Day Support Programs for the Intellectually Disabled: A Quick Overview
For many adults with Intellectual disabilities, finding activities during the day can be a challenge after high school graduation. In many cases, lack of funding is the biggest barrier to obtaining services. Unfortunately, many day support programs require Medicaid Waiver funding. This funding may require placement on a waiting list depending on the state. People can remain on the list for over 10 years in some cases. Parents often struggle to maintain employment due to having to provide supervision at home for their adult children.
Parents sometimes have to leave their adult children with disabilities at home alone for extended periods of time. This can be a scary situation for parents and caregivers. When work is not an option, clients and case managers turn to day support programs to provide a safe place for socialization and community activities.
What Day Programs Provide
Center-Based Activities- Day support programs can provide a number of center- based activities. Day Support programs are typically set up in a number of different rooms. These rooms are usually organized to have people with similar levels of disability be in the same area.
Many programs have rooms for specific activities such as a game room or a computer room. I have even seen day programs with a salon set up for spa days. Some of the primary center-based activities include:
Arts and Crafts
Reading and Writing
Special Parties for holidays
Community-Based Activities- Day support also provide opportunities for community integration. Community –based programs spend most of their day engaged in community activities. Center- based programs still tend to go out at a minimum around twice a week. Community based activities often consist of some of the following:
Transportation- Some programs provide their own transportation services. This means that the program picks the clients up from their homes and transports them back home in the evening. This transportation is in addition to transportation to and from various activities. Clients and families enjoy this additional services because transportation is much more reliable.
Socialization- Day programs provide opportunities for daily socialization outside of the group home and/or everyday family members. Day support programs offer a great alternative for those that are not able to work due to their level of disability.
Skill Development- Day programs help the participants develop a number of skills including academic skills and independent living skills. Day programs often provide a continuation of skills learned in high school so they don’t lose them.
Job Development Skills- Some programs also provide help with skills to transition to supported employment or competitive employment. Day programs can also provide support with filling out applications and developing skills to move toward pre-vocational programs if available.