4th Tuesday Forum on Innovative Options Residential Transformation February 28 2023

4th Tuesday Forum on Innovative Options   Residential Transformation February 28 2023

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We'll get started. Welcome, everyone. It's a snowy Tuesday afternoon in Connecticut, and I'm thrilled to have so many people join us today. I'm Elisa Belardo, deputy commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services. And I just want to share a little bit about the 4th Tuesday forums. Before I introduce our presenters, since July of 2022, we've hosted these monthly forums on the 4th Tuesday of every month and we feature a presenters who speak about services and support options that have worked for them personally or that may expand upon the services that traditionally have been available.

And this month we're going to talk about a few different options that have helped people around the state. Live successfully in their communities. I want to let you know that today's session will be recorded and that's so that people who are not able to join us this afternoon will be able to view the forum at a later date. If you're interested in any of the previous forums, you would go to the DDS website and you'll see at the bottom of the list on the home page, 4th Tuesday forums. You'll see all of the forms for 2023 listed, and then you'll see a link to all of the forums that took place in 2022.

So today our topic is residential transformation. Why are we talking about residential transformation? Some of you may have participated in forums that Commissioner, chief and I held throughout the month of January and into February. Our goal was to kick off 2023 talking about some exciting initiatives, some of which I hope you're already aware of and some that may be new to you and that maybe you'll hear a little bit more about today.

As you may have heard, the state has received federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, also known as ARPA, for Medicaid, Home and Community based services. The funding that we received must be invested in enhancing, expanding and strengthening Community based Medicaid supports and services, and it's available through March of 2025. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the DNS system and expand the range of options and services that are offered.

The resources we have available to think creatively about more integrated and individualized services are unmatched. Overall, the ARPA initiatives are about maximizing independence, integration and individualization. To be sure that individuals we support have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Determining how they live their own lives within their communities. So I'm so excited about today's speakers, but before I introduce them, I just want to give you some specific information about some of the current opportunities that are being offered in Connecticut by DDS at this time. Through these are initiatives. The first is strengthening the provider network. For those of you who are. Part of the private provider community or supported by the private provider community funds have been given to our provider network to strengthen.

Their services address staffing issues that we know have had such a big effect on our system capacity and invest in technology and infrastructure within provider organizations. So our goal is to strengthen our provider network build capacity so that our providers are in a position to support some of these new options. For those of you who self direct, ARPA funds have been focused on enhancing self direction by creating a new and improved employment platform. That'll be rolled out within the month of March and we'll talk more about it and the March forum. It's called rewardingwork.com and it's designed and has a new new features to help those who self direct be able to hire staff.

We're also focused on improving the role and responsibility of. The the fiscal intermediary. We currently if you go to the DDS website again on the home page, if you Scroll down you see latest news. You'll see a variety of opportunities for funding for a variety of of different initiatives. One is to expand supportive housing through the expansion of non project based supportive housing or also known as a scattered site.

Um, we know that supportive housing has been really exciting to people in Connecticut. We have built quite a bit of momentum. We've had several low income tax credit, supportive housing developments.

Up and running now we have many more in the pipeline, but because it's such an A desirable option for people, we're expanding supportive housing to be possible in existing developments and so that opportunity is available right now. Um, you have probably heard a little bit about our system transformation. The moving on initiative. Moving on, really connects with our topic today.

It's part of a once in a generation opportunity for DDS providers, partners and our workforce to make improvements throughout our system. These improvements will allow us to transform our service system so that individuals we support can wear appropriate, live independently and become fuller participants in their community. And we've been working with the moving on initiative since last summer with individuals, families, providers, consultants, DDS staff. A large team has been focused on this initiative. We've been seeking stakeholder input to move this plan forward in a thoughtful, careful way and we're really we're seeing some momentum. I'm excited to announce that in the months ahead, the work that we've done on the ARPA moving on initiative will be transitioning into a new phase.

There's more information that will be coming out on this soon. Well, the moving on initiative has been a catalyst for change. What we've been designing is the long term plan for supports and services even after the ARPA period is ended.

Uh, we're now integrating the work done through the moving on initiative into the fabric of our our service system and the long term result of this work we're calling step. Step stands for supporting transformation to empower people. We think that this name reflects our mission, values and goals. Staff offers support services technology so that individuals can have more choices in their life within their work, within their roles and community and their communities. While still having the needed supports, the program will help individuals to live, learn, and work with greater freedom.

