Community Ties provides individualized and family-focused services for people with intellectual disabilities
nd autism from the Old Town/Orono/Bangor increasing life skills and independent living opportunities.
*To maintain confidentiality this story is a compilation of IAM client’s experiences.
Mary is a friendly young woman who chooses to live on her own. She hopes to work with animals someday and support herself financially. She has moved five times in the past year because of unstable living conditions. This has since been addressed by recently moving into an apartment under Section 8 Housing. Her one stable family member has been ill, which has limited their ability to provide supports to Mary. Mary has always been very trusting of others. She is often taken advantage of by giving away items and/or money in an effort to make friends. She has a history of trauma and works with staff to build trust and increase her ability to feel safe. Her primary goal is to maintain a healthy level of independence.
Mary receives both Community and In-Home supports from Community Ties to help her increase independent level skills and maintain self-sufficiency. Her DSP staff support coaches Mary to maintain her health and safety and develop life skills in the areas of food insecurity and healthy eating, maintaining a clean living environment, healthy relationships and safe boundaries and work readiness development. Staff sometimes accompany Mary to medical appointments when she requests assistance.
Mary often runs out of food or purchases more expensive and less nutritious food. Other issues related to food security is that she often refrigerated a lot of food which creates waste, or buys items at the neighborhood store that she cannot afford. Her personalized goal in this area focuses on healthy eating on a budget and consistently having something to eat. Staff help Mary access local food cupboards and other community resources, teach meal planning and price comparison-shopping to maximize resources. It was determined that if Mary can pre-prep and freeze healthy, budget friendly meals, she will reduce her risk of food insecurity and hunger. Twice weekly, through planning, role modeling, instruction, teaching, visual aids, and encouragement, staff assist Mary to shop, prepare and freeze a few different healthy meals. Crock-pot cooking ended up being a great solution for this. Mary has expanded her skills in this area and no longer buys food items outside of her budget. She is feeling healthier and more comfortable with her weight. Staff continue to assess and increase independence with these tasks.
Mary experiences personal conflicts with others as she often perceives interactions from her family and peers as being critical. Mary is uncomfortable in large groups. Loud, busy environments make her feel unsafe. This presents challenges with relationships and setting safe boundaries. Her goal development in this area focuses on maintaining current relationships, making friends, and developing personal boundaries. Through the use of role modeling, social stories, conflict resolution, preplanning and positive feedback, staff support her in navigating relationships with others, addressing her personal feelings of fear, self-identifying her strengths and talents, increase her self-confidence and safety awareness. A key successful intervention for these goals is Mary’s attendance at Community Ties’ small groups. With the support of staff, the group works together to plan activities of interest that uses creative expression to promote peer support/friendships, skill building and community exploration/inclusion. The supports, teaching methods and safe, nurturing environment of this small group, gives Mary the opportunity to make friends, gain valuable social skills, and have new positive experiences. Mary has used her art as a tool to maintain relationships, as staff support her in sending pieces of her work to her closest family members as a way to maintain these important relationships.
For work readiness development, through supports and teaching, Mary now has a volunteer job working with animals. She is supported on a weekly basis volunteering, where she is starting to build friendships and gaining valuable work experience, which is transferrable into future paid work opportunities.
Mary is gaining confidence each day and is learning necessary skills to live comfortably, safely and independently. Without supports from Community Ties, Mary would be unable to live safely in her own apartment. She would be at high risk of repeated homelessness and decline to a life of daily survival, exploitation and abuse and fear. Mary would be unable to enjoy the success and sense of accomplishment she has currently been experiencing as a result of supports from Community Ties.
2 Hillside Road
PO Box 457
Orono, ME 04473
207.866.3769 ext 102