Integrated Living Opportunities: The Latest Progress Report

May 21st, 2015

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog this week! As always, thank you so much for taking the time to visit our website.

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote and published a blog that was all about our community building non-profit, Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO). In that blog, we briefly outlined the progress that ILO’s Participating Families (PFs) are making with the New Futures Initiative Training™, discussed the community pods that are being developed in Germantown, MD and Washington, D.C., and outlined some of ILO’s future goals.

Since then, we have been pushing forward with our plans and have made even more progress with ILO, including developing a wait list for families who wish to join ILO and take part in the New Futures Initiative training, and working on Center for Independent Futures™ Full Life™ model for the newly developing community pods in Germantown and D.C. Please read on to learn more!

Full Life Model™

As many of our regular readers know, our special needs community development project was inspired by and is still guided by Center for Independent Futures’ New Futures Initiative™ training, and their Community Living Option™ residences. (To read about this in full, please click here). As a part of their housing and support services model, CIF has developed what they have called the Full Life Model™, an approach to housing that is centered in the self-advocate’s “pursuit of a full life.”

The Full Life Model™, as designed by CIF, is “the lens through which we assess each individual”, and incorporates eight essential aspects of a full life: Connections, Fun & Talents, Wellness, Getting Around, Community Engagement, Earning my Way, Lifelong Learning, and My Place.” These eight aspects of life are essential to ensuring that self-advocates are building person-centered, full lives. By following this model, families can help self-advocates verbalize their wishes, identify their goals, and take steps that will allow them to build lives according their own personal hopes and dreams.

The Full Life Model™ is a very important element of the community pods that ILO’s participating families are creating in Germantown and Washington, D.C. It is important to us that our self-advocates feel connected to their own communities, that they are able to make independent decisions, and that they have the tools that will allow them to take control of their own lives. The Full Life Model™, with its attention to all aspects of a well-rounded life (community, employment, recreation, personal space, etc.) ensures that these tools are in place, and provides the support that our self advocates may need as they their build their lives.

One of the aspects that we are paying the most attention to is facilitating connections between all of the self-advocates in the area. Debbie Fickenscher, a member of an ILO participating family and the mother of our first self-advocate to achieve independent living, is spearheading the community pod in Germantown, MD. Debbie is paying particular attention to creating these connections, and ensuring that all self-advocates in the area are connected to each other through the full life model.

If you would like more information on this model, or CIF in general, please visit their website, You may also wish to check out this amazing video on the Full Life Model™. As an added bonus, M&L founder & owner and ILO spearhead Maedi Tanham Carney CFP®, CWIC makes a guest appearance!

Would You Like to Join ILO?

As we mentioned in our last update, the second group of participating families is taking part in the final stage of the New Futures Initiative training in Washington, D.C. on June 5th and 6th. Since this training has been finalized, we have had families contact us that are interested in joining ILO and taking part in this training. As a result of this interest – which, as a side note, is incredibly exciting – we now have a wait list of families that want take part in the New Futures Initiative™ training and begin the process of creating special needs communities for their own family members with disabilities. To learn more, or to be added to the wait list, please contact us.

We feel that ILO and the special needs communities that we are developing – which is integrated, individualized, and sustainable – fills a gap that exists between the need for communities for individuals with disabilities and the communities that currently exist. As well, one of the major benefits of creating a community specifically for your family member or loved one is the fact that it is created with a specific individual in mind – you can control how the community is created, how it is paid for and who lives there, as well as the location. You will also have access to the tools, resources, knowledge and systems of support to ensure that your family member with special needs lives independently and happily now and into the future.

Would You Life More Information?

If you would like more information on ILO, or on communities for special needs in general, please check out our Blog Archive – on the right hand side of our website, there is a drop down menu titled “Blog Categories”, where we have categorized all of our blog posts. Selecting Integrated Living Opportunities or Housing for Individuals with Disability will allow you to access all of our blog posts on either topic. If you are interested in special needs planning in general, you may wish to browse through our other categories – we pride ourselves on being an accurate and relevant source of information on all topics related to special needs. As always, if you have any questions or would just like to talk to us about our different services, please let us know! We would love to hear from you.

Thanks again for stopping by – please join us next week for another ILO update.  Have a great day!

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