Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story. I’d Love to Write it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills.

When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam he previously made for her to practice on for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio during a home renovation project!

Balance Beam

Dad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work. We eat a balanced meal, and I believe mostly importantly, we try to keep a balanced state of mind.

In my life, finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard comments like: It’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He was receiving in home physical therapy through the VA and he moved continuously during each day. He was in excellent physical condition for most of his life!

But a stroke and a fall down basement steps at home lead to no return to life on earth. Before he was airlifted to the hospital in Mason City, my mom called and we drove in the middle of the night to be with him in the hospital room. And to help him die.

Highway Balance

Richard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone.

“Hi Amy, this is your dad.”

Like I didn’t know it was him on the other end! Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul. 

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core.  You may lose direction or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried writing this, but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a temporary banquet server for a hotel.

As I was walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (lemonade, tea and water)…well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled Water

I learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal: just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling any!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, especially those that involve work and disability, let me know. That’s why I’m here on this earth! which is to help attorneys help their clients.

I will be prepared to help you bring a balanced case to court. I will write a report that tells your client’s real story with a concentration on their vocational background and potential future. If you need a life care plan for your client, again, I can help write about why the plan is needed and the likely costs for the person’s care.

Chinese Symbol for Balance

Please know my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing all to help you help your client. I’m actually really good at balancing in many ways (for one I like to stand to put my socks and my shoes on!) and I am pretty happy with my physical and my mental states of mind.

Call me Amy Botkin at 515-778-0634 to tell me about your case. Or send me an email at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking for to tell your client’s real story.

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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.

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.

Related image

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!

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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.

Hello My Attorney Reader! Want to Buy Some TIME from Me … a Consultant and an Educator?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’re a good attorney, and you care about the people you represent. You’re busy working on cases and spend a lot of time on time. In fact, you even buy TIME! I’m writing to help you make a more comfortable TIME purchase from me, a consultant who is also an educator!

MoneyTime

I fully realize attorneys buy TIME

Time – Because you bill by the hour (and so do I), I promise to help you be more productive and, thus, more successful by providing value laden services.

Pinky SwearI promise to always respect your time.

 

Information – Because I totally understand why you HATE looking stupid (and so do I), I will provide accurate information that you want or need.

Pinky SwearI promise to always ensure you have a good reason for working with me.

 

Money – Because saving money and making money are the goals for almost every law firm (and for every consulting firm too), I will effectively use all the resources available to help with your case.

Pinky SwearI promise to be accurate and fair with my billing.

 

Education – Because lawyers always need continuing education and so do I to maintain your license, I am available to present to any group that would benefit from learning about my work and rehabilitation consulting. In addition, as I’m a well-trained educator and counselor, I can help you and your client in many ways throughout the case and onto trial, where my educational background is useful in front of a jury.

Pinky SwearI promise to bring new light to your litigation strategies.

 

Time on HandsHow much TIME would you like to have on your hands, especially when working on a complex case that has to do with work and disability? So there it is!  But wait, there’s more:

I, Amy, promise to Always Be True at My Core, Apple Butterflybecause that’s all I have ever had and have ever needed and I’m willing to share what I know is true.

Enjoy a piece of quality fruit (I love organic apples) and then contact me, Amy E. Botkin to discuss your case. Call me at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to connect so we can discuss your case and how I might help!

I’m here to help you help your client! 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.

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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.

 

Employability, Hireability and Placeability ~ Got Ability? Need Proof?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

To continue on with my post on getting level during divorce, I’m offering working definitions of 3 of my favorite ability descriptors which are:

Employability, Hireability and Placeability

Looking for proof icon

Although my vocational assessment and evaluation assignments span a variety of jurisdictions and are designed to meet referral needs, the concepts of Employability, Hireability and Placeability remain constructively intact.

~ Employability ~ Can try to prove

employabilitySimply put, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. It refers to the capacity to function in a job and to be able to move between jobs the person could actually do considering personal circumstances. There may be an overlay of disability, physical or mental limitations, or specific work-life needs that come into play when determining a person’s employability.

Employability depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities and how these assets are used within the context which work is performed or is sought. To evaluate employability, it helps to break the concept into manageable pieces. I take a look at the skills, attitudes and behaviors the person has developed through their work background and a variety of other life experiences.

To know if those skills, attitudes and behaviors are in demand, I then research and survey the person’s labor market to identify jobs that match the person’s background and capacities.

It works best for me to highlight the person’s skills and capacities in the best possible light! Skills are transferable regardless of disability, especially with creative adaptation and accommodation.

