Dear 2019,

You were full of surprises weren’t you? I know, I know…I can’t blame you. I was the one who threw the eggs in 20 baskets, warmed them, cared for them, and had to figure out what to do when most of them hatched at the same time. 

<–This is me realizing that I wouldn’t be able to write for Fitzer’s Corner at all in 2019. I had so many things I wanted to write… planned and those that were more spontaneous, but when you are caring for 20 baby chickens there isn’t much time for writing.

There is no getting you back 2019. There is only moving forward. The baby chicks are various ages, some getting ready to lay their own eggs and others still being nurtured. Others have taken off and are not coming back. Nevertheless, while I can’t get the time back, I can jot down a list of the titles I would have written if I had been able to and summarize what I would have written.  There are few (vegetarian) nuggets of wisdom in the summaries I think. 

As always, I am interested in what you think the titles should be. Perhaps I will find some time in 2020. And if not, your titles, your nuggets of wisdom (and the credit for them) will make up a list that I publish sometime during the year!

-Adrienne

Chicken images by pixabay.com User Capri23auto

Raising eggs and chickens is a metaphor for everything we did at ABAC all year long- from process mapping everything we do, investing in and developing the new learning management system, sponsoring the CEs for LaMiss ACBS conference, going live with our first courses, and so much more.

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Email me! adrienne@abacnj.com

The Titles and Summaries of Adrienne’s 2019 Unwritten Posts 

 For (Secretly?) Unhappy Professionals

Title 1: Making the best decisions for our clients shouldn’t be about “covering thy arse.”

Summary: As behavioral health and mental health professionals, we have one true calling- to implement the interventions that will allow our clients to live the most enriched, independent lives they can. To do that, we need to spend more time collaborating with clients, families, & intra- and inter disciplinary professionals. When our motivation to perform our job functions is to avoid putative action vs increasing opportunities, independence, and the overall quality of life for the populations we serve, something is broken.

Find a space, a place, and a support network that allows you to get up and go to work each day where you can make a positive difference.

Easier said than done? Possibly. Is it worth more short-term chaos to avoid working long-term in a system that crushes you? Absolutely.

Title 2: Admitting “It’s too much” automatically clears your calendar

Summary: This one is the most recent title I wanted to write. While I jokingly refer to all of the wonderful new things we accomplished at ABAC in 2019 as the baby chickens, the truth is, it would have been easier to raise 20 chickens than accomplish everything we did this year.

Accomplish we did, fail I did.

I invested everything I had this year in networking, website design, learning management system development, video editing, process mapping, scheduling, training, conference assisting, learning and making mistakes…all for ABAC. The ABAC Team, with the help of the development team that built the new learning management system, took everything I (systematically) threw at them and accomplished it ALL.

On the other hand, me Adrienne Fitzer, the business owner, graduate student, and primary care giver, devoted 100% of my energy to the business, another 100% to my family and 100% to grad school. If you notice, the numbers are off. See you only get 100% energy.

So running on fumes I tried to give all to all and managed to give less to all. So ultimately I failed. It looks like I succeeded. But I didn’t.

Until December 2019 when I said

“IT”S TOO MUCH!!” “I CAN’T DO IT ALL!”

I told the people that I needed to and guess what? They understood.

My calendar is more open because now everyone knows I can’t triple book my energy. Maybe they all knew it and I finally figured it out. In any event, things may not happen in the time frame I want them to but at least now I feel comfortable saying that it is okay for me to delay some things for the good of other things (like my energy bar).

For professionals 

Title 1: The ethical action of working with others

Summary: Working with others outside of your field is ethical, not because your code may say so but because ultimately it will benefit your client.

This post was inspired by a friend who has a child with special needs and her struggle getting one set of professionals to agree to work with another set. The people that said no were from my tribe- the behavior analysts. The people that asked for collaboration- SLPs who WANTED to learn how to implement the techniques that were working to improve the learners rate of acquisition. As a friend I could do nothing but say “That isn’t how it should be, let me give you a list of folks who I know will collaborate.”

Title 2: Posting pictures of your clients on your website, social media, and marketing materials- The loopholes used and why they are still a problem.

This is a continuation of a previous series of posts on ethical online behavior. I have noticed a few trends in client posting since I last published on this topic in 2017. First, if you are a school there seems to be a general acceptance that posting pictures of learners and their accomplishments is okay on social media. Second, there is also the generally accepted “picture of the cute child” and accompanying plea to raise money for programs that support children. These may be unpaid for posts on social media or print appeals paid for and distributed by either the parent or an organization. If I had the time to write this post in full, I would break down the pros and cons of both of these types of photo and video shares leaving it up to the clinician to decide how they choose to act. My recommendation, as always would be, don’t do it. Find other ways.

Omitting photos and videos of clients does not mean you are heartless it means you are thinking long term about the rights of the person in the photo or video.

Title 3: Do not ignore autistics and their advocates. 

Summary: Take your personal feelings, affront, and emotions out of the equation. Listen. Seek to understand. You will be surprised what you learn.

For Business Owners

Title 1: Evolve

Summary- The one word title is the same as the major lesson learned during ABAC’s 5th year- evolve. 2019 was a master class in managing risk while evolving. I don’t know any business that does feel the pain of scaling, but there are ways to minimize that pain. This post would have been about my “secret” to minimize the impact of the scale on your team.

“Find out what is working for your team and what is not. Figure out why. Fix it. Repeat often.”

Not really a secret…and not really mine. There are lots of people who contributed to that. I look forward to telling you more about them soon…

Writing this has made me want to write again. On the other hand I have a dissertation to finish. On the other hand, I love publishing great content. Ahh the conflict!