A newsletter uh will be going out within the next week or two that will provide more information about this next step. And then the last initiative that I want to talk about is assistive technology. This is a topic that we've talked about a lot in these forums. Tomorrow, March 1st is national Assistive Technology Awareness Day. We are going to have a present presentation tomorrow evening for those that are interested.

You can note your name. In the chat and we can send you the link to that presentation. There is so much happening in this area and one of our presenters is going to speak about the role of assistive technology and and. In life and and work in the community right now, within DDS we have opportunities for assistive technology grants for people that are supported by providers as well as those who live at home. That's also on our website under latest news.

We have a new opportunity on the horizon for assistive technology in the workplace. We'll talk more about that in next month's forum when we talk about a day and employment transformation. We have an initiative that will be rolling out called AT and me where our self, our DDS self advocacy advocacy coordinators will train others on the use of various assistive technology resources and then those who are trained will train others and it's a a train, the trainer model to really share information about the practical uses of assistive technology. We've done massive. Training over this past year of DSS, staff and provider staff on enabling technology, and we'll have more opportunities in the future.

And if you're wondering if assistive technology may be helpful for you or for your loved one, but you're not certain what technology is out there and what might be beneficial. You can work with your case manager to request an assistive technology assessment and and those assessments provide information and guidance in terms of of what type of assistive technology might be beneficial. So I'm going to now turn it over to our first presenter. As you may know in these forums, we have a combination of presenters who have professional experience and then we have those who share their life experience.

So we're going to start off today with someone that I've known. I was thinking about it probably over 15 years. Angel Valdez is going to share his experience of of moving from a CLA, a group home environment, into his own apartment. And so at this point, I would like to turn it over to Angel Valdez, who will be presenting. He's got a couple of folks here supporting him and Elzira Pitts is with him today.

And Elzira and Angel, I turn it over to you. Hey guys. How are you? So my name is azera ****. I'm a senior program director here with Vincent Connecticut.

And I have the privilege to know Angel. Since 2007 when he moved into Forest Rd. one RCA programs he he then moved on to his dream of being independent in his home.

In 2018 he moved into his own apartment. And he has adjusted very well. Um Angel accomplished many of his goals, which he will share with everyone very soon. Currently, he receives 17 hours a week of support in his current goals are budgeting, maintaining ADL's and I'm community employment. Now let's get to the fun part. You ready? Alright, so he'll be able to answer questions later on.

After this is over. I know Alisa has a plan for that. So tell us, Angel, how did? What was your journey when you first moved into Forest Rd.

Well. First uh program that I. Used to be and was Whitney Academy. We'll see. It's say the truth.

It was like a prison. I couldn't do nothing. Had to call myself in through like rooms and stuff.

My video games had been locked up. Stuff like that. The. And I when I did really well.

For now came over. Talk to me about Vinfen. That's how I got to Boyce Rd. For the first time. At first. It was hard for me to adjust. To it's my new place. Phone.

When I got used to the the house. But then I was doing well. I have my own room as well.

Which it was like I was small though. So. Until one of the clients moved out. So I had to move in to the master bedroom. Because I had a lot of stuff. After that I was doing so well.

I had the privilege to go out on my own. To like stores or to my mom's house. Or anywhere. Then. After what I did, what I had to do. I got them.

They told me if I wanted my own place. But first, they said if you want to live with somebody else. I mostly acted up at the last minute when we were supposed to move in together. Going after that.

I. I moved into my own place, so let us know. But why? Why did you want to move into your own place or give us a little details on why did you want to move from, like the CLA into your own apartment? Ohh. I wanted to move in with my. By myself because. At Forest Rd.

I had my own room, but I had. No privacy at all. The clients kept like coming into my room without knocking. The flight that so that's why I wanted my own apartment. But when I did get my own apartment.

At first it was scary because. I've never been on my own before so. I just. It was scary. I had to get used to it. But when I did. I got lonely. I had to get myself a cat.

And. When I did. And passed away. So. Went to my sister and he gave me a new. A new cat. Which it was already full grown. After that, that's where I met my wife. And. I'm I'm proud to be married. And now she's living with me and I'm happy.

Really happy. To have her in my life. And she's actually here with us, you say hi. So is it a great success story to move from a CLA into a IHS where he felt very independent, able to make his own decisions? As you can see, he decided and went ahead and got married, and now living the dream life and he's working and yeah, well, you're looking for.

I'm working now I'm working on getting a new job. Right. No. And what was all that? Yes, your your benefit. When I got a job. I was paying for everything. So.