In addition, if there are avenues to match the person more closely with jobs (eg: short term training), further vocational research is performed with the results offered in a helpful way.

Using all this type of data allows me to try to prove the person is employable. It’s not easy, but I can certainly explain my opinion of a persons employability.  In fact, I’ve evaluated many people and have testified to my opinion many times!

~ Hireability ~ Cannot prove

Hireability

The term hireability is a way of describing the likelihood an individual might get hired for a job they are physically and psychologically capable of performing.

The most prevalent method of hiring is the interview, therefore, it is always helpful to view how a person presents their skills. The individual’s presentation is critiqued, job searching skills are assessed and other issues are addressed relative to the potential to attain employment in various environments.

Further, hireability is about a person’s soft skills, including their style of communication, level of self-confidence, initiative, tact, and motivation. All these elements are important to a business who has hiring needs!

Throughout my placement experiences, I find businesses look to hire individuals who are responsible, trainable, friendly and able to work on teams. Reliable transportation, good references, a neat appearance, and a pleasant personality are commonly preferred.

Throughout my placement experiences, I also understand often is not necessary to assess an individual for hireability, and to rely on the person’s natural ability to succeed without the need to administer a “test”.

So the reason I can’t prove hireability (unless the person actually gets hired during a specific time frame) is because I am not a business who employs people and therefore I don’t hire people. Yet I have experience hiring people when I was employed for a staffing agency in my past!

~ Placeability ~ Can try to prove

Placeability is the likelihood that a person will actually access, secure and maintain work within his or her labor market, usually in a specific job or occupation. Placeability is affected by labor market conditions (outside of an individual’s control) and is partly about how in-demand the individual’s transferable skills are and how well she or he can present those skills.

The dynamics of placeability include the availability of jobs in a certain geographic area; employer attitudes and policies, the evaluee’s age and culture; and specific occupational hiring requirements. I’ve had many years of work experience placing people and there are numerous variables!

If the person has barriers to employment, for example a functional limitation that would benefit from accommodation, resources are discussed to avoid unnecessary conflicts in the person’s working world. Please realize all functional limitations are restrictions but NOT all restrictions are functional limitations!

So you can see here how I can try to prove whether or not a person could be placed. In fact, I have placed many people in my past! 

Here’s another rather important variable: 

~ Willingness to Work ~ Can definitely prove!

I have testified to this several times. I can definitely prove whether or not a person is willing to work. All this take is for the person to be engaging in a valid job search, which means they would have documentation of what businesses they have been in contact with and the results of their efforts.

If you are a job seeker and need proof that you are validly looking for reliable work, let me know if I can help. I have lots of experience providing job seeking skills training and have helped many people secure work!

Thank you

The bottom line for any business usually involves making and/or saving money! Are you doing that? If you are employed, yes you are! I thank you! And I’m sure your business thanks you too.

Need a vocational evaluation consultation? Contact me at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

Thank you for reading my blog post!

___________________

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

Central Value of Consulting with Me, What An Attorney Will Find!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I provide forensic vocational rehabilitation consulting services and work with attorneys with passion; those who truly care about their clients. Trust me, I care about my customers and you will find that I too am passionate about my work. I will help you as much as I can so you can help your client.

You’ll find we make a nice pair when we focus on your client!

Please take your time to review information about my professional services. Life care planning and forensic rehabilitation counseling are unique to vocational rehabilitation. That’s why I chose to work in this field! It takes a lot of knowledge yet common sense to truly help others.

Work Hard Stay HumbleYou’ll also find I work hard for you and just as hard for your client!

If you, Attorney Person, need help with how to quantify and qualify an individual’s earning capacity within a life care plan, I am the consultant you’re looking for. If you need a report explaining a person’s vocational background and earnings potential, I am the consultant you’re looking for. If you need an expert to serve on the stand in your case, I am the consultant you’re looking for. Want me to continue on about my work and why you need my help? 

I believe work is central to the existence of adult functioning. It provides funds needed to live and supplies status and security for an individual. You’ll find value in how I approach my own work in a qualitative way. You’ll see I’m grounded in neutrality, sincerity and resolve to never give up until the facts make sense.

Ask me some questions and learn what I, Amy E. Botkin, can do to help you help your clients. I know there’s many links on this post (10 above and a couple more below, including one to directly contact me!).

Amy Pic 9-29-15

You’ll receive a humble reply!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC  *  lcpresourcesplus.com  *  (515) 778-0634  

amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

 

Thank you for reading and checking out my website where you can read about my services and find my disclaimer for your reading pleasure!  I enjoy writing for your reading pleasure and to let you know I value my work and I value serving as a consult for you, my attorney reader. Again, thank you!

