I have worked with many adults and teenagers with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). I provided services in classroom settings, group homes, and in-home respite—all of which were provided in short session times.
Now I provide full-time services under the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver (HCS).
I work with a young man named Julio. The beauty of the situation with Julio is that, with HCS funding, I am working with him all day, every weekday. This allows him so many more possibilities. We can do more things over a longer span of time instead of trying to work too hard, too fast.
We begin our day as most folks do. We talk about our respective previous evening. What did we do, who did we see, and where did we go? This helps him to learn and use social skills. It works toward meeting his social skill goals right from the beginning of the day.
Julio is homeschooled. Later in the morning, he does journal writing. He also learns vocabulary words and uses them in sentences. Math and history are his other subjects.
To do some fun activities in the afternoon, he knows he must first do his daily jobs. These include doing his laundry, vacuuming, and dishes. These tasks are important. They teach him independence and to be a contributing member of his family.
He is learning social skills outside of the home also. He orders his own food at restaurants and explains to a barber what he wants in a haircut. He pays for the things he buys and even includes a proper tip. He is often meeting goals without even knowing it.
Other important skills are learned by playing some of his favorite games, like scrabble. It teaches him new words and strategies. Lately, one of his favorite activities is playing pool. Not only is it fun, it’s a great way to learn physics and geometry.
Without HCS funding, we’d have to try to get more tasks done in a shorter time. Having these hours allows time for Julio to relax and calm down when things get stressful. It allows him time to learn.
Put simply, this teenager has become a better man because of HCS funding.
Here is more information on the HCS waiver.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills go beyond academics. Everyday life provides opportunities to apply these skills. During my son’s educational career, a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills was often noted in his Individualized Education Plan paperwork. While he may struggle with these skills academically, he solves problems all the time in his daily life.