After that I got into a lot of things like Star Wars, Dragon Ball Z. Art. I'm still doing art. And. So my whole house. Is full of stuff. That that I bought. In the site.

Mostly I've been telling everybody that it looks like a store called Hobby Lobby. Wanted to share it so if you wanna move the camera around. Yeah, go ahead. You could grab the computer and show your yes. You can see. A whole lot of stuff behind me.

Was I don't know. Yeah. I paid for all of that. Because I mean, I learned how to manage my money and stuff, how to save it. That's all I got. All of my stuff. Wow.

Wow, when I say we've known each other more than 15 years. We haven't been in touch in the last couple of years and I am just so happy for you. I'm happy for you and your wife. As you were talking about your artwork and your creativity, I think about. The drawings that um you used to do, and I can see you've expanded into just so much creative work. I am so happy for you. Thank you.

Thank you so much for being well, willing to Share your story. We hold questions to the end so that we can get to all our our presenters and I can already see there's a lot of activity in the chat and a lot of, I don't know if you can see the the the chat on your screen, but a lot of like amazing positive feedback. So thank you so much. Stick around and we'll definitely get to questions. Thank you so much. Well, Shay, that's a tough act to follow.

I'd like to now introduce Shay Tanis, who will be speaking with us today on the role of technology solutions and community living. We're so lucky to have Shay join us here today, a national leader in our field and a wealth of information, and she comes to us from the Kansas University and developmental disabilities and is. Part of a consortium and assistive technology that Connecticut is a part of with, I think it's upwards of 20 states across the country at this point in time. So I will, I will now turn it over to Shay Tanis.

Hey. Well, thank you so much, Lisa, and thanks for having me. And Patricia, thanks for the invite. And Angel, you are a tough act to follow.

So I am so privileged to actually be on a panel with you. So thank you for sharing all those amazing accomplishments that you have made in your life. Um, I also come to this as a family member with a brother with significant disabilities.

And so that definitely colors my perspective in all of this work. My background is in self determination, um technology, innovation and cognitive access, as well as data and understanding our systems and advancing what are the rights of people with cognitive disabilities to technology and information access. So I just wanted to share kind of a couple items as you were going through learning about the role of technology solutions, the role that they can play.

In community living, I think just our pure essence of being here online together demonstrates some of the power of connectivity that technology can bring to folks. But we do want to share kind of what we've learned through our process. You know, starting with really what it, what is community living and why has it changed and why is it so important to see this evolution that Angel talked about moving from a.

Real kind of confined environment to having, you know, um, it struck me, Angel, you said I had the privilege to go out on my own. You know, that's something a lot of people take for granted. Being able to have that autonomy and have that agency to do that.

And that's what we hope for everybody that it that it's just part of community living. When we go there and it has to bring us back also to really where we started thinking about what is community living. It used to be, you know that we looked at community living as this recognition of folks to move out of institutionalized or congregate facilities to live in their environments that are not segregated, to receive their supports and services. And you know, this is one of the most significant legislations, is Olmstead allowing people to move into what are their preferred environments? But what's been interesting since 1999 has really been that we've expanded this idea of what community living is.

And it really is not only where you are, it's not the location, but it's how you live and how you spend your day. You can simply have an institutional. Deal. If you're, um,

isolated and lonely as Angel also talked about having that loneliness factor when he first went into his own apartment, that can feel very isolating and and much more institutionalized. But part of when we talk about community, living is being able to have the opportunities to move around your own environment and do the things that an individual wants to do and really and truly we cannot do that. And everyday living without thinking about our technology, the technology influences all of our domains and living today it in fact is one of the major reliances in American culture.

As folks evolve throughout their daily structure throughout, they begin their day with technology and often end their time with technology. Technology also serves as a solution, and you're going to hear me talk about technology solutions because it helps individuals decrease the OR eliminate mismatch between what our strengths and the environment, what the environment demands and that's what a lot of us do. We use our own technology to schedule to allow us to adapt to our environment. That is so demanding on all of our needs and our on our brainpower and our connectivity. It also allows for supports for inhabiting or supporting people through agentic living. And when we talk about Agentic living, that means an individual driving their own opportunities, driving their own services.

They are the causal agents or the people that make the things happen in their lives, and technology can serve as a support to that. Um and so I want to be really clear because this is often is an item of contention when we talk about technology solutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it's not meant to replace people. It's meant to provide people opportunities that they may not otherwise have or to reinforce opportunities to deploy resources in different ways.