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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 New Year! Do You Know Where This Sculpture is?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A few years back, I took this photo while hanging out downtown on a Sunday morning after Mass. I’ve always been fascinated with this bronze sculpture that revolves like a globe! To find out more about it, I did a little research to share with you:

Sphere Within a Sphere

“Sphere Within a Sphere” by Amaldo Pomodoro, 1999

The sculpture “Sphere Within a Sphere” (Sfera con sfera) was placed in 1999, the same year my business, “Vocational Resources Plus, LLC” was born. The sculpture is intended as a metaphor for the coming of new and a promise.

If you didn’t watch New York City’s time ball drop on t.v. because you fell asleep or if you didn’t watch it at all because you had other interests in mind, enjoy this blog as my gift!

Do you know where the Sphere is located and yes, it’s in Des Moines, Iowa, but do you know where it specifically resides? Just fyi: another “Sphere Within a Sphere” by this same Italian artist can be found in the Vatican; and he has another sculpture like it in New York City, too.

But wait! Stay here in town with me, and let me know, did you get my question correct? The sculpture above is located at the American Enterprise Art Park 601 6th Avenue and Watson Powell Jr. Way in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Here’s my daughter in the East Village…DSM not NYC!

Enjoy our beautiful city’s artwork! Here’s a link where you can learn more about our city’s public art Des Moines Public Art Foundation

Cheers to your legal work and to our New Year!Champagne GlassesI can only handle one glass of bubbly, if that!

I’m not sure where I found this, but it rings true ~ Visual art is the expression of an emotion in a particular language—words, sculpture, paintings, photographs, ceramics—so that we come to understood the emotion better.

Enjoy art and embrace how your emotions can shape your new year!  Btw, did you know of the plans for steel art work on the 6th Avenue bridge over the Des Moines River on our city’s North side? Looks very cool to me!

Enjoy, embrace, and reminisce about this past year…keep the good and dispel of the not so good!  And after that, I hope you make time to think about me and how I can help you help your client on a case involving work and disability!   

I look forward to hearing from you this year!

Give give me a call at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to start our discussion about your case. Thank you for reading my blog 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.

 

People and Their Pets…Got Cat? A Good Vocational Assessment Question to Ask

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Originally published on: Dec 17, 2012/updated Dec 17, 2019 and posted again today!

When I meet with an individual to perform a vocational assessment, I ask questions to gather information about their work and life background. One question I ask, underlying other questions regarding psycho-social factors, is about pet ownership. Asking about pet ownership during an evaluation can tell me a lot about a person!

Got Cat? Dog? Rabbit? Snake? Fish? Iguana? Bearded Dragon? Horse?

Of course pet ownership is not for everyone, but if the individual is a pet owner, and a discussion develops about the topic, it offers me insight about the person. Pet ownership allows for psycho-social benefits accruing within an individual from the one-to-one type interactions with their pets.

Pet ownership can also influence broader social interactions and perceptions, experiences of sense of community (you recognize the dog going for a walk in your hood!), and social capital at the neighborhood level.  (Ever been to a dog park? Or even to the pet store that allows pets! You’ll know what I’m referring to!) In addition, a pet owner’s sense of health and well-being often emerges as a valuable and positive feature of daily living.

SamiJo The Love of My Life!
SamiJo The Love of My Life!

This is SamiJo, the Love of My Life!

Okay: At one point in my life a few years back, I had 3 cats (Felix, SamiJo and Alaska*), a dog (Bella*), a guinea pig (Peggy), and a fish (Bluebee). Oh, and a hedge hog (Sandslash). My beloved rabbit, (a mini rex named Patches) died last week.

*Update as of 12/17/19: Alaska is now the #1 only puddy in the house, and Bella has penetrated the interior as well (she used to be an outdoor dog). Along with these two loves, I’m also the pet mother to a fish named Focus and a rabbit named Mollie.

It’s a big responsibility to own a pet. You must provide basic care which includes food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and exercise for your pet. And you must abide by the City’s bylaws around pets and animals. 

Another view into pet ownership is that of having the physical ability or mental capacity to care for something other than yourself. In fact, this could change in a positive or a negative way based on experiences in your life.

For Bella’s 5th birthday awhile back, she received a dog pass to the Riverwalk Dog Park!  Another update as of 12/17/19: Bella  no longer likes dog parks…at age 15 she mostly just likes to be fed treats, be petted and beloved by those who she knows and likes how they smell! 

