Department for Persons with Disabilities
A Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson
Providing Help...Creating Hope
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Specialty Groups

Specialty Groups are designed to enhance and broaden the scope of each participant’s daily life.  These areas will address the individual and personal interests and needs to assist each person in discovering who they are and who they might want to be. Participants in each group will vary based on personal choice and will be rotated accordingly. Groups include:

Leisure/Social Group: Activities are chosen by group members.  Activities may range from board games or crafts, to something more physical such as indoor  basketball, air hockey or light exercise with a video.

Communication Group:  This area provides structured and unstructured opportunities to develop skills in communication.  Both receptive and expressive methods are explored and incorporated into the activities.

Current Events: This area provides opportunities to discuss local, national and world events.  Discussions include an overview of the daily news and recent current events through the use of local newspapers and TV.  Through this discussion, participants will be exposed to different happenings in the world around them to broaden their perspective of who they are and how they relate to the community.

Book Club: An exploration into the world of books where travel to different places will be right at one’s fingertips. This is a person centered area focusing on choices and sparking different interests.   Community trips to the library as well as to local book stores will be included.

Art: Demonstration of artistic techniques as well as developing styles of painting, drawing, learning the color wheel and discussions about famous artists.   Clients have the opportunity to draw or paint at an easel.

Anxiety/Relaxation and Stress Management: This group meets weekly to teach participants about the medical, nutritional and psychological aspects of anxiety.  It provides a supportive environment to share experiences with anxiety and to learn and practice coping strategies for managing anxiety and stress.

Community Health & Safety: This area addresses simple First Aid and Safety in the home or work setting as well as the community.  The participants  learn safety procedures, protecting self from the elements, community safety, simple First Aid such as applying band aids and sunscreen, what to do for a minor burn, community safety, etc.  Discussion also takes place on emergency procedures including fire drills and   evacuation plans.  This is done through discussion, role modeling, slide shows, and videos as well as on-site training by staff.

Cooking: Participants are trained in all aspects of food preparation, while learning about nutrition and healthy eating.  Dining room practices of filling condiments, folding  napkins, clearing and wiping tables are also taught for possible future employment.  Role playing on ordering from a menu is also incorporated into the activities.  Safety issues are continuously incorporated into the session.

Scrapbooking:  This group was developed due to expressed client interest.  Group members take pictures, bring in pictures from home & participate in scrapbooking.  This  involves many different skills including decision  making, eye hand coordination with cutting & pasting, and discussion and interacting with coworkers.

Fix It Group:  This group is for clients who like to help out with the chores that involve a hammer and screwdriver. The participants move around the areas spotting things that need to be fixed such as seating, railings that may be loose as well as looking at things that may not be working right and trying to solve the problem.

Performing Arts:  Singing, dancing, acting and the use of instruments are just some of the elements.  Individuals learn to follow directions, cooperate with others and improve their self-esteem through their participation in a variety show/play.  This production is held in public twice a year.  Everyone who attends the Center is given the opportunity to perform.

Wii Dance and Sports:  A group focusing on learning to utilize the popular Wii console video game.  This group promotes opportunities for movement and developing team work and communication skills in a fun, relaxed environment.

Craft Group: This is a group designed to develop the creativity of individuals     interested in the arts; some of whom have an interest and others who might need to broaden skills such as staying on task, following simple direction and social interaction.

Computer Training: This is designed to work with people individually who have an interest with computers.  They are trained on how to use email as well as researching areas of interest, learning to print and use the mouse & keyboard.

Gentlemen’s Group: This group is run by a male and touches on areas of hygiene, manners, sports, and topics of interest. The Wii, newspapers, magazines and hygiene accessories will be incorporated as well as role play and demonstration.

Basic Concepts:  Two staff work with eight individuals who have been identified as needing a highly structured and well-supervised environment.  These individuals need staff assistance in using the rest rooms, eating, and community awareness.  Activities in this area focus on work skills, eating skills, personal hygiene and bathroom use.  Activities include planting and caring for indoor plants which are sold at our Ceramic sales, flower pot painting, small crafts, games and puzzles for eye/hand coordination, paper bag decorating and training with some light contract work.  This group also goes out into the community about two times per month to visit various parks, stores and other sites in the community, weather permitting.