LATHAM PROFILES: Jayne Billings

August 10, 2015

jaynebillings11Latham Profiles:
Jayne Billings
Residential Counselor
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Mostly, I enjoy working with the individuals.  They’ve taught me as much about life as I hope I have taught them. They are the reason I entered the field.   Secondly, I enjoy working with the staff.  I’ve made some extraordinary life-long friendships here.  I feel we have retained some great staff who stay, not because they don’t have somewhere better to go, but because they genuinely enjoy their job.
Describe a few of your responsibilities and how you spend much of your time.
I spend most of my time on Facebook (only kidding).  The majority of my time is actually spent on meal prep and cooking.  The remainder of the time is client-centered; taking them shopping, taking them to appointments, helping them sort out any personal or interpersonal issues that may be troubling them, taking them to activities, and assisting them in becoming more confident and independent.
What skills are most important for professionals who work with individuals with PWS or other complex special needs?
The ability to make the individuals feel accepted as they are, and to create an atmosphere of trust.  I’ve seen the strength of trusting interpersonal relationships between staff and individuals create more successes than many behavior plans. And the ability to set clear, firm boundaries.
What are the most important lessons you attempt to teach new staff?
To take some time to get to know the individuals we serve, first. I’ve seen too many new hires, straight out of orientation, jump into a situation without accounting for the diversity of responses that inevitably occur. And in many instances, it’s done more harm than good.  Respect their differences
What do you love about working with individuals with PWS or other complex special needs?
This is difficult to answer because of the many things I love about working with this population, but I especially love seeing them make progress, however minimal it may be.
Has this job taught you anything about yourself?
Yes, many times over. I’ve always felt that I’ve learned as much from them as they hopefully have from me.  
How do you spend your time when you’re not working at Latham?
I’m a playwright and published writer. So, when I’m not working, I’m writing or attending other’s plays.
What advice would you give to someone contemplating a career at Latham Centers?
Begin as a substitute and work with as many individuals you can, in as many residences as you can.  Only then will you know if working here is a good fit for your skill set and your personality.  And take some psychology or Human Services courses.
*We are on the lookout for motivated and compassionate individuals who want to make a positive impact in the lives of others while working with a dedicated team of professionals. Check out our latest job openings HERE.

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