In May of 2019, Bella experienced an “old dog condition” diagnosed as idiopathic vestibular disease.  This is an inner ear problem leading to dizziness, just like a human can experience.  It was very distressful to witness my dog going through the acute stages of this condition, because I thought she was experiencing a stroke. Her head was tilted way to the right and she kept on twirling around that way. I had to drive her to the emergency vet clinic where she received this diagnosis, and then back to our vet for follow-up. She was put on medications and her condition mostly resolved other than a slight tilt to her beautiful head!

Bella December 2020

Update: in August of 2020 she had another episode, however this time it resolved on its own and she was not prescribed medications. The vet said it is unusual to have two flareups of this disease within a little more than a year.

Patches

Patches was a grateful rabbit

Patches had plush, velvet like fur and a happy personality. He was a mini rex, a small rabbit, weighing 3-4 pounds. A mini rex is known as “The Velveteen Rabbit”.  Patches liked to lunge out of his wooden hut when his cage door was opened. Some people (like my husband) got a little frightened of this burst out, thinking they were in danger! But I saw his behavior as a great show of energy! I also loved his happy hops!

Patches loved rose petals…He ate them! 

Patches always was thankful when he was fed (and especially when he received a treat!) with a little snorty sound. I had noticed he was getting very thin, however he still was eating. And then one morning, he was not lunging out of his hut, and he was very still, yet he was breathing. I checked on him several more times.

Later in the afternoon he did lunge out, although it was a very unusual lunge. He bonked off his litter box and landed on his side. I started to pet him…continuing to stroke his very soft fur…until he died. And the whole time this was happening, my daughter was also experiencing this loss. She, in fact, took on the responsibility (age 15 at the time) to plan a service and bury him.

Think about pets you’ve known and understand why I find it important to ask about pet ownership. Back to the dog park experiences, you learn the dogs’ names, but never ask the owners for theirs, right!? How about the observations of the behaviors (both dogs and the owners) you arrive at to compile evidence about your theory of dog parks!?!

In a previous post on April 2nd 2012, I blogged about another question I ask about the person’s nutritional intake and habits. Want to Heal that Injury? Focus on Your Nutrition!  Healthy nutritional intake is just as important for your body as it is for your pets. Please feed everyone well!

For You Patches. I Loved You!

Image result for purple grape

And for you Mollie, she prefers grapes!

Let me know if you have questions about how I perform a vocational assessment. You can also click over under documents for download to see a sample vocational assessment and evaluation report.

Give me a call at 515-778-0634 or email me amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to discuss your case and how I could help you help your client. 

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your pet stories!

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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.

Alaska and Her Rehabilitation Plan…Patience Beyond that of a “Normal” Cat Owner!

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Okay, another cat blog! Yes, I’m a cat lover and I love all pets and I care for all living creatures! I’m not a cat fanatic, it’s just that felines have been an important part of my life since my teens, and I love cats!

I love to write too. I love my work. I love my family. I love my life! I love a lot actually! Amy means beloved, so it’s reciprocated in many ways : ) Read on please! I’d love it!

Cat Plate
Cat Plate

Little did we know that 3 months after Max my manx was murdered in early 2002 by something in the street, (I don’t love creatures who kill pets, and on the other hand I don’t like it at all when my pets kill creatures), a tiny meow would emit from our neighbor’s garden. Oh my, this long haired kitten was awesome!

Felix! Welcome! (Okay, this blog is not about Felix today!)

Max, (nope this blog not about you either, meooowww) a dearly beloved yet wild cat, found me in ~1987 when I was renting the basement of a brick home in Windsor Heights (it had a pool in the back yard.)

Speaking of cat claws! A word of advice from a long time cat owner, (counselors shouldn’t give advice, but in this case, listen to me!): Don’t think it’d be fun to give a cat a ride on an air mattress in a pool. Trust me. Sure looked like I had open heart surgery!

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Alaska, when she was skinny

Now, here’s a blog devoted to Alaska. She’s the cat who strutted on down the street one Spring evening in 2012 (following my son Jacob and his friend Josh) directly into our house and to a bowl full of cat food. Score!

I recall saying “Wow I’ve always wanted a white cat!” She’s all white with beautiful eyes (I love the green one; no, I love the blue one!). Oh dear, upon her arrival she was a very thin stray!

And oh dear, oh my, oh dear, I would have no idea what trouble she would end up causing over the next year or two (…).

You really don’t want to know all the horrid details, but just know her behavior  involved lots of $$$$ due to her destructive nature of clawing at furnishings (another word of advice regarding leather furniture and cat claws, expect your sofa to be a target!) and depositing her scent in various places throughout the house. 

