I'm wondering about your assistants! How do you find them? Do you have any kind of interview process? Do you always use the same person, for like months at a time, or do you switch them around regularly? Is it something that they have to get along with you really well to do, or is it just kind of like "meh, whatever"? How do you find your aides and how many do you have? Are they more likely to be one gender or another? (presuming the gender binary here) thinking about becoming an aide. I know you hire outside of agencies- where did I read that. On your ning site? I forget. But what are some agencies that you know of? Or where else should I look?
I find aides through Craigslist whenever I need more. I write up an ad that describes who I am and who I"m looking for. I don't say that people have to have experience with disabled people, because I can train them. I ask people to tell me about themselves and to send me a resume. I create a special email for ads because lots of creepy people answer. So I read through the responses and the ones who sounds kinda cool I send them 10 question questionnaire. This includes stuff like "do you have back problems because you have to lift me," to a general question like "tell me about yourself." If they respond and I like what they say I ask them to come for an interview. This first interview is basically to answer any question they have and I sit back and observe to see if they only talk to the person who is assisting me and not me, make eye contact with me or hug me (yes that happens). After the first interview I ask everyone to think about it and if they want to come back for a second interview to email me. The second interview consists of 1 hour in my room with no aide to read my board - they have to do it, just chatting. If we mainly stare at each other it's not going to work. On the other hand, if we have a lot to talk about, chances are it's a good match. For my full time aides I ask for a year commitment. For my part time aides I feel because it is part time I can't ask for a commitment, but once people start working they usually stick around. I don't have to have everything in common with them, in fact no two aides have been alike. I currently have 4 aides and right now they all happen to be female but my aide 2 years ago was a fabulous guy! I think people who want to be aides should look on craigslist. Many people with disabilities use craigslist to find aides.