Below are just a few of stories of how we’ve helped clients create bright futures, enrich their lives and deal with challenges.
When I first met Matt, he was very anxious and shy. He wasn’t sure what type of services were of interest to him. When I used to visit him and we would discuss different service options, he would need to excuse himself due to his anxiety. We finally decided on community-based supports, giving him an opportunity to have one-on-one support when needed. At first, the service seemed to be going smooth, but after a few months, Matt and the provider just didn’t seem to be a good fit. We then decided on behavioral supports and again the service started off great and then Matt did not feel comfortable with the provider.
I then spoke to his mom and we put our heads together and decided Matt would benefit best with life skills coaching. It has been a little over a year and Matt is thriving. He has a life skills coach through A+ Tutoring. When I visit Matt now, he is a different person. He is light, enthusiastic and engaging. His positive attitude toward his future makes his family so proud. He is working towards community employment through his local firehouse. This is huge for Matt, as he found it difficult to commit in the past. He has taken the training and recently passed his Fire Police course. I am so grateful for the services A+ provides where Matt learns about self-esteem, effective communication, etiquette, respect and self-advocacy, appropriate behaviors, stress management, boundaries, independence, interpersonal relationships, social media appropriateness and dangers, and self-sufficiency. This has allowed Matt to be more comfortable and confident with himself and he is becoming more independent and involved in his community.
As Matt’s support coordinator, I am so proud of him and look forward each month to hearing about his progress. Support coordination is about getting to know our individuals and fine-tuning a service plan that gives them the tools they need to be the best they can be with the brightest future. – Ellen Cohen, Support Coordinator
Mike is in the Supports Program and lives at home with his single mother. Mike suffers from frequent, debilitating grand mal seizures so his mom is hesitant to have him attend a day program. With my support, Mike has been able to access services he and his family never thought possible through his DDD budget. Wanting to keep him active and in shape, the team decided to reach out to a local MMA studio to see if they would take Mike as a member. I was able to work with the head of the studio, who had no prior experience working with someone with DDD services and get them set up to be paid directly out of his budget so that his mom didn’t have to pay for it. Mike has since been enjoying his MMA classes after being medically cleared.
He is also enjoying weekly music therapy classes (with door-to-door transportation included), thanks to his DDD supports budget. The biggest achievement with Mike, however, will be coming in the spring semester of 2019. I helped he and his mother go through the application process at Bloomfield College as a non-matriculated student. Attending a big college is something his mother never thought possible. I accompanied and helped Mike and his mom navigate through the campus tour to find out any information needed to get him enrolled in a class of his choice with the proper classroom setting supports needed. Michael is now in the midst of completing his very first college application and I will request the class be paid for through his DDD supports budget. Mike and mom couldn’t be happier! – Barbara Pierson, Support Coordinator
I assisted Cati and her family in finding a provider for supported employment and community-based supports. I also worked with her family to get extracurricular activities covered under her plan such as horseback riding and a week at Camp Warren. We have also just recently added a YMCA membership to her plan so that she can enjoy swimming and maintain her fitness as well as increase her socialization with peers.
Cati is a well-rounded person and enjoys many activities and her plan has been developed to fit her lifestyle. She has tremendous support from her family and our agency is right there alongside them to assist them in making sure she continues to thrive.
– Heidi Mavrakes, LSW, Support Coordinator
Bethany has accomplished a lot this year. When I first met Bethany, she was living with her parents and not working. I made a referral to the Division of Vocational Rehab and she has found a job she likes. She got a part-time job working as an assistant on the bus with children and with infants in a child care program.
Bethany is now receiving supported employment services and is doing well. Bethany and I worked on getting her a housing voucher and she now has her own apartment. She became engaged and is living with her fiancé. I am so proud of her. She has the awesome support of her parents and is doing great. I had to tell her father that Bethany is very lucky to have such great parents.
– Lorrett Waiters, Support Coordinator
Ian was working for a while, but when his place of employment closed, I sat with Ian and his mom to go over what his goals are and building long-lasting skills to find a more rewarding employment experience. Ian has some communication difficulties; however, when he sings, he does not have these difficulties. I found a place where Ian could have singing lessons which helped him learn how to breathe in between words and pace himself. This has led to improved communication which allows him to be more confident.
In addition, tutoring services were also added. The skills he is learning with both of these services have changed his life, allowing him to be the person he has always wanted to be. We will soon be adding swimming lessons to his daily routine and the goal is not only to be a better swimmer but to learn how to follow directions in a structured environment. It has been a joy finding and coordinating services for Ian and seeing the happiness in his success. – Jaclyn Saldivia, Support Coordinator
Tony lives with his elderly mother. She had difficulty accepting help from others while having a concern that Tony be well cared for when she is no longer able to care for him. It was difficult to get her to accept help, but when she was admitted into the hospital, we needed to get help right away. Thankfully, we were able to contact an agency to set up community-based support services immediately. We have strong relationships with agencies and found one to step in within a few hours. My supervisor went to the home as I was away. She ordered Tony dinner and waited until an individual from the hired agency was able to get there. We have a very close relationship with both his mother and Tony. Tony calls me regularly to talk about the latest sports games, etc.
We are now in the process of getting Tony moved into a group home. It has taken trust and respect to get his mom to get to this level of accepting the help she needs. We recognized the danger of having to act last minute and assured Tony’s mom that it was better to get this move situated before an emergency arises. We contacted DDD for emergency placement, he was approved and is now having his mother join in on the visits to the group homes so that she is confident in the home where Tony will soon live.
– Jaclyn Saldivia, Support Coordinator
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Hellen Keller
At Spectrum CMC, we pride ourselves in the team approach. When emergencies arise, we want to make sure you have our contact information and know you can count on us to assist. Last fall, we received a phone call from a local police department sharing with us that they had one of our individuals with them. Sadly, the individual witnessed his mother get hit by a car. When police arrived, the individual could not communicate what had happened but he handed a business card to the police officer. That business card was mine and that small gesture facilitated a phone call for us to step into action.
Within an hour, we were able to have the individual picked up, brought home to gather some personal belongings, and took him to a residential setting to spend the night. We worked tirelessly to have this individual emergency certified for the Community Care Program and be able to reside in a wonderful group home. Our agency worked closely with the local police department to notify the extended family of this tragic event and later be able to sit down with a team of professionals to explain the passing of his mother to this individual. We, of course, do not like when tragic or emergency situations occur; however, you can count on us to help you during those difficult times. – Laura Junta, Support Coordination Supervisor