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Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month Q&A

Over the years, SUS Developmental Disabilities Services (DD) has gained a reputation and expertise in working with individuals with severe behavioral challenges. This March, in observance of the 25th  National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we want you to join us in helping people living with such challenges work towards greater independence and to reaching their individual potential as members of society.   Below are the answers to some common questions we get asked about people living with developmental disabilities and the services we provide:

Q: I’ve heard about Autism, but what other issues affect people with developmental disabilities?

A: Developmental disabilities are lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairment, manifested prior to the age of 22 (Centers for Disease Control). People with developmental disabilities can have challenges with major life activities such as language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living.

Q: Why is March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month?

A: President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987. This observation is a call to each individual in society to become educated about people with such disabilities and the possibilities that lie within them.

Q: What kind of services does SUS have for people with developmental disabilities?

A: SUS offers a wide range of services for children and adults with developmental disabilities, many of whom have multiple challenges. Comprehensive and targeted services are tailored to the needs and preferences of the individuals. SUS provides services in a variety of settings (community residences, private homes, day and after school programs), that offer opportunities for naturally occurring learning and engagement. Specific services offered include life skills development, employment readiness, medical and nursing services, speech therapy, social work, psychological counseling, recreation and nutrition assistance.

Residential Programs

Supervised group living — a home with 24 hour staffing and supervision (ICF and Supervised IRA);
Supported (“semi-independent”) group living — a home with less than 24-hour staffing and supervision;
Non-Certified Housing Options  — services that assist persons to locate, lease or buy, and access residential arrangements that are alternatives to traditional group living situations (e.g. Individualized Support Services (ISS))

Day Habilitation Programs

SUS operates community-based day habilitation programs. These programs consist of daytime activities including skill development, and prevocational services to people with developmental disabilities. Services vary in the staffing arrangements, locations, and supports they offer based on individual needs, interests, and preferences. The program focuses on reducing barriers to community inclusion and increasing each individual’s practical skills. Our individuals are involved in volunteer activities including “God’s Love We Deliver” (package lunches and deliver to homes), hospital work (cafeteria service and housekeeping), and training at trade shops (e.g. mechanics).

Respite Services (Recreation)

These services are provided during the day, evening, or weekend offering leisure-time and social activities. SUS’ After-School Programs are located in the Bronx, and provide individualized attention and care in the evening Mon-Fri and/or Saturday mornings for children and adolescents.

Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC)

Services focus on assisting people with developmental disabilities to gain access to necessary services and supports within the community appropriate to their needs and life goals. It is provided by qualified service coordinators and uses a person centered process to develop, implement and maintain an Individualized Service Plan (ISP). SUS provides MSC for individuals who live in our residences as well as for individuals who live at home with their families.

Family Support Services

These include a wide variety of services directed at parents, siblings, and other relatives that enhance a family’s capacity to continue caring for a family member with a developmental disability living at home. As part of Family Support Services, SUS administers a Family Reimbursement Program.

Under the Family Reimbursement Program, families apply to SUS for  financial reimbursement for expenses not covered by Medicaid for service needs of their children with developmental disabilities.  Services reimbursed include weekend getaways, babysitting, and medical equipment not covered by Medicaid