The Connecticut Department of Developmental Services released the first in a series of videos it hopes will open minds about what resources are available to people with intellectual disabilities.
The videos – six more are scheduled for release every week going forward- are meant to highlight technology and other supports that are available to DDS-eligible people through its STEP (Supporting Transformation to Empower Power) initiative.
The initiative is to help people gain more independence and social integration. Based on a person’s needs and how he or she proceeds, the individual may eventually be able to live on his own.
The first video, is titled ‘Individualized Home Supports,” and follows a man, Jared, and his parents Don and Fran, as they discuss the positive impact of having a staff person provide support in the home, at work or in the community.
“It was an uplift of his spirit, just his attitude and that was huge,” Don says in the video. Mom Fran added that Jared was learning new skills – even getting to go wall climbing – and enjoyed the arrangement.
DDS Commissioner Jordan Scheff said there is a waitlist – he estimated there are 650 people on there – for folks wanting to get into group homes.
The videos will give people and their families an idea of what other services are available that may work out even better than the group home setting, Scheff said, while still providing the needed support to folks in group homes and other communal settings.
“I think a lot of people, individuals, their families, providers and advocates, have a hard time imagining themselves of their loved ones in some of these more progressive-type settings,” Scheff said. “We’ve been trying to lead people towards these other supports, that are less restrictive and more empowering and, in almost every case, have better outcomes.”
Sheff said he was happy with the quality of the videos, and so far, at least internally, they have been received well.
Among the other topics the videos will cover:
- Individualized Home Supports (IHS)
- Community Companion Homes (CCH)
- Supportive Housing
- Assistive Technology
- Remote Supports
The videos will be released through the DDS STEP website and through DDS’ social media platforms.
Jared’s video ends on an endearing note, and Scheff – while he doesn’t “want to let the cat out of the bag” – teases many of the other stories do too.
STEP started in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, while federal funds were made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The version of the video with Spanish captions can be seen here: https://youtu.be/RcxWZxXJ7Hw
To learn more about STEP visit www.ct.gov/STEP