Teaching People With Intellectual Disabilities to Live Independently and Safely

Safe_at_home_Ryan_Cooking2Prevention 1st has entered the exciting next phase in its development of an evaluated curriculum for teaching safety to people with intellectual disabilities, thanks to grants from the Developmental Disabilities Giving Circle of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Jane L. and Laurence C. Glazer Charitable Trust.

More people with intellectual disabilities are choosing to live independently or semi-independently, with less intensive supervision and supports. Without effective safety skills training, these individuals and their families are concerned about prevention and preparedness.

In the pilot program funded by these two grants, focus groups were held and in-home training sessions are underway with 30 individuals with intellectual disabilities who are new to independent living. Because of the great variability in residential settings, the program began with an environmental assessment and orientation for each of the individuals along their circles of support.

Prevention 1st and its expert partner Community Health Strategies will adapt the curriculum as necessary to teach fire and kitchen safety skills to the individuals in the pilot program. They will also test the use of a wireless tablet produced by program partner Touch Stream Solutions, which audibly and visually reminds users of important tasks such as checking smoke alarms and practicing an exit route.

The pilot program will be evaluated throughout its delivery. Progress on skills development and hazard reduction will be tracked and measured to assess effectiveness. Program trainers will also communicate regularly with each person’s circles of support to get their input on the progress of their loved one’s skills.

Based on the results of this pilot program, Prevention 1st will finalize the assessment tool, training curriculum and associated materials. The pilot will provide the foundation for a groundbreaking, evidence-based curriculum that will meet the needs of an emerging population of people with intellectual disabilities who will be living more independently than ever.

If you live in the Rochester, NY area and you’d like to join the pilot program, please submit a Participant Application.

Many thanks to the Safe at Home Project Steering Committee:

Katie Abbott, People Inc.

Anthony Arnitz, NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

Joel Benzel, Touch Stream Solutions

Jason Blackwell, Starbridge

Holly Brown, University of Rochester Medical Center

Molly Clifford, Community Health Strategies

Robert Cole, Ph.D, Community Health Strategies

Ann Costello, Golisano Foundation

Robert Crandall, Prevention 1st

Jack Dinaburg, Prevention 1st

Julia Engstrom, Trinity Assistance Corp.

Ernie Haywood, Lifetime Assistance

Karen Knauf, Injury Free Coalition for Kids

Cindy Lill, In the Driver’s Seat

David McAdam, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities

Wendy McLaughlin, Touch Stream Solutions

Debbie Napolitano, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities

Jen Ralph, Community Health Strategies

Joyce Steel, In the Driver’s Seat

Nick Vignati, Arc of Ontario


Related articles:

How Can People With Disabilities Be Safe While Living Independently?

Top Safety Concerns for People With Developmental Disabilities: Fire and Cooking