The Independent Living Center of Eastern Indiana (ILCEIN), like all other Centers for Independent Living, is required by federal law to offer four “core” services. These services are advocacy, information and referral, peer mentoring and independent living skills.
Advocacy Services provided by the Center occur in two categories: individual and systemic.
Individual advocacy services are designed to help individuals and families become aware of, and then understand the nature of, the services that exist for persons with disabilities. Sometimes awareness and understanding can be handled by a telephone call or referral. When issues may be complicated or involve a number of other organizations or groups, one of the Center’s staff may also be available in order to accompanying a person or a family member to an appointment or meeting where the focus will be on the consumer.
Ultimately it is the intention of Center staff to help the person with a disability acquire the skills that allow them to advocate for themselves or their family members.
Systemic advocacy is the other aspect of the Center’s advocacy services. From time to time communities or business organizations unwittingly create situations that prevent persons with disabilities from participating in normal life experiences. When those circumstances occur, the Center works with community leaders and officials within government to develop plans or strategies that improve choices and foster inclusion for persons with disabilities.
Information and Referral Services assist individuals who have questions or concerns, seek clarification, or perhaps need additional guidance about how to access available programs and services. Information and Referral is the only service offered by the Center that may be provided to any person, whether or not the individual has a disability. Generally issues covered by information or referrals are handled over the telephone when an individual calls the center, or stops in for a visit and asks to speak with a service coordinator.
Some examples of information and referral activities include questions about accessing social services, persons searching for help in making their home accessible, individuals looking for peer support groups, or individuals who have a family member who will soon be returning home from an institutional or long care setting and may need help accessing services for their loved one.
Peer Mentoring services enables persons with disabilities to learn from the life experiences of other persons with disabilities. There are two distinct approaches that may be taken by Center staff regarding peer support. In one approach, peer support groups may be organized and facilitated by Center staff. In other circumstances, Center staff may actually arrange to connect an individual with a disability with an existing group of peers. In either case, the goal is to provide the consumer with opportunities to gain expertise from others, share experiences and live and function more independently.
Independent Living Skills assist persons with disabilities in their efforts to learn new
ways to perform routine tasks required in daily living. Since disabilities don’t come with an owner’s manual, persons who are facing the recent onset of a disabling condition may have to readjust to even the most routine daily living activities. This may include instruction in personal care, coping, financial management, social skills and household management.
Living skills training can occur in countless settings in the home or out in the community. For example, persons experiencing challenges because of low vision may require mobility training in home and community based settings. Services for persons with low vision may require kitchen and appliance modification, installation of adaptive technology like CCTV monitors, magnifiers or scanners. For others facing the challenges of limited mobility, training and skill building in negotiating public or private transportation, access to community based shopping venues, or in-the-home transfers from a wheel chair to the bathtub require intense training settings.
Two additional aspects of independent living skills are Transition or Diversion. The Independent Living Center believes that, to the greatest extent possible, individuals and families should be able to reside in the community of their choice and in the housing setting that works best for the individual with a disability.
Transition: To demonstrate its belief in transition, the Independent Living Center of Eastern Indiana devotes resources to assisting individuals and their families in making the transition from an institutional or long term care setting back to life in the community—in short, helping to prepare for a homecoming. These efforts might entail working with a family or organization in order to help make a residence accessible for a person now using a wheelchair or facing other mobility challenges. It may also include working with a landlord or property manager in order to make accommodations or modifications to an already leased apartment or home.
Diversion: Persons with disabilities, or those facing the reality of growing older and facing the challenges connected to reduced mobility or vision may, at some point, contemplate the need for long term or institutional care. The Independent Living Center commits resources in order to help families or organizations explore natural, community- based supports. These supports will allow the individual to remain in their home or apartment with appropriate services or supports. These efforts may include helping families explore the social service support system or working directly with volunteers or organizations in order to provide the wraparound services needed for a particular living situation.
In summary: The Independent Living Center of Eastern Indiana offers these four “core” services through its two major program initiatives, Independent Living (IL), and Chapter 2. As the name implies, the IL program works exclusively with our services as they relate to enabling independent living. The Chapter 2 program is devoted to serving persons 55 years of age or older who are experiencing difficulties with their vision. Besides the services identified under our various categories, ILCEIN may be able to provide its consumers mini-grants which can be used to offset the costs of adaptive technology or mobility devices.