So if you have a direct care provider, not having them log in papers all the time. But being able to use that time to spend with the individual achieving their goals and more efficiently using time, So what kind of technologies are salute are needed in our environments now that ensure the health and safety and support of the individual with ID's in their own community? And I'm going to tell you why I talk about technology solutions and assistive technology is under the umbrella of what we consider technology solutions. And the reason we talk about technology solutions is for five reasons. 1A solution is anything that doesn't work yet. It allows us to drive towards goals.

It's multi functional and diverse. A solution can be multi functional much like. A lot of our technologies today, it also when we talk about a solution, it implies that we're using the technology to be goal oriented or to achieve what we hope to achieve. It also is really familiar to those who are creating the solutions, such as designers and engineers, so we're using the same language that they're using, and it also by using this broader term, allows us to think about what are the future technologies, what is the emerging or future tech that we can't even picture now that could provide the ultimate solution for any individual.

And so there are a number of different solutions and many of you could go through your day and think about all the ways you use technology to help you achieve your goals. I use my technology to get my coffee in the morning. That's definitely a goal I need to achieve every morning. If I want to function. But there are all these domains of living and part of what I wanted to share with you is some of the types of solutions people are using or have been valuable for folks to use. With ID as they engage in their communities.

So all of these types of technologies have been demonstrated to be helpful to achieve the goals of individuals. So we break it down really to show you the whole broad width of different types of solution. The beautiful thing of technology is the sky is the limits. Now we're really having so many nuanced technology solutions that they can be identified for any functional need. Some of the things we've seen. Really valuable, particularly during COVID certainly was connected communities, communities that were connected via any Internet connection or either we saw people connected through zoom being able to do delivery of service, delivery of groceries, being connected in a way to help support local communities.

We've also seen smart home technologies that lead with automation and everyday access making things. Easier for all of us in our everyday lives. Sometimes there are needs for the temperatures to be controlled, their assistance in laundry creation or opening up the doors. These are everyday access things that can help make living more easier for many folks.

We've seen folks even moving into roommate apps to be able to help identify who could be the right roommates. I mean, Angel talked about some of the roommates that he had. Um, what would be the ideal? If you can identify those roommates and do have those relationships being prior to being forced into a placement with those folks.

So these are opportunities to do a matching process. We talked about, you know, Lisa talked about accessible housing and what are those options? That's a big piece right now is looking at how to look at accessible. Housing. And then finally, we talk about remote supports being able to provide supports from a distance and this has really been a gateway technology for many of our technology for states as they move into identifying supports and services that can be modified or modernized to support individuals. What are some other technologies that help with community living well, I will tell you that during the pandemic, almost all the gyms that are in our local area and many others move to virtual options.

So many opportunities are provided through those virtual options to be able to do exercise, to do video tutorials. In fact, they have become the predominant way in which people learn how to deal with new tools or new items in their home. There's no longer the hard paper manual.

It's all online video tutorials on how to make things happen or how to make things work. We've also seen social navigation systems where folks can move around using some social navigation to identify where friends are or right places to go, and then prompting systems to use for when they are trying to do any of their functioning during the day. We use, you know, scheduling, we use all sorts of different apps and supports as we go through our. To help us navigate the activities that we have. What about where in person works and how they make money? Well, we definitely know the rate of expansion of remote work that has occurred during the pandemic, and it is here to stay. And what that means is we have to increase the availability and opportunities for people to be able to use that.

In fact, it does solve one of the most drastic challenges of employment of folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which is transportation, that has long time been a major barrier to work. And now because of the pandemic, because of the access to different technologies, we're essentially removing that barrier and identifying sometimes some. Some barriers, but others that can be addressed in a different way. We've seen XR, which is a type of extended realities and augmented realities for skill training that help people learn new skills. There's also a whole bunch of online new course catalogs that can be used that use this augmented reality that allow people to see in real time their own environment and support what to do to fix different items or learn new skills. And then there's these new fiscal management tools.

How to manage your own money? How to track the money that as as uh Angel had talked about, being able to save his money, to be able to purchase the things that he wants to in his home. There are ways and tools to support individuals to do that as they want. Many of us use our own online banking.

We are now moving into a forum where the digital currency is the predominant currency across the world and so supporting individuals to be able to use those. Strategies to be able to manage, maintain and support their own money is going to become really important. Some of the quality relationships well in the early, earlier days of some of the technology boom, we saw a whole bunch of social robotics and virtual opportunities for folks to use some of these companion care options. But we also have all the social networking tools, those that can't be a little scary to start but can be used in a way that allow people to network with their own.

