When your child turns 21 in Washington State, they are no longer tracked by the local school system. They officially leave school and the classroom. Your childs life graduates from para-educators and therapists to job coaches and case workers. In school you have the IEP. The Individual Education Program. It monitors your childs academic progress and offers goals for the following year.
After graduation, your child becomes eligible to receive state funding or SSI. The state needs a process to insure your child really is disabled and entitled to this money. The SIS - Supports Intensity Scale - was published in 2004 but I don't know when DDD began using it. It is conducted every couple of years and measures your childs need for support in various areas of their life. It covers home life, community living, protection, health care and employment just to name a few. It measures the type of support, the frequency of support and how much time is devoted each day for support.
For instance, health care. Is Elizabeth able to call the doctor and order a perscription refill? 1. Does she need only Monitoring? Verbal prompting? Partial or Full Assistance?
2. Is this support needed at least once a month? Once a week but not once a day?
3. Do we support her in this less than 30 minutes a day? Two to 4 hours a day?
Beth had her assessment on Thursday. It is very detailed and takes almost two hours to complete. The case worker comes to your home, pulls out his or her laptop and the process begins. We have been very blessed with Beth's case workers. Both have been very friendly, patient and understanding of all my questions.
I've been told this assessment is conducted every three years, but this was our second or third year in a row. Not sure why. We agreed that with adults with Down Syndrome, the assessment results won't change dramatically from year to year. Beth's mental abilities, at 25 are not going to change so neither will the type of support she needs. Beth's case worker is now organizing the information and will type up the report. We should receive it in a few weeks.
I'm thankful there are people out there, working to create a process that includes me in the decision making about the type of support my child needs. Now if I can just get them to come clean her room.....