Building Relationships with Your Support Staff

Support and Respect

Developing a mutual respect for each other. That’s where Brendan and his job coach Minh’s relationship started almost three years ago. Then came trust. Now Minh says she can’t keep up with him! 

Hudson Valley resident and LIFEPlan member Brendan Klein is passionate about his job at The Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) in Valhalla. Like so many of the other self-advocates we have profiled in August, Brendan’s job started as a hobby. Five years ago, he started a Facebook group to stay socially connected with friends after high school. That group, called TicTacGO now has hundreds of members with disabilities. After WIHD hired him three years ago, Brendan expanded his outreach to 16 Facebook groups and has over 600 members. He did over 150 virtual events during the pandemic alone.  

Although Brendan and Minh started working together in person, they too went virtual during the pandemic and now work completely via Zoom three days a week. Minh says, “Working remotely has actually allowed us both to be more focused and productive.” Brendan appreciates the structure and support of their work together. “Minh keeps me on my toes. She sets a good example for me but understands who I am and lets me be me.” 

As Minh says, “What I have to remember is that it’s not my job, it’s Brendan’s job. I’m here to support his work, not control it or do it for him.” Minh also said that she has learned so much by working with Brendan and is passionate about providing services like job coaching and community habilitation to individuals with developmental disabilities. “What we do makes a difference and is so appreciated by families. Using telehealth has allowed me to really make a positive impact on the individuals I work with. I see improvement every day and am so proud of them. So are their families” 

Although Brendan has Self-Directed services, supported employment, which is often called SEMP, is a Home and Community Based Waiver service available to individuals through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Contact your Care Manager for more information.