Homegrown networks and be able to communicate and also participate in civic justice and and their civic responsibilities. These are opportunities that may not, again because of transportation or because of opportunity, may not have been available until now, but they are. So we have to take advantage of some of those elements in keeping people informed. Much of what happened during the pandemic was understanding when there were outbreaks. Um, what were the new procedures, mask procedures? A lot of that occurred through social networking, gaining some of that information through people's social networks.

If they were isolated in their home, and I always bring up this virtual companion care because it's becoming more and more prevalent to see people having opportunities to meet with one another outside of just the work environment or the home environment, but having companions. That you can meet with in different countries or in different states. Some of the way we see personal interests using technology, and again, all of these are I give you these menus of options because I want you to think about the potential role that can technology can play in any individual's life. What are the opportunities? They aren't going to work for everyone, but there are opportunities to use these in multiple different ways. So thinking about accessible gaming, we in fact worked with some of our large program partners on like Xbox Accessibility, making sure people have that music composition, accessibility in terms of creating new music just by a single touch, doing virtual reality sports even down to.

Plant monitors that help you home grow your own fruits and vegetables. These are ways of sustainability and using technology to enhance your own personal interests that can be supportive. We, and we cannot neglect what is spirituality and Wellness. This is a real area that I'm hoping to see investments in the future. This Wellness opportunity that has been very mainstream for some time.

You see all the mood apps, the calm apps, everybody needed some sort of app to calm them during the pandemic. And yet these were not applied or accessed from many folks with intellectual disabilities, ways to internally. Identify what's what stressors are and how can we really improve that wholeness and Wellness? And there are so many opportunities here that just have to be introduced to individuals, meditation, virtual religious services. Again, where we see some rub is that transportation and access these are providing new forums for people to have engagement opportunities as well as accessible books. For reading and Wellness, and so I really do.

This is an area where I think there's potential huge growth in seeing around how we can address some of the mainstream Wellness programs to support individuals as they go through their day. So thinking about if you have extra time in your day, can you meditate, can you look at your goals? Umm, these are Wellness considerations that fall into the whole social Wellness such as health. Um, etcetera.

And Speaking of health, uh finally, I'll talk about what our health and Wellness sensors. So we're seeing a lot of the digital twins, meaning that you can see your body, your Wellness in a digital forum, understanding how to use your own information to help you create personal body goals or biological goals. The quantified self is using information using your Umm. Data to tell you whether you have higher blood pressure, um, whether there's a medication you need to be taking telehealth, teleservices, telemedicine medication dispensers, and really, these wearables are providing opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to direct their own health management.

And while many of service providers, the challenge has always been medication dispensers or being able to have. Person in the home to be able to provide medication, these new technologies are giving solutions so people can do that on their own with some support that may be virtual and we have a a health wearable project that we're on to find those most accessible healthcare wearables for folks to monitor their own health. Um Ohh and I'm sorry, the last thing is really personal growth. If you were not involved in an opportunity to upskill or add to your credentials or do some credentialing during COVID, you now have continued opportunities to do this online. So we have new literacy tools, new learning tools for folks to identify their own areas of growth and be able to take online learning.

Or other learning modules to do that. So there's learning and personal growth that can occur with the augmented supports of technology solutions. Now, technology solutions do not come without some risk and it's important to address the benefits and the risks we fall onto the dignity of risk side, where people with intellectual disabilities as well as disabilities in general have the opportunity to derive their own. Um, options and be able to do that in a protected environment, yet not taking away their opportunities and so thinking about what are the benefits and what are the risks in being able to weigh the balance of that.

We do have risks in data privacy. We are all taking that risk being online today, we have all said, Yep, we are willing to take that risk to be able to learn. And so, considering what the benefits are to that, you do have information security risks. Again, if you do e-mail. You are taking the risk that your information can be used because of the benefits that e-mail provides you to stay connected and do your work.

Will we do have a concern in our field, certainly around excessive automation, making sure that people still have the opportunity to try and direct their own items and the things that they do. We do not want excessive automation. We don't want systems or technologies to take people's autonomy or their opportunity to control their own environments away.

There is a a risk of isolation and loneliness. There's also a benefit of having, um, access to people you wouldn't have access to in other environments. Um. Discrimination, social construction, all of these are risks, but you also have to look at the benefits. What happens if we don't integrate folks with ID into technology at all? Oftentimes they will miss out on so many opportunities that mainstreamed are being provided.

