The ADT Facility-based Program provides meaningful daytime activities that focus on self-determination and lead to community inclusion, with sheltered activities as stepping stones to the community.
ADT provides daily living skills, pre-vocational and vocational training, and opportunities to access and interact with community resources. Transportation and two meals are provided daily. The agency’s continuum of care starts with entry into ADT and culminates in an individual achieving the goals he or she chooses and is able to accomplish along the continuum. The service continuum is ADT to Community Inclusion to Supported Employment and Supported Living.
ADT provides the foundation for the individual to develop life and social skills essential to community interaction and achievement of maximum independence in their personal lives, home, work, and community. If the individual is able and desires accelerated progression, entry to any part of the continuum is possible.
Commencing in December of 2007, The Arc has developed and implemented the Employment Simulation Program. The Employment Simulation Program is open and available to all individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in western Palm Beach County. The Program identifies opportunities for individuals who have established employment as a desired outcome to serve at community not-for-profit organizations in small groups. The benefits are multifold. The individual develops the skills needed to acquire and maintain employment in a functional work environment (skill sets may include accepting supervision, timely reporting and attendance, adhering to health and safety requirements in the workplace, maintenance to task, etc.). Additionally, the individual develops a relationship with the host agency that translates into a prior work history reference on a resume’, something otherwise unavailable to these individuals. For the host agency, the access to volunteers and supervisory assistance is greatly desired in this agri-rural and very poor community, particularly in this period of economic hardship. With approximately 70% of the population at 150% of poverty or less, there are a disproportionate number of charitable social service organizations attempting to meet the needs of the community with very limited resources. These organizations benefit from the services of the program participants, as does the larger community by their assisting these agencies to meet their missions.
Census data shows approximately 30,000 residents in The Glades, the service area of The Arc. The prevalence of Intellectual Disability for a population of this size, according to The Arc of the United States is about 3%, or 900 individuals. Of those, 20% are of school age and receive services per P.L. 99-457, parts B & C, leaving 720. Roughly half of the affected population will be high functioning enough or have adequate natural supports to not require services, reducing the target service population to about 360 individuals. Currently The Arc serves less than 100, and there are no other provider agencies with these services in the area. Development of programs like the Employment Simulation Program is necessary to identify and expose these individuals to greater opportunities in the community at large.
The Arc’s Supported Employment Program is a natural progression from the Facility-based Program that utilizes the prevocational and vocational training the individual has acquired. The Coach and candidate identify appropriate and appealing employment opportunities, complete the application and interview process, and assure the employer that The Arc’s staff will supplement the productivity of the individual while in the training phase. The Arc guarantees the employer a full day’s productivity as the client learns the job, thus leveling the playing field and improving the likelihood of success.
As the new employee develops the skills specific to the job, the Coach is able to progressively withdraw until contact is limited to problem intervention, additional training for promotion, and regular follow-along visits for maintenance and support.
Data from The Arc of the United States reveals better attendance, greater job satisfaction, and longer tenure among individuals employed who have developmental disabilities when compared to the non-disabled population.
The Supported Employment Program helps the individual identify the job, secure the job, and succeed in the job. With nearly two decades of experience, the employers in the Glades have developed a trust in The Arc of the Glades and a personal knowledge of the benefits of employing individuals through the Supported Employment Program.
Supported Living is the culmination of the continuum. As developmental milestones are “delayed” in these individuals, so too are the social “rites of passage”, like a home of one’s own, a job, a family, etc.
The Supported Living Program assists the individual in realizing the independence of a personal residence while providing the needed supports as the individual learns to be a self-sustaining and responsible member of the community.
Individual skill limitations and weaknesses vary according to the experience and capabilities of the individual. By using a “Coach” model, the individual’s weaknesses are identified and supported until the skill-sets needed are acquired. The Arc and its Supported Living staff make a 24/7/365 commitment to the health, safety, and security of individuals in the Supported Living program, available any day, any time to help resolve a perceived crisis.
Equally important, The Arc makes that assurance to the stakeholders who value that individual. An aging parent or caregiver concerned about the well-being of that person in future years develops confidence in The Arc and its commitment to provide needed support, gives them comfort and reassurance as they become progressively less able to provide natural supports.
Supported Living is also a “Coach”-based implementation model available to adults with cognitive or other developmental disabilities who reside in western Palm Beach County and desire independent living. The Coach assists those individuals who are not entirely competent in the requisite skills (e.g. finding suitable and affordable housing, household budgeting, shopping, cooking, cleaning, banking, etc.) and is on-call twenty-four hours a day by telephone, mobile phone, and staff back-up.
Community Inclusion provides supervised small-group activities. This includes learning to access public transportation, shopping and money management, appropriate public behavior, attire, language… all leading to appropriate social, cultural, and employment skill-sets needed for independent community living.
Community Inclusion is a “Coach”-based service model. It provides experiential opportunities for participants to develop competencies needed for independent living and community employment, skills considered routine in the non-disabled population. A component of Community Inclusion also provides an employment simulation experience through volunteerism (see below).
The Arc has developed relationships with area not-for-profit organizations (public libraries, daycare centers, senior centers, AIDS organizations, food banks, and community meal sites) and program participants choose at which host site to volunteer. This activity promotes community participation, assists the host agency in fulfilling its mission, provides the individual with work tasks in a community setting under host agency supervision (with staff from The Arc present and available), and generates reference material useful to the participant when applying for gainful employment.