Getting Ready to Help

What is the purpose of helping? Why have I become involved in a helping profession? How can my interactions get me in a better position to help? Are there ways of interacting that can improve the quality of our lives?

Direct support staff who serve individuals with a wide range of disabilities — including developmental, psychiatric, and traumatic brain injuries — will explore these and many other questions in this practical, provocative, and inspirational handbook. This concise guide is written by a veteran of the direct support field, who draws on more than 30 years of service in diverse settings to shed light on what works and doesn’t work. Readers will get straightforward, real-world advice on key issues like:

  • recognizing and avoiding potentially harmful interactional styles
  • developing a deeper understanding of behavior
  • forming relationships that benefit both the helper and the person being helped
  • promoting autonomy and independence in individuals
  • creating personal intervention plans
  • using positive reinforcement to increase desired behavior
  • finding joy in the experience of helping others

Sensitively written and enriched with stories from the author’s personal experience, this easy-to-read book is ideal for staff training seminars, new employees, or seasoned professionals seeking a fresh perspective on helping.

Go to Brookes Publishing to purchase the book.

Marty McMorrow’s new book will be helpful for clinical staff, managers and direct support professionals. He provides remarkable insight into communication, behavior and human interaction. This is a critical staff development tool.

Cathy Ficker-Terrill

President, Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities

McMorrow’s Getting Ready to Help is much more than a primer. It is a philosophy and approach to helping people, regardless of their disabling conditions or the accompanying behaviors, with dignity and respect. Better yet, when helpers use this approach, it really works.

Kate Fralish

Ph.D., Center for Comprehensive Services, Inc.

In my 32 years of Human Service work, this is the best book I have read that speaks directly to any worker with front line responsibility in supporting people with disabilities…. Taking focused theory, McMorrow has woven personal experiences into simple strategies for successful intervention. This is must reading for new employees or ancillary staff who relate to people with disabilities.

Al Condeluci

Ph.D., CEO, UCP of Pittsburgh

The Helping Exchange

This behaviorally-oriented rehabilitation manual provides a down-to-earth, easy to implement model that is designed to teach, strengthen, and evaluate desired skills in human service interactions.


Use of the 5-component PEARL interactional model can provide the foundation for everything else we do in the name of helping others.  The PEARL is now being used to guide interactions in rehabilitation programs, community-based support settings, and family homes across the country.  This no-nonsense approach sets the bar with respect to identifying desired interactional skills, creating clear expectations around their use, and evaluating whether or not caregivers are practicing what they preach.

The Helping Exchange is based on the following principles…

Positive- defines and invites positive interactions.

Early- stresses importance of interacting early by providing help or problem solving and not waiting until a risky situation develops.

All- shows how to use all components with all people in all settings all of the time.

Reinforce- shows how to interact in ways that acknowledge more independent behavior and encourage future use of the behavior.

Look- identifies opportunities to teach and encourages greater participation in the community.

Examples illustrate how to apply the P.E.A.R.L. to clients with behavioral, emotional and cognitive disorders. A score sheet provides a rating scale to observe interactions and rate performance.

Go to LA Publishing to purchase the book.