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Allen Selby: Empowering An Independent Life

Submitted By: Susan Arwood, Core Services of Northeast Tennessee

When Carl was in his late 30’s, he did not feel that life was going well for him. He was living alone in an apartment receiving just a few hours of support, while experiencing serious medical and mental health issues. Carl was given the option of moving into supported living through Core Services of Northeast Tennessee, and chose to do so. Our organization is committed to empowering people with intellectual disabilities to live a shared vision of a valued life in connection with family, friends, and community life.

For the past 5 years, Allen Selby has been one of the Direct Support Professionals working at Core Services of Northeast Tennessee, providing supports for Carl. Allen, who had completed a 4-day Personal Outcome Measures® Workshop, was able to explore the indicators most important to Carl:

  • People Choose Where and With Whom They Live
  • People Exercise Rights
  • People Interact with Others in the Community
  • People Have Friends

Following the Personal Outcome Measures® conversation and several Person-Centered Planning meetings, Carl was able to share what was and was not working in his life. Because this process, many positive changes occurred for Carl with supports from Allen.

He wanted a new job working indoors because he did not enjoy working outside in extreme weather conditions. A year passed, and a new job opening materialized for Carl. At Carl’s request, Allen accepted a job coach assignment to work with Carl. Carl was supported in finding employment in industry, packaging car parts. The job was 40 hours per week, and he liked having money available to him so he could access it when he wanted and spend it how he wanted.

He was also aggravated by his housemates and he was clear in his desire to move out on his own. He had a specific housing dream – a trailer in a trailer park. Allen was right by Carl’s side when Carl went trailer shopping and found an older, but well-maintained trailer park near his work. Through his new employment, Carl was able to put down a deposit on the home and signed a lease.

An enabling technology provider was identified and supports were placed in Carl’s home, giving him the support he desired to live more independently. Allen became a technology champion to do his part in supporting Carl’s independent life. A video doorbell was installed in his home, which allows him to talk to a visitor verbally prior to opening his door. Stove-guard technology sends a notification when the stove is turned on and off, as well as if it is left on for a long period of time up to an hour. A smoke detector with audio alert sends a voice message to Carl and a phone call to Allen. Carl also wears a panic-sensor watch, which allows him to press a button and send a text message to Allen in the case of an emergency.

Over the past 5 months, Allen has been right by Carl’s side, but only to the extent Carl needed him or wanted him to be. Allen supports Carl in being successful at work, living alone in his dream home, and making friends in the community. People who know Carl report that he is happier than they have ever seen him. He has developed an entire network of friends at work. He enjoys a social life attending movies, concerts, and wrestling events. Allen, when he is off work, picks up Carl several times a week to attend different events and activities. Ten years ago, Carl’s attempt to live alone seemed impossible because of health and safety concerns. Today, the supports in the background of Carl’s successful independent life is Allen Selby.

Carl’s success in achieving these goals has been the subject of two videos published by the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (TN DIDD):

2018 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week

This article is part of a campaign during the 2018 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, to acknowledge Direct Support Professionals who are helping people achieve their individually-defined outcomes, through the use of Personal Outcome Measures®. This campaign was developed through a partnership between CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership and The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).