They may also be closed out of environments, so not having an e-mail can prevent folks from being able to buy anything in stores. Being able to sign up for new systems. There are all these benefits. We also will not get to true inclusion and acceptance and diversity unless we are involved in the conversation. And that means people have to have opportunities to engage in these options and technologies as they move through their daily life, as everyone else does. So there are there, I will not deny there are risks.

But there are also tremendous benefits and being reasonable about the risks and the benefits and providing people with the opportunity to learn. About those risks and benefits is our job to be able to support people, not control them, but allow them the opportunity to learn about the risks and the benefits and make their own decisions. And so finally, I'll just close real quickly to say that in terms of lack of access to the digital community and technology solutions is really a lack of access to what is community living because it has become so integral to our everyday experiences and should be examined as an opportunity as folks transition across different environments and different settings. So I want to thank you for the opportunity. My colleagues. Thank you. I always love joining you and I'll go ahead and stop there.

Well, thank you so much. Shay and I can guarantee you I am going to be watching this video again and and reviewing this PowerPoint again and again. Thanks for so much.

Excellent information and uh, we did get some comments in the chat. We have one more presenter and then we'll get into some of the questions that people have. Our next presenter is.

Sorry, I lost my I lost my. Page there our next presenter is going to share his experience and of moving from his family home to live with Herb and Karen, CCH providers. So Sean Tobin is here, I think. His mom is here as well in the background, and Sean, I'm going to turn it over to you and I'm looking forward to hear your story.

Here. How long have I been here? Since October. I've been here since October. Hi son. And this is Karen with Sean. She's the CCH licensee supporting Sean.

She doesn't want to be seen so. Oh, OK. But this is all about Sean, really, and Sean's experience. So my name is Elise Pearson. I'm a resource compliance coordinator with the CCH program in the West region.

And Sean, so can you tell us a little bit about your experience with like, you, your mom and your sister and how you guys decided that you thought or how you all decided that Ch would be the right fit for you? I've moved here for. I've moved. I was in Thomaston and now I'm in CA and now I've moved here from Thomaston to Cheshire. And how is that working for you, Sean? Because you have a lot of activities that you used to do in Thomaston. So how is that working out for you living in Cheshire? Good, good. And what kind of what kind of things like you're wrestling that was really important to you.

Right. And so you're still able to do your wrestling. You're still able to hang out with friends from Thomaston. And how is all that going for you, being connected to your friends but living in Cheshire? Good, good and work has been important for you because you have a competitive employment. You work at one of the grocery stores in Thomaston. So it's been pretty important for you, correct? Yeah. For many, many years.

So how is that going for you, your work schedule and living in Cheshire? I work 2:00 to 6:00. Monday, Thursday, Friday. Two to six at Adams. And I work my bowl Saturdays. Uh.

11 to 12 on Saturday and a bowl at 5:00 o'clock on Tuesday nights. Yep, that's right. That's what we have to get to tonight, OK? Um, Sean, can you tell us a little bit about how you feel about living with Sean with Sean, with Karen and Herb and also you have roommates now which you didn't have living with Mom? No.

Yeah. How is it having roommates? Yes, it's I love having roommates. I got Joe Lewis and. That's it. So Joe Lewis, if you count the animals, but they don't live in the house, right? Some of them don't.

So that's awesome. So living with Joe and Lewis and having roommates, that's been huge for you and I'm glad that it's been a good experience. And what else do you like about living at the Brooks House? So we've been going to a couple of ball games.

Oh yeah, big baseball fan over there, right? It's a Yankees right that you guys are big fans of everything. Awesome. So you get to experience hanging out with herb and and doing things that you really enjoy and and building a relationship with someone that you wouldn't have had the chance, maybe living with your mom still. Is that fair to say? Is there anything else that you would like everybody else to know? Ohh, see. So I love living in Cheshire. Quite about. Going out to the chickens.

Going out to the chickens. Yeah. So that is that an adjustment for you living on a living with farm animals. Yeah, but they're nice and there's a nice set up there. It's nice and clean, right.

It's a good feeling. Very nice. And Karen's been good. Very helpful, very helpful. I'm glad to hear it and Karen's family is very supportive. They all live very close.

So how is that for you? Learning or getting to build a relationship with Karen and Herb's family? All the boys, all the baseball fans, all the baseball fans. Sean fits right in. One of them's coming home. We're going to get him from the marine marine boot camp this week, going to get them from Marine boot camp this week. Very nice. Sounds very excited to see him.

