Historically, the service delivery systems for people with disabilities provided specialized support in settings that removed people from the mainstream of community experience. This created a separate social identity for people with disabilities that made participating in daily community life an extraordinary challenge. At the Employment and Disability Institute, we cultivate and support use of person-centered practices which lead to the integration of individuals with disabilities into valued community membership roles.
Employment plays an important role in the recovery process of individuals who have the experience of living with a mental illness. This New York State Office of Mental Health sponsored initiative provides training and technical assistance to state-operated psychiatric facilities wishing to promote individualized community-based vocational services.
The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council serves as the sponsor to a project designed to facilitate the successful re-entry of inmates who have special needs into community settings upon release from prison. Through a series of core training, practical application, on-site and off-site technical assistance, personnel from the NYS Department of Correctional Services and Division of Parole partner with local community resources to promote individualized transition from inmate to citizen.
Individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members can provide policymakers important feedback and testimony regarding how government and agency initiatives affect daily life issues. New York State Partners in Policymaking (www.nyspip.org) is a leadership development program for individuals with developmental disabilities and family members designed to promote systems change through training participants around developing quality interaction and partnership creation with legislators and policymakers.
Adult siblings of persons with developmental disabilities play a unique role in their lives; often theirs is the longest lasting lifetime relationship. The NYS Sibling Needs Assessment Survey will examine the knowledge and capacity-building needs of NYS siblings of persons with developmental disabilities as well as the current efforts of the NYS service delivery system around outreach and programming for siblings. This project will also create a database of self- reported adult siblings of NYS persons with developmental disabilities for future outreach efforts.