Independent Living Advocates assist consumers with individual advocacy issues such as accessing benefits, vocational rehabilitation and other services. Consumers may be interested in advocacy assistance to obtain or maintain education, training, employment, or assistive devices. Our goal is not to replicate existing services, but rather to advocate for effective service delivery that places the participant in control of service delivery that meets his or her needs.
Appalachian Independence Center works to involve participants and other consumers in systems advocacy to make facilities, services, and opportunities available and accessible to all individuals. AIC works with other disability organizations and community members at the local, state and federal legislative levels.
AIC’s goal is to empower people with disabilities to self-advocate for positive changes that will increase independence and make possible full participation in all aspects of the community.
AIC staff members who have disabilities draw upon their own experiences to counsel and encourage others with disabilities. This informed perspective allows for honest exploration of options, setting goals, and solving problems.
AIC’s Independent Living Advocates (ILA) work one-on-one with consumers, establishing goals to achieve independence and develop strategies to reach those goals.
Once those goals are achieved ILAs help to put supports in place to guarantee continued independence.
INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS TRAINING
From decision-making and money management to social skills and self-advocacy, AIC staff members provide individualized instruction. By setting achievable goals and creating custom programs, AIC is able to help people with disabilities master these and other skills.
We work with individuals with disabilities to teach basic tasks that lead to independence such as doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, computer skills, resume formatting, and employment readiness.
INFORMATION & REFERRAL
We provide information on many resources and subjects related to disability and independent living. We can help you find agencies, providers, and information on specific disabilities as well as helping with other resources including:
- Adaptive Technology
- Emergency Assistance Programs
- Home Modifications
- Housing Assistance
- Legal Aid
- Local Government Agencies
- Medicaid Waivers
- Mobility Equipment
- Nursing Homes
- Paratransit Services
- Recreation/Social Activities
- Service Animals
- Support Groups
- And Much More
AIC provides the core services of Independent Living targeted to youth in transition. This can include:
- Providing Information, referral & training to youth & their families about the transition from high school to adult life.
- Teaching of skills that can help make the transition from school to community living as smooth and successful as possible, including various independent living skills such as decision making, budgeting, travel/transit training, social skills, etc.
- Advocating for youth in various situations, including employment networks, vocational rehabilitation services, etc. as well as working with youth to gain the empowerment to become a self-advocate.
- Individuals can receive peer counseling from AIC staff, who draw on their own disabilities to counsel and encourage others, which allows for exploration of options, setting goals and problem solving.
To qualify for AIC’s youth transition services, the individual must:
- Be a youth with a significant disability between 14-24 years old
- Have been eligible for an IEP in school, and
- Have completed their secondary education or are otherwise out of school
*However, any youth or young adults with disabilities who do not meet all of the qualifications may still be provided the same or similar services through our traditional Independent Living core services but would not be considered “transition services” through WIOA.*
Nursing Home Transition/Prevention
AIC provides facilitation of the transition of individuals with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences, with the support of center services.
AIC also provides assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals may remain in the community.
AIC community speakers present programs on disability awareness, the needs and rights of people with disabilities, and the work of AIC. Learning the facts can clear up myths and misconceptions that foster negative stereotypes. This knowledge can have an impact on community attitudes toward accessibility and people with disabilities.
Self-directed, cross disability, and disability-specific support groups meet to discuss their concerns and work together for appropriate solutions.
From providing emotional support and building self-esteem to developing communication and teamwork skills, the groups serve to raise awareness of the needs and rights of people with disabilities in the community.
These groups have a positive impact both in the community and within the group themselves.
AIC removes barriers to independence by improving accessibility and safety for people with disabilities. We assist individuals obtain various housing modifications for accessibility purposes, such as: ramps, grab bars, tub cuts, etc.
AIC has staff members who are trained in ADA accessibility surveys. If you have questions about the accessibility of your agency, building or project, let AIC help along the way.
We can provide training and information on various disability-related legislation and compliance such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, The Rehabilitation Act, Assistive Technology, and Medicaid Waivers, as well as training on disability etiquette and person first language.