Plus there were even more costs $$$ over veterinary bills due to her actions toward the existing female feline (my love of all cat loves SamiJo.) But Alaska was still a cat I had no plans to give up on! To this day, she’s definitely not the perfect puddy and I don’t expect she ever wants to be in “her eyes”!

When she arrived, she looked like a kitten, however our vet, Dr. Michael Forret, said she was about 7 months old when she decided to ditch being a stray and choose our home. She was hungry and dirty!

Even her ears where filthy. Jacob named her and she has a middle name too, but I don’t think I should let you on to that just yet!

Alaska Our Putty TattyI rehabilitated Alaska TF into one big healthy white cat!

Part of Alaska’s rehabilitation included a lot of touch. She didn’t like being touched much, probably because she had not experienced much touch. To this day, she still will allow being touched only upon her terms and conditions, but I like to make her think she loves being petted which she really does but tries to hide it (cats).

kitten-in-toteAJ & AK bonding!

ArinJune figured out a way to carry her around in a tote bag (and to this day I often find her lounging in one of these she found!) to feel safe. With ongoing rehab,  regular vet care, good food and water, and lots and lots of love and attention, she thrives! Treats are nice too!

AK is much calmer of late into her more mature cat years. She loves the freedom to do what felines do (….sleep…and read above [hunt]…). She continues to be “a wild one” however and she herself does her share of “killing and delivering….” But, how can I stop a cat from that? Her hunting is actually of value to where we live because of an unkept property or two in the hood. But the dismembered gifts by the back door, come on! Enough. I purchased her a new collar with a loud bell that will hopefully help plus she only goes outside about once or twice a day.  

Update, Alaska has not gone outside for the last several years, so, no more worrying about what she’s killing, whew! Plus, after that one cat fight many moons ago (which lead to another visit to the vet, and resulted in stitches and a chipped ear), she prefers the indoors! And that’s where I like her to be! She’s a homey!

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Alaska helping me on a case!

Good communication and problem-solving skills are required in order to counsel others. In my role as a rehab counselor, I truly want to be empathetic and reveal my desire to help people fulfill their goals. Counselors need good listening skills, compassion, and patience while working with individuals who have suffered serious injury and disability.

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She found this case interesting and pauses to reflect!

I know I have patience beyond that of a normal cat owner! Thank you my felines for teaching me how to listen and show my true self.

If I can help you, my attorney reader, help your client with a life care plan that includes vocational rehabilitation, please let me know! Contact me at 515-778-0634 or email  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

Thanks for reading! I hope you “loved it!” If you have a cat, maybe I’m motivating you to cuddle up now! Prrrrr

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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.

When, Where & Why You Need a Life Care Planner for Your Litigated Case & Who Can Help? Me!

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When Do You Need a Life Care Planner?

Typically a life care planner is helpful for legal cases involving catastrophic injuries or chronic health conditions.Related image

  • Lawyers, physicians, and insurance companies can hire a life care planner to research, analyze and develop life care plans for patients who experience catastrophic injuries or chronic health conditions related to birth, brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation, trauma, burns, and other serious injury.

Where Do You Need a Life Care Planner?

A life care planner is useful in a variety of jurisdictions.

  • In legal cases that include workers’ compensation, personal injury, medical malpractice and marital dissolution
  • A plan is also useful to protect assets when aging, disability or chronic disease raises tough questions about estates
  • Other civil lawsuits, estates and probate needs

Why Do You Need a Life Care Planner?

A life care planner is beneficial for individuals, families and funding sources for many good reasons.  A good planner is able to ~

  • Provide the individual and the family with an outline of future care
  • Guide people through the complex maze of rehabilitation and long-term care coordination
  • Assess diagnoses and work-related disabilities
  • Network and make connections with health care providers and holistic practitioners
  • Educate, motivate and support the family regarding their loved one’s needs
  • Help insurance companies set reserves

Who Can Help? How About Me?! Amy!

Amy Pic 9-29-15Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP,

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor & Certified Life Care Planner

With my extensive training, experiences and knowledge, I am able to zero in on vocational rehabilitation needs. These needs are often a key component when attorneys and insurance companies are settling or trying a legal case involving an individual of working age.

Please take into account a child deserves the opportunity to work and make money in their future, and if permanently and totally disabled, many factors come into play when assessing their potential earning capacity.  It starts with assessing the child’s parent’s working background! 

I can help you help your client and your client’s family.

CLCP Certificate expires 2-28-21

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! 

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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.