Building Person-Centered Organizations
The Person-Centered Organizations and Systems Initiative in TN takes person-centered practice to a higher level by involving all service system participants, from the individual receiving services to direct, management and executive provider personnel, and including the State Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Central and Regional Office staff and Commissioner. Participants regularly attend Leadership Team meetings together to consider improvements to policies and practices that would facilitate services that are person centered. Due to the Council’s project, Tennessee was one of six states chosen to participate in a national Person-Centered Systems Project and has received high accolades for our commitment to this initiative.
The Tennessee MicroboardAssociation (TMA) formed in 2001 to provide support and training to individual microboards across Tennessee. A microboard is a small group of people who have formed a non-profit organization around one person with a disability for the purpose of providing supports and services to that person. For more details, please visit www.tnmicroboards.org.
Human Service Co-ops
Human Service Co-ops provide people with disabilities and their family members an opportunity to have more say in who provides their services, and how those services are provided. Co-op is short for cooperative, and a cooperative is a type of business that brings people together to work and share ideas. The human service co-op is governed by the people using the co-op's services. This is a demonstration project run by the Tennessee Microboard Association (TMA). For more details, please visit www.tnmicroboards.org/hsc.htm.
Next Chapter Book Club
The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) is an innovative project that provides adolescents and adults with disabilities an opportunity to read and socialize with friends. The NCBC model actively promotes literacy learning and social connectedness. The model provides many opportunities for self-advocacy as members decide which book they want to read, how they want to read the book, and how they want to structure or organize their weekly club meetings. You can visit Tennessee's Next Chapter Book Clubs on Facebook by clicking here or searching Next Chapter Book Clubs in Tennessee.
NCBCs are always looking for volunteers and facilitators, as well as new participants to expand our existing book clubs. In order to find out more information on how to get involved, contact your nearest NCBC today!
The Arc of Williamson County
Memphis Center for Independent Living
In January 2010, the Council awarded a competitive grant to Vanderbilt University to create Tennessee’s first campus-based postsecondary program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The two year, non-degree program has become a national model, and offers selected students the opportunity to participate in certain college classes, life skills classes, and career training programs at Vanderbilt and the Tennessee Technology Center. Students continue their education alongside college-age peers, participate in internships on and off campus and receive training to prepare for paid employment. For more information about Next Steps, please visit kc.vanderbilt.edu/site/nextstep/.
Physical exercise and nutrition are significant parts of community life, as well as a vital component of personal health care practices. For many people with developmental disabilities, access to daily physical activities is limited at best. A small grant from the Council funded Project HEALTH, a program of the Sports4All Foundation. Public and private providers (TN Community Rehab Providers, YMCAs, Yoga Studios), the TN Department of Health, local colleges and universities and disability advocacy groups partnered to provide opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to learn about and participate in regular exercise activities. For more information about Project HEALTH and other Sports4All programs, please visit www.s4af.org.
Project Open Wide
A competitive Council grant was awarded to Orange Grove Center in Chattanooga for Project Open Wide, which is in its third year. The project includes the following activities: a dental clinic where dental clinicians demonstrate best practices in serving patients with developmental disabilities; internships for dental hygienists and visiting dentists to receive hands-on experience in treating patients with developmental disabilities; training for direct support professionals who provide assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities in proper dental hygiene; and dispelling the myth that sedation dentistry is required for a person who has developmental disabilities.
Project Opportunity is job training and placement program for adults with job barriers. Project Opportunity, based at Vanderbilt University's Children's Hospital, provides on-site job training and employability skills training. The ultimate goal is to assist adults with disabilities find and maintain meaningful, competitive-wage employment at Vanderbilt Hospital, at Vanderbilt University, or in the general community. Tennessee's Project Opportunity is modeled after Project SEARCH at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. For more information about Project Opportunity, please visit http://www.childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/projectopportunity.
Tennessee Disability Megaconference
The Council is a primary sponsor of the annual Disability MegaConference that draws over 600 professionals and private citizens from Tennessee communities to hear expert presentations on education, health, employment, housing, and other areas. Participants have opportunities to engage in discussions about issues and together explore ideas to improve services. For more information, please visit www.tndisabilitymegaconference.org.
Tennessee Employment Consortium
Over the past five years the TN Employment Consortium, through grants and leadership from the Council, increased employment of service recipients of the Division on Intellectual Disabilities from 3% to 24%. During the past year, the Council convened several study groups to figure out how to move employment statistics to the next level. In all cases, modest and short term grants are used to bring in expertise and training to help Tennessee more efficiently use government funds for employment development and training. For more information about TEC and other employment initiatives, click here.
Visitability/EasyLiving Homes of TN
Visitability means that a house has characteristics that allow ease in entering and moving about the house. These conveniences are useful in a number of situations: pushing a baby stroller, moving heavy items in and out of the house, welcoming a visitor, older family member or a neighbor who has a physical disability or is frail. EasyLiving Homes of TN is a partnership between the Council, ARCH, Inc., of Johnson City, and a working group of public and private organizations, including TN Housing Development Agency (THDA), AARP of TN, Tennessee homebuilders and realtors, who have adopted standards for ‘visitable’ homes, certified over 500 homes statewide and have 18 Tennessee homebuilders and related businesses that are affiliated with the EasyLiving Homes of TN organization.
Tennessee Housing Development Agency is now the administrator of this program.