Awesome. Well, your smile is definitely contagious, Sean. And we're so happy to hear your story and thank you for sharing with us. You're welcome. Thank you. Thank you, Elise and Karen.

I mean, Sharon and Karen, in the background, I heard you were shy of being on camera, but thank you for joining us virtually. All right. At this point, we are going to open it up to questions and. We'll go back to the beginning. So I'm going to scroll up and.

And there's been some back and forth in the chat, so some information, some of the questions have been answered as the presentations have been going on. So the first question I think was when I was speaking, what do you mean by providers, healthcare providers, housing providers? When I talk about provider stability, I'm talking about DDS qualified providers, so providers that provide services that are qualified for. To provide DDS services. And there is a range of providers. Large provider community.

The vast majority of of services in Connecticut are are provided through our our qualified provider community and the services arranged through the whole continuum. So some of the supports that we're talking about today, John is talking about CCH living in a CCH home. Angel is talking about living in his own apartment with individual. Individualized housing supports providers provide employment services. Residential supports 24 hour residential support, so when I talk about provider stability, I'm talking about DDS qualified providers. And then the next question, Umm, my case worker doesn't know about moving and what what it's all about.

Will this information. So for that I'm gunner is on the call with us. I'm going to ask Gunner to put his contact information in the chat if anyone that's on this call. Has questions that there are case manager not may not be familiar with or have information about reach out to Gunner and we'll follow up on those specific those specific questions to make sure that you have the information that you need. Will this information be posted on the DDS website? Yes, it will.

So on the cover page, the home page of the DDS website you'll see Umm 4th Tuesday forums. It does take us a little while. We have to. Trim the recordings and then convert them into a particular format.

So I'd say give it a week or so, but we also, with your permission, Shay will include your PowerPoint, and that way people will have not only the recording, but the the PowerPoint presentation with all of the resources in that. Quite a few people were interested in the assistive technology presentation scheduled for tomorrow evening, and Gunner put the link to that forum that's taking place tomorrow at 6:00 PM and that's in celebration of assistive technology, national Assistive Technology Awareness Day. And that is is going to be a a great presentation I'll be attending. Look forward to see some of you there.

Another question around housing supports, my case manager is not aware or able to provide housing supports. How do I get somebody that can help me e-mail that specific need? What specifically you're looking for to Gunner and we will connect you with the right person. I'm more interested in that webinar and assistive technology. Let's see a lot of great feedback, Angel, a lot of great feedback for you people. Just like just you rocked it and congratulations and you did an amazing presentation and people really appreciated you sharing your story. And some people would be very jealous of your collectibles.

So a lot of a lot of positive feedbacks there. And I put the names of all of the presenters in the chat. People wanted to know who, who, who presented. And then I think the next question, Shay, is for you, where would you find something like a roommate at? So there are an I just put in the chat.

There are dozens of these type of roommate apps. I can't endorse anyone over the other, but there are also opportunities that are more locally grown. So there are some providers that we know about across the country who have their own technology solutions to be able to help with that matching process. And so do a little investigation locally. But there are a number it's, you know there's there's some a friend of mine says there's an app for that. Meaning that there's almost an app for everything you could possibly come up with, whether they're accessible, whether they're in your local community varies, but certainly there are opportunities to use some of these nuanced technologies.

Um, to be able to identify or or leverage or take advantage of some of the mainstream things that happen outside of our own D field that can be incredibly valuable. So I put a number of them. Up there, I think if you even just googled uh, you know roommate apps, you'll get a list of, you know, up to 12 of the best. But so take take advantage of those opportunities we do have, Umm, some of my some colleagues out of Easter Seals bridging apps is a group out of Texas and their colleagues of ours, they do rate apps for disability and they have a A expert panel that does that evaluation. And so I would start there. It helps narrow down some of the scope.

In terms of, you know the app for that, uh, but there are opportunities certainly to take advantage of. Thank you. And then the next also connected to your presentation that we need an effective pipeline, I identify remote jobs.

I think, um, what's great is we have seen through the pandemic a greater representation of diversity, equity, inclusion and hiring. There are more and more large companies that have capacity to build employee resource groups that are targeted around diversity, that can really work towards that opportunity. The valuable 500 is an international group that looks at who are the companies that identify or try to support the employment. The folks with broad disabilities. So there are more and more options.

