was intended when I started it in the Spring of 2011, which is to write and share my talents!

Could your plan for 2021 include contacting me to help you help your client who is involved in litigation involving work?  You see I can also help you with a self employed client, because I understand what it takes to run a small business. 

If you need any sort of vocational assessment, I am definitely one of your choices and would like to be your preferred chosen choice!

Although not easy to prepare for because each one is unique, the assignments I accept are fulfilling and I appreciate the opportunity to help and to use my creative resources.  You’ll find I truly care about my work.

To discuss your case and how I might help, give me a call (515) 778-0634 or email amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   Again, thank you for reading. Maybe you could take some time today to stop by your nearest flower shop and splurge!!

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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.

 

Here’s Link, One Love in My Son’s Life & He Got Married!

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If you’ve noticed, I like to add links to my posts. I hope you’ve found something interesting to read when you read more and more into my blog posts! Ironically, I have a grand dog named Link! He belongs to my son Jacob and his wife, yes his wife Bridget! More to come on this news below!

Because this blog was initiated and never completed two years ago, I’m going to write about LinkyPooPoo first. He’s named after Link a fictional character and the main protagonist of Nintendo’s video game series The Legend of Zelda.

Jake and Bridget are gamers forever now! I’m sure Bridget, as a gifted writer, musician, barista, educator, creative, intelligent, and beautiful young woman can appreciate opening my blog writing to you about her dog!

For post context, Jacob’s been employed as full-time animal technician at the ARL for over two years now. Guess what happened within the first few weeks of his employment? You’re right! He adopted a dog!

Here’s Link the 1st Day I Met Him!

Link!

He’s an Australian Kelpie. In this photo he’s two, recently he turned four!  Link has experiences dealing with emotional doggy issues which are worked out on a constant basis, no different than a human living through long-term a traumatic injury or catastrophic situation does. Many pets who are at the ARL have behavioral issues and with training, love and attention, they can overcome the issues that may be inhibiting them from becoming the best doggie they could be. Sounds good!

According to petful.com/  Australian Kelpies are herding dogs often referred to as workaholics because of their intense stamina and endurance. Their instincts make them wary of strangers, a good attribute for any watchdog and they need consistent socialization in order to judge real threats better. 

Kelpies are incredibly independent and intelligent, and known for being able to learn almost any command or task (sit came instantly with Link). This dog requires an active and involved family to whom they are very loyal. I’ve taken him for walks and it is brisk!!!. Link is very loyal to Jake and Bridget and I love how he bonded with a rescue kitten with a disability Jake and Bridget fostered.

Bridget and Jacob are great dog parents!

Congratulations to my son Jacob and his long-term girlfriend Bridget who married recently by a court judge! Good luck with your future & I look forward to a celebration with a ceremony and family and friends & all our family dogs: Bella, Link, Rory, Mila and Pennie, and Ruro too!

Like pets we bring into our lives and care for any rehabilitation need, humans need access to health care and human services that match their lifestyle.  Having insight into how a person experiences daily living through their own eyes, sight being one factor surrounding their experiences, is important when preparing a life care plan.

 5 basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste

Like humans, five senses play an important role in helping dogs understand their surroundings. But the way dogs use those senses is often very different than how we do. To highlight two, a dog’s sense of smell is 100,000 times more powerful than yours or mine; and they are capable of hearing sounds four times further away than your or mine! Why is that asks my forensics mind? To learn more, here’s a resource about dog senses.

My specialty is forensics, and in role as a consultant, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about your client’s rehabilitation needs following a serious accident or injury that leads to work-related disability. I will work hard to make sense of your case and add value through understanding what the client really does or really does not need, resulting in a higher cost or a lower cost figured into the nuances of your litigated case.

Link’s getting that last bit of whip cream and no one can stop him!

In closure, I offer “evidence”: Dogs have about the biggest heart per body mass of any animal on the planet, making them highly attuned to reflect the emotions in our hearts. If you’re a dog owner, you likely know what I’m referring to. 

Here’s another resource that I’m sharing titled  Pet Wisdom From Animals. Beyond Snuggles and Companionship, Out Pets Offer Us Profound Spiritual Lessons. 

My attorney reader, I hope you enjoy my post and the links I offer. I encourage you to read the resource material presented in this post and lovingly look into your dog’s eyes (Sight), give her a pat on the back or a scratch behind the ear (Touch) and feed her her a treat kibble or two (Taste) while singing or humming your favorite tune (Hear) while she can smell your breath (Smell)!

Thank you for reading! Please contact me to discuss your litigated case and how I might help you help you client. Contact me at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com for more information about my approach to life care planning and to discuss your case!  

P.S. – There’s a 6th sense called proprioception, which allows us to keep track of where our body parts are in space. In my case, I sense this is the ability to keep track of what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense! You see, I have the ability and experience to prepare a life care plan and to critique a life care plan, all to the benefit of you and your client! Contact me today!

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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.

Get Level During the Divorce Process With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

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As an Attorney, do you work with divorcing couples? If so, have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client? 

Postit marriage

My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC, offers vocational consulting services, and specifically, an earning capacity evaluation will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways.

Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity evaluation offers valuable information regarding a person’s working world. 

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help!

As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career pic

I report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation provides recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment.

Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when discussing talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  

Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Tell Your Story | Anxiety Sufferers Canada - Physical Abuse

I can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce in central Iowa, even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 12 years (and when she had worked it was in a different country!)

There were inaccuracies, false statements and numerous errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher). This made made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!)

The opposing expert did not make sense! In central Iowa, a teacher does not start out the first year earning a $50k salary (especially when the individual has an outdated bachelor degree from a non-accredited college, no teaching license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience)!  The person wouldn’t even qualify to interview!

Talk about needing a true earnings capacity!

Earnings $

Knowing your client’s earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of the divorce case.

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.

Contact me to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings.

Know what you need to know about your client before a different report may try to say otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Time to Get Level

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-778-0634. If I don’t answer, please leave a message! Or  email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and I’ll get back to you.  Thank you for reading and I look forward to helping you help your client!

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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.