The following posts are opinions and insights from our IAC members. If you have any questions or comments and would
like to submit something for this blog, please email us at info@independentapartmentcommunities.com
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
What does it mean to belong? Is it as simple as sharing the same address, knowing a person's name, having things in common? Can friendship and a sense of belonging be created once a month or even once a week? A true sense of belonging has the greatest impact on quality of life for most of us and those with I/DD are no different.
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WHY IAC?
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
There is a critical shortage of housing and support communities that adequately address the individualized needs of adults with I/DD. IAC's represent a unique and exceptional option to this crisis. An IAC offers a unique mix of personal choice, freedom, independence combined with individualize support, a responsive and nurturing
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LIVING, LEARNING, BELONGING
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
"It's sort of like dancing!" A few years back I heard this description used to explain the, at times, precarious relationship between support staff and adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities. The adult with disabilities went on to explain that "the dance" was learning how to work together and avoid getting toes stepped on in the process. I thought this was a very insightful and illustrative way of thinking about the relationship between individual and support staff. Just like in dancing each partner needs to know who
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THE IAC COMMUNITY
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
The most unique and likely beneficial part of an IAC is represented by the word Community. For many individuals with I/DD and their family's isolation, loneliness and vulnerability are the biggest challenges when it comes to long term housing and support. Living alone or "independently" are often
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THE DANGERS OF INDEPENDENCE
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
Every July we celebrate Independence Day and the unique freedoms we have in the United States. With the 4th of July comes the celebration of American freedom, specifically looking back to being free of the rule of England. In the world of adults with disabilities independence is probably the most popular words there is. Of course, independence is a very important concept and critical to a quality life for all of us. Put simply, independence is the ability for a person to make important life choices on their own, free from the coercion and undue influence of others. Sometimes
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AN IAC APARTMENT
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
Of critical importance to any IAC is that each resident has their own front door keys and independent choice with things like running their heating/AC, installing cable TV, internet, phone and any other utilities they desire to use. Ideally there is the option for no shared bedrooms or bathrooms, something that is critical to offering privacy, dignity and a sense of independence. These living options are unfortunately very rare for most adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Most often in an IAC the apartments are not owned, but each resident can make it their own by painting or furnishing it as they see best. Residents of an IAC have their own lease agreement with
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STAFF MEMBER MYTHS . . .
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
Sometimes staff can be fooled into believing that aspects of disability are more related to issues of personal character. An example would be when a resident has challenges with initiation and rigidity and staff can mistake it for "laziness". The way we see behaviors and their root cause is critical. If we see it as an issue, at least in part, of initiation and rigidity we tend to not bring judgment and realize it's part of our job to support them through the resulting challenges. But if we see the person as "lazy" we tend to judge them and offer less support and patience.
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IAC INDEPENDENCE
by Aaron Vorell, Executive Director of Casa de Amma
A foundational value for any housing and support model for those with I/DD should be Independence. Independence is central to all efforts supporting those with I/DD because it recognizes and is committed to the idea that each person should be enabled to live their life in a manner that is as free as possible from the control or unwanted influence of others. As it relates the first word in an IAC, Independent describes the type of program an IAC is committed to. For any IAC, there isn't just one program being offered- instead there is a separate program for each person, each as unique as the person's fingerprint. Each residents supports are tailored to their desires and needs and no two program plans look the same. An IAC's support
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