Typical Life Corporation Program Specialist for the Day Program Christianna Rudy had to unleash her creativity to help her clients connect.
TLC Program Specialist Christianna Rudy spends her days behind the scenes at the TLC Day Program. She helps read individualized plans and coordinates activities that fit–music classes, shopping outings, fashion shows…
“I find that our management is super great with creativity,” she says. “When you come up with ideas, they encourage them as long as it’s helping our individuals.”
Christianna first started at TLC as a Direct Support Professional (DSP), working one-on-one with an individual with autism. Before coming to TLC, she had been a job coach for high school students with disabilities and loved using creativity to help improve the lives of an often overlooked and underestimated population.
“It was so rewarding to see how our individuals were so proud of themselves for the growth they were able to make,” she says. “A lot of people still have a hard time seeing past the disability, seeing our people as whole people.”
While she loved her role as a DSP, Christianna was looking for something more.
With her bachelor’s degree in social work, Christianna, felt she wasn’t utilizing the organizational skills she has honed over the years. After a brief hiatus, Christianna returned to TLC in November 2021 as a Program Specialist, eager to put her skills and experience to work.
“I knew that there was room for me to grow and use my abilities as a Program Specialist,” she says.
Through working with TLC, both as a DSP and as a Program Specialist, Christianna has seen her confidence grow through her interactions with program attendees. One of her DSP individuals was non-verbal but when she sang to him, his eyes would light up.
“I didn’t like singing in front of people before,” she says, “but for him I’d sing all day. You knew you were speaking his language.”
She also learned to incorporate humor into what could be challenging situations. Music and humor often bridge a gap with TLC individuals when the language barrier seems insurmountable.
“They taught me the importance of being silly,” she says. “You can use your humor and it’s such a great skill to build a relationship, to build a rapport with our folks.”
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