I think COVID there. There are some Silver Linings to the pandemic and one is it really opened the door to allow for more flexibility in employment situations. And so how we leverage that as a community, how we take advantage of this new landscape is going to be really important. And so figuring out how to identify those jobs that allow for more flexibility will be tremendously helpful. Thanks. And I think I would add if you're particularly interested in.

In employment and how technology and employment are interface, I'd invite you to join the March forum. We're going to really talk about day and employment transformation. We will definitely feature assistive technology and I will know this interest and and and remote employment and we'll we'll see if we can speak to that as well. So please tune in to the March forum.

The next the next comment is I think you were talking about video chatting and communication virtual communication. Somebody noted that there's video chat chatting on Facebook Messenger too. If you have a Facebook account. Umm. And when you were talking about the risks and even by having e-mail, you know there are risks associated that with that, but a great benefits as well. There was a comment the same with your cell phone number and your address.

And so I think we've all experienced that. We have technology that has great great possibilities. It connects us, but you have to be aware of some of those risks as well and. Let's see. The next comment was where can we find information on accessible housing and remote jobs? Umm. Sue, if you have a particular information that you're looking for, I would invite you to reach out to Gunner by e-mail.

Remote jobs let's Umm I I think if you join the March forum, we're going to be talking about employment and technology. In the meantime though. It may be worthwhile to talk with your case manager about customized employment with a particular interest in remote remote positions. I think that might be an option worth exploring and in terms of accessible housing, I shared the notice of opportunity that's currently out on expanding a supportive housing.

I think that's going to that that's designed. To explore, expand housing options and that would include accessible housing, but for particulars because we know Connecticut has, depending on where you're located, the resources are really geographically specific. If you have specific information, reach out to a gunner and we'll see if we can connect you with the right person. Are there some similar housing opportunities in Waterbury? That similar housing Helen, similar housing opportunities, I'm not sure at what point you posted that similar to. There are housing opportunities in Waterbury.

Umm. If it? Yeah. I'm not sure if that was in regard to housing like. Each ohh S CCH or like and then I think I see a note housing like Angel as well. So yes, in terms of CCH we have CCH opportunities across the state. You would talk with your case manager there, CCH. Case managers and folks like Elise that can provide you with information we have CCH team in each region and then housing like Angel.

Yes, there are apartments across the state and so if you're affiliated with provider, you might want to talk with them about IHS and and whether they provide IHS services if you're not affiliated with the provider. You can talk with your case manager. Uh, talk about what? Um, what options may be available, but IHS apartments, like angels, are available across the state. Depending. We know we have urban, suburban and rural rural areas. So what type of housing is available across the state may vary, but we have IHS that is available across the state.

And. Um, so it I think that the final question is, is it the housing that we're talking about available for people affiliated with DDS? Yes, our forum today in the when we talk about qualified providers would be through DDS. But there are other resources out outside of DDS within the state around housing or some of technology, some of the other things that. That we've talked about, so if you want to reach out to Gunner with your particular need, and even if you're not affiliated with DDS, we'll try to connect you with the right resource. And did I miss any questions? Alright, I would love to thank all of you for those of you who presented Umm, we just had a phenomenal range of presentations on these forums.

Just lift me up, they get me excited. I know other people feel the same way. We shared some really great resources and for those who logged on and ask questions and participated in that way. Thank you so much.

Um, we invite you to join monthly and you'll hear a variety of stories. I love the feedback in the chat. I love the way people support one another and it's really important to celebrate success. To celebrate people living wonderful lives and and to share those. Experiences because it just kind of opens up the possibility of options that are out there.

So thank you so much everyone. Ohh I see a hand up. I'm sorry I missed that. Lynn. I I as I put in the chat I got on late and I don't know if you talked about either, what's it called? I-OR cluster housing.

I know my son's on a waiting list for one that I think is opening up in Westville, or at least it's being talked about. And I just was wondering how that's progressing or how I can find out more information about it. They talk a little bit about the fact that there's a current notice of opportunity around expanding supportive housing.

And that is on the home page of our our DDS website. But in terms of the supportive housing developments that are in process, I think if you if you e-mail gunner about a particular development, we can provide you with an update in terms of where that is in process. OK, great. I know Gunner because I was on the, I'm on the South rack and he was he was our guy there for a while. So hi, gunner. Hey, Lynn, good to see you. Good. I'll be emailing you.

Alright, sounds good. OK. Alright. Thanks everyone. Take care. Thanks all.

2023-03-12 10:33

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