Is Your Family Member with Special Needs Ready to Live Independently?

 March 28, 2014
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Friday, March 28th 2014

Hi everyone! We hope you are all enjoying the first week of spring…and that you haven’t experienced any last minute brushes with winter. Here at M&L, we are definitely ready for some warm weather!

Over the last few weeks, our community living experts have been gearing up for a busy summer filled with planning for, preparing for, and taking the first steps towards developing special needs communities in Montgomery County, Maryland. As many of you know, M&L has partnered with Center for Independent Futures (CIF) to take part in their New Futures Initiatives Training™, and replicate their Community Living Option™ residences in Montgomery County. If you aren’t familiar with this project or with our new status as the East Coast Representative for CIF, please click here to read all about it.

If you are familiar with this project, and/or would like to learn about developing special needs communities, please – read on! In this week’s blog post we will be discussing an important step in the special needs housing journey: determining whether your family member with special needs is ready to live independently. Here at M&L Special Needs Planning, we feel that an important tool to help you determine an individual’s independence readiness is CIF’s Independent Living Readiness Inventory™, or, the ILRI™.

The Independent Living Readiness Inventory™ – What is it?

The Independent Living Readiness Inventory™ (ILRI) was developed by CIF, and is “an integrated evaluation and interactive assessment of a young adult’s daily living skills and experiences.”Essentially, the Inventory is administered by a consultant that has been trained by CIF in assessing and determining an individual’s independence skill set. During the inventory process, the consultant gathers background information on the individual, and observes the individual’s independent living skills through “hands-on, experiential activities.”

Why is the ILRI Important?

CIF describes the ILRI™ as an essential first step towards moving into an independent living setting. Here at M&L, we have to agree. As special needs community living experts, M&L staff are ready and willing to help you and your family member with special needs find independent living and community living options – however, we cannot make an individual ready to live on his or her own. The IRLI™ is an important tool that provides us with an unbiased assessment of an individual’s readiness to live independently – as well, the consultant’s final report provides “a basis for making decisions and creates a blueprint of skills to be learned, experiences to be obtained, or supports to be acquired to ensure a safe and productive independence.”

In other words, this Inventory can be used to determine what work the individual needs to do in order to be ready to live on his or her own, whether it is learning or improving money skills, familiarizing him or herself with public transportation, etc. It also helps the community developers determine the staffing and supports necessary to support the residents in the home, and provides the developers with information that is helpful to matching individuals with other residents that have similar skill sets and support needs.

Keep in mind that the IRLI™ is not only a tool for initial assessment – it can also be used in the long term as a standard by which to gauge future skills development and independent living growth. By using the IRLI™ as a detailed blueprint of an individual’s skills and abilities, we will be able to identify any gaps and make recommendations to improve and maintain his or her existing skill set, as well as any newly acquired skill sets.

M&L’s Montgomery County Community Development Project and the ILRI.

M&L and a core group of five families are going forward with a CLO™-modeled, community development project in Montgomery County. This group has already participated in the first of two training sessions designed to help individuals replicate CIF’s Community Living Option™ (CLO) residences – this training took place on Feb 20th and 21st. The second stage of training will take place on June 5th and 6th. (Note: This group is currently looking for another five families to join in this project. M&L and CIF will deliver the first training session again to interested families – please click here to read about this training, or contact us for more information.)

As the IRLI™ is central to the New Futures Initiative™ and the CLO™ housing model, M&L is currently in the planning stage of hosting the IRLI™ training. We are applying for a grant to have Megan Baer, a CIF trainer for the IRLI™, to travel to the Washington, D.C. area and perform the inventory with two of the core group members. During this process, Megan will also deliver a “train the trainer” program to another core group member. Once this process is complete, M&L and the core group will have its own certified IRLI™ consultant and trainer to complete the assessment on other individuals that have the same desire to live independently.

More Information?

Thank you so much for joining us this week! We find the IRLI™ to be a fascinating process – we hope you do too! If you would like more information on this assessment, or on CIF, its services, or housing models please visit the organization’s website. If you would like to learn about how M&L are implementing CIF’s housing principles in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas then please contact us!

If you are interested in anything regarding special needs communities, or the financial and life planning services that M&L provides, please let us know – we are available to help, and love meeting new people! You may wish to check out our services page, browse through our workshop series, or subscribe to our Independent Living Program and Housing Project database. This database contains over 800 entries of independent living programs and housing options from across the US, as well as a wealth of information related to special needs housing, including funding information, special needs organizations, and advocacy organizations.

Thanks again everyone – have a great weekend!!

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