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Independent Living Services (ILS)

The S.T.E.P. Independent Living Services (ILS) program provides instruction for individuals with developmental disabilities who choose to live on their own in the community. This includes one-to-one instruction in various settings based on the personal needs of the individual. STEP specializes in assisting those who are deaf, as well as those folks who are dual diagnosed. STEP also provides support to families in our Parenting Group.

Fun in the poolSTEP ILS services have built a reputation for providing specialized support services, and for this reason we have made a commitment to hire and train our staff accordingly. STEP strives to provide an environment of total communication and hires deaf instructors, support staff and management to better meet the unique needs of our Deaf people we support. Any individual who is deaf would be paired with an instructor that is fluent in ASL. The very first ILS consumer that STEP served, Tina, is still receiving ILS from STEP to this day. You can also read some of the other success stories.

STEP also serves a large number of folks who are dual diagnosed. STEP has made the commitment to the health and well being of these individuals by ensuring that they receive consistent and proper psychiatric supports, medications and on going safety review in the home and out in the community. We strive to provide truly tailored services to meet the specific needs of each of these individuals. We know that those supports are not static and will need to change with the changing needs of the individual, sometimes on a daily basis.

ILS services generally begin with a formal assessment of the skills that have been determined necessary for an individual to live on his or her own within the community. This assessment can be started while an individual lives in a care home or family home, but will not be completed until the individual has moved into his or her own home. This assessment and our services include such areas as domestic skills, personal skills, health and safety, financial skills, community skills and awareness, and responsibility areas. During the assessment, any physical and or communication limitations are addressed.

Following the completion of the assessment, STEP works with the individual in developing an Individual Service Plan (ISP). This plan is the guide in which services are provided. The instructor works with the person to create goals based on the needs of that individual, and the skills necessary for that individual to successfully live on his or her own within the community. Most importantly, the goals are that of the individual's choosing.

The ongoing responsibilities of the ILS instructor include assisting each individual with meeting the goals they have chosen, to the best of that person's ability, and ensuring that each person we support is aware of community services that are available to him or her. The instructor can also be helpful in assisting in an individual's transition from a more sheltered environment into the community. This process may involve assisting with finding a suitable home in the community, and helping to ensure that each person is acclimated to his or her new surroundings.

If you are a qualify for ILS services and you also have children, you may also qualify for parenting services. For more information, please see our Parenting Program.