How long have you been a social worker?
Please list any degrees, licenses, etc.
I have a Bachelors and a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
Why/How did you get into social work?
I was motivated by my son who was born in 1988. After his birth, we discovered that he had many developmental delays. Shortly after his birth, the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) was available to families with children with disabilities under 3 years of age. From there, we got involved with The ARC of Arizona and Pilot Parents of Arizona (now Raising Special Kids). Involvement with these agencies helped us see that the resources my child needed were very much dependent upon our advocacy and knowledge of AzEIP, DDD and legislative processes. Engaging in advocacy (both on the State and National level) became an important part in representing my child’s needs.
What motivates you to do social work?
I feel it is important to assist people with a developmental disability to be a part of their community. Helping or assisting a person to develop self-advocacy is an important skill for anyone seeking to be involved in their community. It gives me satisfaction when a person with a developmental disability stands in front of an Arizona House or Senate committee to tell their story.
What advice would you give someone considering social work?
Take care of yourself first and do something you enjoy frequently. It is important to keep yourself mentally refreshed and sharp. This will assist you when working with families and/or members that need you to find services or provide a resource to meet their needs. It is very easy to see your members in your case load as another task or a hurry up and get it done to meet the timelines.
March is National Social work Month and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The intersection of social work and the needs of a community are demonstrated perfectly by the work performed by employees of the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). The services and supports DDD provides to members tap into the potential of each individual member and empowers them to lead self-directed, health and meaningful lives. We are grateful for the passion and dedication exhibited by our social workers.
By Lyn Riley