Supports for Community LivingWhy This Is Important
This department features what might be considered best practices in supporting individuals where they live -- that is, innovative and creative supports to assist individuals to have a full community life.
Of course, our understanding of what is possible for people in community life keeps expanding as the quality of supports continually improves. What we hope to focus on here and share with one another are those many creative and innovative practices which are being refined every day to significantly impact the quality of people's lives.
Our understanding of where people with intellectual/developmental disabilities should live has evolved significantly in the last ten-twenty years. At one time group homes were considered the best place for people, but many forces have challenged that notion. As John O'Brien has noted, many people with disabilities live in places where they go "down stairs that are never your own." Person-centered planning has assisted us to consider, if someone lived in their own place, the place that was really their own home, what would that be like? How would they get support there? Whether that is a home they own, rent, or lease, it is still theirs.
The agencies which are featured here are featured only because of the innovative practices which they have undertaken. Some are agencies which once owned group homes and have converted from the "bottom up" -- looking at each individual and their preferences and re-designing from there. Some are agencies which were started with that premise, while others which began with individualized supports. Included are agencies which are considered models by others, including those which have won awards such as AAIDD's "Full Community Inclusion" award.
The products and services identified here, as well as the organizations referenced, all have much to teach us about changing, growing, and focusing on the strengths, desires and needs of persons served. Every creative solution to a particular unique need will suggest greater innovation to others visiting this area. The products, services and organizations referenced today will look quite different in the months and years to come. BE SURE AND STAY TUNED!