So, as if this mornings stress wasn’t enough, my stress just took on a whole new level. I just came out of a meeting with the training standards officer about accessibility stuff surrounding assignments, exams etc. So it went like this. She asked me if I knew anything about word, and I was like sure I do, so then I asked the instructors why they decided to start me on spreadsheets as the first module, instead of word, when I know absolutely nothing about spreadsheets. I told them it would be so much easier if I was allowed to start with word, because I know quite a bit about it and if they need help with jaws and stuff I can help them with it as they don’t know a lot about jaws. You see, half the group of us are doing word as the first module, and the other half are doing spreadsheets. So when I actually said to them that I’d prefer to do word instead of spreadsheets they agreed to that. Thank god! So next Monday I will start word. There will be two exams in word, and one assignment which is also graded. They were trying today to figure out the best way for me to access the exams and instructions for the assignment. I asked if I can have a reader, the officer said possibly, but first they are going to scan in the material and see if it can be read with jaws. I know jaws reads pdf files but I tried to tell her it wont read images, and tables are also pretty hard to navigate. She said they’d try to scan the instructions and exam paper in, and then if it doesn’t work, if jaws doesn’t read it they will look at an alternative, but first they have to prove that they’ve tried the other way. Pretty stupid if you ask me but that’s how it is. I’m just glad to be starting with a module that I am relatively familiar with. I was so worried about starting into something I know zilch about. I’m sure that we’ll get the accessibility stuff sorted in time. We have a couple of weeks before the exams and before I have to start the assignment so that’s good. It gives us time to iron out the problems.
Here it is, my care plan, the plan I made with Mark my OT, for managing and overcoming anxiety around starting school. Feedback is appreciated.
Management Strategies Identified
- Anticipation and Preparation
- Breathing techniques
- Body Scans
- Think about 3 things near to me. Sounds in the room. Sometimes require prompting.
- Use quiet room
- Time out and collect thoughts. Perhaps toilet break. If triggered can use water.
What am I looking forward to:
Learning new things
Building computer skills
Getting into the workforce
Having a satisfying routine
Structure to the day
Something to get up for in the morning
What do I see as obstacles to course engagement:
- Instructors not knowing about jaws or equipment
- Equipment breaking down
- Lack of awareness about dog
- Not familiar with spreadsheets etc and difficulty with such
- Concerns about becoming unwell and unstable
- Work Placement and finding the right placement Will companies want to take me on
- Mobilising around the building
- Exams and exam process (Will I get to do the exams on same day)
What Strategies can I use to overcome obstacles?
- Ring Brain Manning form NCB and he can give training on Jaws as it is specialised equipment. I can help out re commands etc. On email support lists and I can get answers from this around technology supports.
- They have tech support and also Brian Manning can help with such.
- Have had Natalie (trainer) in and if needed she could come in again. Perhaps get leaflets about guide dogs if needed. Like the Basement, people get used to the dog and more familiar. Confidence will be developed being around the dog.
- There will be individual support when needed and I will have an opportunity to confirm items and question if I have not processed information or grasped concepts.
- Use weekly appointments to discuss about impacting items from past aswell as current stressors. Prioritise what needs to be talked about. Do things in personal life to maintain wellness i.e. relationships. Basement resource centre. Fill up evenings and use distraction techniques. Talk to link worker on the course so they are aware.
- When go to do work placement anticipation and preparation will be key and using resources in NLN and outside of this to get the best opportunities available.
- I have done route familiarisation and I know much of the building. The first two weeks of induction will give me time to adjust fully. Confidence has developed already and staff have been so friendly and will be helpful if required.
- The exams are every 6 weeks approximately. It is continuous assessment as opposed to one exam at the end of the year. This takes stress off. I have initiated availing of extra time and supports for exam to maximise likelihood of best outcomes. I will link in with my key support worker in NLN leading up to exams and discuss any concerns as they arise. Link with Mark (OT) leading up to exams as an aspect of exam preparation.
What preparation do I feel I need prior to commencing NLN on Sept 7th:
- Adjust sleep pattern: Starting Monday 31st August getting up at 7am and going to bed before 12. I will adjust body clock as when I commence NLN I will be getting up at 6am. This preparation will give me confidence to start the course.
- Ring Brian Manning as I need guidance on a scanning ap on the phone. This will be necessary to scan printed material on the course.
- I feel ready for the course.
“There’s a lot of stress out there, and to handle it, you just need to believe in yourself; always go back to the person that you know you are, and don’t let anybody tell you any different, because everyone’s special and everyone’s awesome.”
Feel free to answer the question I will put below. I am trying out a new section to my blog!
If it takes off I will do a daily question.
What do you do when you feel stressed? How do you try to deal with it?
This week in therapy the topic of conversation turned to stress and anxiety. I started off by telling Eileen that Nitro going in to have his teeth cleaned had really stressed me out. And that the night before he had his proceedure done I hadnt slept because of the high level of anxiety I felt. Eileen asked me on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no stress, how stressed I was. I said my stress around Nitro was about an 8. She then asked me what would put my stress level to a 10, and I said something like losing someone important to me, or witnessing something traumatic happening to one of the important people in my life. After that we went through each of the numbers. When it came to 3 2 and 1, I didnt have any answers. Eileen said to me that she thinks the reason I dont have answers for those is that I live my life at a 3. I am constantly in a heightened stressed state. I go through each day on alert. I had to agree. I went on to tell Eileen about how at night before I go to sleep, there are certain things that have to be in place, and I check and recheck, over and over, whether these things are there before I can settle to finally go to sleep. Eileen likened it to being in a war zone. She then asked me if I wanted to try something with her, to calm my nervous system. I said ok I’d be willing to try. Its called voo breathing. Peter Levine is the man who writes about it. Basically you take a deep breath in, and you make a voooooo sound, with your mouth as you breathe out. You try to hold the sound for as long as you can. I have trouble with breath exercises because of asthma, but I did it and I was able to hold the sound for a little bit. Eileen said with practice I’d get better at it. It was interesting to learn about this voo breathing and I intend to look up more articles on it. If it helps to calm me its worth it. Eileen said we’d keep exploring the stress and traumatic responses surrounding it and work on it more next week if I wanted to do that. She said she was glad we had talked about it because its obviously something that is really getting in the way of us living our life to the fullest.