Since 2004, CPARC has been collaborating with United Cerebral Palsy of Central PA and parents to develop and implement an innovative adult day program, referred to as the Neighbors Program. Two programs are currently in operation, one in Carlisle, PA and one in Mechanicsburg, PA. These programs are commonly referred to as Hanover Street Neighbors and Mechanicsburg Neighbors.
The Neighbors Program is designed for post high school adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism. Program participants are encouraged to maintain the education they received in school, and they are given the opportunity to further their education by learning through new experiences.
CPARC is requesting funding to help support two Behavior Specialist positions, and a Community Activity Instructor position for the project. The Behavior Specialists will assess each person's strengths and needs areas, create individualized plans, develop a timeline for implementation, train and educate staff on skill development and behavior techniques, and teach staff how to integrate the skills in the community and vocational settings. The Community Activity Instructor will identify and develop community activities and vocational opportunities. They will provide support and education to the participant in areas identified by the program's Behavior Specialists, matching the individual to the environmental setting most appropriate and transporting and supporting the participant in their community activity.
Their 'classroom' will be the community. Data will be tracked and evaluated on a regular basis. We will evaluate our progress in terms of the number of participants involved in the project. Our goal is to provide 50% of the program participants with community volunteer and/or vocational experiences. The anticipated outcome of this project is that individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and autism will have more opportunities to become productive citizens in their communities. Success will be measured by tracking the number, length of time, and the types of community volunteer/vocational experiences with which they are involved.
The Behavior Specialists initial environmental assessments of participants will include all settings in which the individual is involved; home, community, day program, and transportation. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism achieve the greatest level of success when their environments are predictable and consistent. We hope to not only improve their success in the community while involved with Neighbors, but across all settings in their lives.