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MEET PETE AND DARREN

MEET PETE AND DARREN

PETE AND DARREN; A HYPOTHETICAL CASE STUDY OF TWO SELF-ADVOCATES TRANSITIONING TO INDEPENDENCE WITH THE SUPPORT OF ILO

At ILO we know that integrated communities for individuals with disabilities can be created, and successful. To help others get a clear idea of how ILO’s intentional communities function, we have created a fictional scenario using real places, activities, and services in the Washington, D.C. area.

Pete and Darren

Pete is 26.  He’s outgoing and gregarious.  He loves swimming and often describes himself as a fish out of water.   Pete has been working for several years at the Old Georgetown Road Giant as a bagger.  Teachers from Pete’s old schools, Tilden Middle School and Walter Johnson High School, always try to get in Pete’s line.  He doesn’t always remember their names, but he’s so proud that they remember him and compliment him on his work.  Pete earns slightly above minimum wage and works approximately 20 hours week.  The only thing that Pete doesn’t like about this job is that he doesn’t know his schedule until Thursdays and the schedule is never the same.  Pete’s income is supplemented by SSDI, which is approximately $1100 a month.  Depending on his work schedule, Pete tries to swim at least two nights a week, usually Mondays and Thursdays, with an adaptive therapeutic swim group (supported by the Montgomery County Recreation Department) during the Masters Swim sessions at the Kennedy-Shriver Aquatic Center (formerly referred to at the MAC).  During the spring, Pete is on the Special Olympics swim team.  During the summer, Pete loves to hang out and swim laps at the pool at Grosvenor.  Pete has a MetroAccess card.  He currently takes the bus to work and the aquatic center from his parents’ home in Bethesda.  One of his immediate goals is to learn the bus from Grosvenor to work and the aquatic center.

Darren is 29.  He loves music and plays the guitar.  He has autism and is an introvert.  However, he’s become much more social since he became a member of the interPLAYcompany Band at the Music Center at Strathmore.  Darren recently was offered a job in which he will use his AAS (Associate in Applied Science) degree in Health Information Management from Montgomery College.  He will work at a medical office in the White Flint Medical Building for 20 hours a week.  He currently takes the bus to work from his parents’ home in Silver Spring but hopes to walk to work from his Grosvenor condo.  He will earn $13/hour with the potential for earning more after his one-year trial period is over.

Pete’s and Darren’s Parents

Pete’s parents joined ILO just as it was forming.  Pete’s parents co-signed (with Pete) a one-year lease for a two-bedroom two-bath 1100 square foot condo at Grosvenor for $1800/month (inclusive of utilities except for WiFi).  (Included with the apartment was one indoor parking space.)  Darren’s parents joined ILO six months later.  Based on the Full Life Process Skills Inventory, it was determined that Pete and Darren might be good roommates. Pete’s parents think that Pete will probably always want to have a roommate.  They are considering purchasing a two- or three-bedroom condo, but want to give Pete some independent living experience before they make such a purchase.  Darren’s parents, on the other hand, think that eventually Darren would like to have a place of his own.  But they do not want him living in isolation.  Thus they love the idea of intentional community.  They anticipate renting or buying a one-bedroom condo for Darren after he settles into his new job and living away from home.  They really like Grosvenor’s proximity to the Metro and the interPLAYcompany Band.

Independent Living Supports

Justin serves as the Apartment Skills Tutor.  To begin with, he’ll work with both Pete and Darren for four hours a week at $15/hour.  He will help plan cleaning assignments, social activities, assist with grocery shopping, scheduling, problem solving, and developing and supervising apartment rules.  Once a month, Justin will take the young men to Pete’s Giant for a major shopping spree (i.e., one where a car is needed).  The rest of the month, they’ll take advantage of the Grosvenor Market, for either groceries or pre-made food.  Justin is responsible for coordinating Saturday afternoon group outings with his counterparts in Germantown, King Farm and Silver Spring.

Gregory will serve as the Individual Skills Tutor.  On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he works with Pete with funding from the Self-Directed waiver which is part of Community Pathways (a Maryland DDA funded program). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Gregory works with Darren under a private pay model.  Gregory earns $15/hour in both of his positions.

Dan, a founding parent, is a certified support broker and oversees Gregory’s work.  He will be working on a volunteer basis during the start-up of ILO.  (Once there are 5-6 people living at Grosvenor, the position should be a paid position.)

Alfred, also a founding parent, will be the interim weekday Community Builder for Pete and Darren.  (Alfred owns a two-bedroom condo in Grosvenor, which will eventually become an ILO residence for his 20-year old daughter.)  Alfred will provide daily check-in for Pete and Darren on weekdays.  He will do this on a volunteer basis until there are enough families to support an independent Community Builder.  Alfred plans on hosting international meal nights twice a month, during which Pete, Darren, and Alfred’s daughter will make a meal and talk about the country featured in the meal.  These meals will include a trip to the market.

Rita, a recently retired teacher who lives in Grosvenor, will provide the daily check-ins on weekends and when Alfred is on travel for work.  Instead of getting paid for her work, Rita has use of the parking space.  Rita also teaches yoga in the community room at Grosvenor twice a week.  If they are available, she will ask the young men to help her set up the music or move the chairs.

Pete and Darren: Building Lives

Although they have very different interests and needs, Peter and Darren are looking forward to doing several activities together.  On Wednesdays, they will have dinner with friends at the Bethesda Tasty Diner.  (Red Line Metro.)  On the third Friday of the month, they will go to Studio 3F in Friendship Heights.  (Red Line Metro).  On the last Sunday of the month, Pete has invited Darren to join him for the Young Adults group activity at his church.  (Transportation provided by church members.) And, whenever their schedules permit, Pete and Darren will take Challenge Classes at the Rockville campus of Montgomery College.  (RideOn Bus 46).

Prior to Pete and Darren taking the big step of moving out of their parents’ homes, their parents took the big step of joining ILO and completing the New Futures Initiative Training, provided by Center for Independent Futures® and facilitated by Maedi Tanham Carney.  The parents are committed to the same types of services and philosophy that their adult children will continue to grow and learn.  They have been preparing for move out day for years.  They have special needs trusts (prepared independently of ILO) and have developed their own networks of medical and other professionals to work with their sons.  They still want to stay engaged in their sons’ lives, but how they are engaged will change.  They will continue to work with other ILO parents and eventually ILO employees to build and grow their own personal networks/circle of supports. The goal is for ILO to be part of the personal network that will support Pete’s and Darren’s lives forever and that will outlive their parents. They are not sure exactly what the future will look like, but they know that they are headed in the right direction.  And they are not alone; they are part of an intentional community.

Center for Independent Futures® name and trademarks are used with permission.