Identifying the problem:
From age 3-22, children with cerebral palsy are provided developmental rehabilitative services through the public school system. Many parents are faced with the harsh realization in their child’s senior year of high school that once they graduate, the child and the parent are on their own. For many households, when the child graduates, a parent is forced to give up their job in order to take care of the person at home. This can quickly become an economic disaster as there is a waiting list that can take years to get state and federal assistance. Without the services and support they need, many young people with disabilities may end up in nursing homes or state institutions.
Cerebral Palsy Center believes that people with disabilities have the same desires as normal people – to have choice and independence by living and working in their community. Cerebral Palsy Center has become a member of Project SEARCH, a program originally created through Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in which people with disabilities can learn relevant, marketable skills while immersed in a 9-month internship program and become employed in an integrated setting.
Cerebral Palsy Center is the first organization in Tennessee to be a Project SEARCH member. The Center has partnered with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for the internship program.
How does Program SEARCH work?
- People with disabilities are assessed by the Cerebral Palsy Center to evaluate their skills and capabilities to figure out if Project SEARCH is the right program for their interests. If it’s the right fit for them, they are enrolled into the internship program as interns.
- The first 3 weeks the interns are in a classroom like setting where they learn the policies and procedures of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital including the code alert systems (i.e. Code Pink means a baby has been abducted), the various departments that they can choose to train in, navigating the hospital, etc. At the end of the 3 weeks, the interns and their job coaches choose 3 departments of interest. Interns do not train together in the same department because the goal is to have full immersion into the normal work environment, developing relationships with co-workers outside of the program.
- Day of an Intern:
o 8:00am-8:45am – Class setting to concentrate on specific tasks. Examples include wheelchair safety transporting, CPR training, cleaning medical machines.
o 9:am-2:00pm – Interns report to their department to work
o 2:10pm – all interns and coaches meet with the Project Coordinator. They each must report on what they have learned, improved on and obstacles they are facing.
- Some skills they may learn:
o Computer work including Microsoft Office, data entry
o Medical Records
o Sorting and filing medical supplies
o Preparing surgery packs
o Cleaning medical machines (i.e. machines in Respiratory Department)
To learn more about Project SEARCH and if your family member is eligible for this program please fill out the Application Packet below and email to Bob Sexton