Talking with Araceli about the relationship she’s built over the last 10 years with her one on one client at the Valley Village Adult Development Center’s day program, you can see their bond with no words being exchanged between them. You see it in the looks they exchange and the way he reaches for her. “We know each other really well because we’ve worked and grown together over the years,” explains Araceli. “We communicate using simple sign language.” It’s easy to see their communication goes beyond sign language as they share a look. You can see how much he trusts Araceli. “He responds positively to engagement with me and others, as well as directions and feedback. I give him positive feedback and reinforcement when he responds positively.” As we are talking, he indicates to Araceli he wants her to help him brush his teeth after he finishes what he’s drinking. It’s easy to see how much he trusts her.
Araceli shares that he just completed a new goal in their ongoing work together. “His goal was to grow his social skills and engage with others, including classmates and members of the community.” The consistency of their relationship combined with the resources at Valley Village have helped him achieve his goals over the years. Achieving his goals requires a great deal of focus and consistency from both Araceli and her one on one client. Currently, they are focusing on developing his daily living skills to help increase his level of independence, such as teaching him how to better pace himself while eating and drinking.
Araceli has learned a lot working with him and other clients at Valley Village over the years. “When they approach you with smiles and they are happy, it makes you feel good; you’ve made a difference in their lives. It’s been a good experience working at Valley Village. Working here has helped me in raising my own children and how I conduct myself.” Araceli explains that it’s an emotional experience. “Making the clients happy and seeing to their well being is what it’s about. That makes each day successful; the positive impact we make in their lives.”