Policies & Practices
Our supports are "hands off," meaning we do not use physical interventions to coerce anyone to do anything. Of course, common sense applies in overtly dangerous situations. Staff are encouraged to react as they would to protect a friend or family member (e.g., if a person is about to walk in front of a moving vehicle, fall off a cliff, be attacked by a person or animal, etc., staff are trusted to try to stop physical harm while keeping themselves safe).
We do not believe in the use of physical restraint or seclusion.
Dignity of Risk
We believe in honoring each person's right to make informed decisions. Sometimes these choices come with inherent risk (e.g., if a person goes skiing s/he may fall and hurt him/herself, if a person invests money s/he may lose money, etc.). We help to inform people of pros and cons, and then support them in determining an acceptable level of risk. With this information, each person is supported in making his or her own decisions. We believe risk is an inherent part of learning, exploring, and becoming an autonomous person.
Presumption of Competence
We believe that all people are capable of learning, and want to learn. We know that spoken language does not equal intelligence.
"Assume that a [person] has intellectual ability, provide opportunities to be exposed to learning, assume the [person] wants to learn and assert him or herself in the world. To not presume competence is to assume that some individuals cannot learn, develop, or participate in the world." - Douglas Biklen
Least Dangerous Assumption
We support meaningful, age appropriate opportunities to learn, grow, and explore. We believe all people benefit from these opportunities, regardless of each person's ability to speak or "prove" what s/he learned.
"In 1984, Anne Donnellan, a respected researcher in special education, wrote that “the criterion of least dangerous assumption holds that in the absence of conclusive data, educational decisions ought to be based on assumptions which, if incorrect, will have the least dangerous effect on the likelihood that [people] will be able to functional independently as adults.” Furthermore, she concluded “we should assume that poor performance is due to instructional inadequacy rather than to [person] deficits.” In other words, if a [person] does not do well, the quality of the instruction should be questioned before the [person's] ability to learn." - Cheryl Jorgensen
We do not believe in congregate services, and instead support people in engaging in their own communities. Individualized supports are developed by working with each client and his/her team, with may include his/her family, friends, service providers, community members, and/or others. When providing group supports (e.g, AAC groups, tutoring groups, Kindling Studios, etc.), the people attending are self-selected, and have chosen to experience parts of their lives with others who have similar goals and challenges.