Seeking professional mental help can be an incredible journey. It takes a significant amount of vulnerability to show your true self to a therapist, especially if you have never been to therapy before. The therapeutic experience is not only there to give you the safe space to be your true authentic self, but to give you the support and tools to process through and learn from daily stressors, trauma, addiction and more. When first seeking therapy, there are several types that you can participate in all with their own unique individual benefits: individual, family and group. Yet, which one would fit best for your needs?
Individual Therapy Individual therapy is the most common that you hear about whether it is from someone close to you in your life or watching it on an episode of the Sopranos. Individual therapy is what is in the name, one on one session with the professional therapist. It can encompass several different theories including, but not limited to, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused brief therapy and emotionally-focused therapy. Individual therapy is there to give you undivided support. The therapist works with you to help develop coping skills and increase your awareness of effectively working through challenges and gaining new skills. While attending individual therapy, you are given the personal space for you to focus on your own needs and recognize your own individual strengths.
Family Therapy Family or couples therapy is used to build upon and learn new skills from a mental health therapist to apply in your relationship. Family therapy can range from treating friendships to families. The client in family therapy is not an individual member, but it is the entire system. To work through the challenges and stressors, all members need to be partaking in for family therapy to be truly effective. The goal of going to family therapy is to foster a space that engages the system in open communication and support to all members. This can be achieved by the therapist encouraging the system to communicate with one another in place of talking to the therapist about others. By doing so, the members are better able to see the patterns within their relationship that may contribute to the challenges and stressors.
Group Therapy Group therapy is a modality of therapy that involves one or more therapists working with multiple clients at the same time. Group therapy gives you the opportunity to share and process similar experiences with other clients in the room. It is a place that can instill hope, solidarity and catharsis from being able to share your concerns with the support from other group members. Groups typically have a theme in order to be applied to a wide variety of needs (interpersonal, psychodynamic, support etc.). The benefit of group therapy is that it can help one feel that they are not alone in the world and develop communication skills for when there may be conflict with others.
Individual, family and group therapy can be used individually and in tandem. It is important to be able to receive individual support to see your own strengths and to also to be able to find solidarity within your community. To discover what modality of therapy works best for your needs, please consult with a professional mental health therapist to help you on your search.
What is the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The American’s with Disabilties Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. It was signed into law on July 26th, 1990 by president George H.W Bush.
What does the ADA do?
The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. These five titles include the following:
Title I (Employment): Equal Employment Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities
Title I is designed to help people with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees. A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable an applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.
Title II (State and Local Government): Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services
Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. It applies to all state and local governments, their departments and agencies of state or local governments. It also establishes detailed standards for the operation of public transit systems.
Title III (Public Accommodations): Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities
Title III prohibits private places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Examples of public accommodations include privately-owned or operated facilities like hotels, restaurants, retail, doctor’s offices, golf courses, private schools, day care centers, health clubs, fitness centers, sports stadiums, movie theaters, etc. This title sets the minimum standards for accessibility for alterations and new construction of facilities. It also requires public accommodations to remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense such as adding in a ramp when there are only stairs. This title directs businesses to make "reasonable modifications" to their usual ways of doing things when serving people with disabilities. It also requires that they take steps necessary to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities. All of this is regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Title IV (Telecommunications)
Title IV requires phone and internet companies to provide a nationwide system of telecommunications relay services that allows individuals with hearing and speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone. Such as visual interpreters for hearing impaired individuals. This title also requires closed captioning of federally funded public service announcements. This title is regulated by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).
Title V (Miscellaneous Provisions)
The final title contains a variety of provisions relating to the ADA as a whole, including its relationship to other laws, state immunity, its impact on insurance providers and benefits, prohibition against retaliation and coercion, illegal use of drugs etc. This title also provides a list of certain conditions that are not to be considered as disabilities.
Has the ADA been updated in the last 20 years?
In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.” The changes in the definition of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA.
This question is at the forefront of everyone’s mind when the option for disability services are presented to people. There are a few steps that have to happen in Colorado.
Step 1: Become eligible through your local Community Center Board (CCB):
CCB’s provide case management services for those receiving disability services. CCBs are determined by region and county of residence; you can see which CCB covers your region here: Community Center Boards. Once you meet with your CCB you will complete paperwork and go through the intake assessments. From there you will receive confirmation of enrollment typically within 1 to 3 months of beginning the intake process.
Step 2: Enroll in a HCBS Waiver:
Your next step is enrolling in a HCBS waiver, in Colorado Many waivers may have a waitlist. Options for immediate enrollment are the Children’s Extensive Support Waiver (CES) and the Supported Living Services (SLS) waiver. In crisis or emergency situations there are processes to bypass the waitlist to be placed on the Children’s Habilitation Residential Program Waiver (CHRP) or the Developmental Disabilities Waiver (DD).
You can learn more information about the waivers here: Programs for Individuals with Physical or Developmental Disabilities.
Step 3: Choose a Program Approved Service Agency (PASA):
After you have enrolled in a waiver you will meet with your newly assigned case manager to start the request for proposal (RFP) process. Individuals are able to send out a detailed request for the services they are looking for to meet their needs. PASAs (service agencies) will reply with their ability to meet the needs of the proposal. Individuals can then interview providers who responded to make an informed choice about who they would like to work with. They can work with different agencies for different services.
There is no requirement to choose only one agency! For more information about available PASA’s you can visit: PASAs of Colorado.
Step 4: Start Services!
The last step is starting services! Finding the best fit agency for the services you want may take some time, but regular communication with your case manager can help tailor the right fit for you.
We invite you to learn more about Sample Supports!
What is Day Program?
Through Colorado Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program agencies offer a wide array of Day Program services. Day Program options allow individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities to gain access to their community in a structured manner to increase skills and develop relationships.
Types of Day Program
There are two main types of day program options in Colorado on the SLS and DD HCBS waivers- Specialized Habilitation and Supported Community Connections. Individuals on the SLS and DD waivers may choose which option best fits their needs and goals.
Specialized Habilitation is often identified as a site-based day program. In Specialized Habilitation, individuals attend a day program at a location and engage in learning based activities. These activities may vary from program to program, but often individuals engage in group based learning activities. These activities are individual centered to develop specific skills.
Specialized Habilitation programs may include classes or activities such as art, cooking, money management and other activities of daily living.
Supported Community Connections
Supported Community Connections is often identified as a community based day program. In Supported Community Connections, individuals attend activities with a group of peers in the community. The main purpose of Supported Community Connections is to help individuals develop meaningful connections within their community. Through structured activities, staff support individuals to engage with their communities and increase their connections with others.
Supported Community Connection programs may include structured activities in the community such as volunteering, bowling, community classes or other classes to build an individual’s skills and meaningful connections.
Sample Supports Day Program
Sample Supports offers Supported Community Connections Day Program options in Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins and Denver. Our structured programming offers individuals opportunities to connect with peers, community members and gain meaningful life experiences.
Sample Supports offers structured day program opportunities with skills and trained staff. Our mission is to support individuals with all skill levels to increase independence, decrease problem behavior and ensure each individual has access to their community.
What makes a good Foster parent?
There are so many different qualities of a person who makes a good foster parent. The most important part is wanting to be a foster parent. Foster parents come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences so each situation will be unique and different in it’s own way.
Some of the key characteristics of a good foster parent are outlined here, but remember every situation is different and the main factor is the wants and needs of the child.
Empathy is one of the most important qualities of a foster parent. You want to acknowledge the child’s pain, be open about your feelings and model that for children.There is typically a long adjustment period for children who have been thrown into a new environment. You may not know or understand all that they’ve been there, so simply being present is very important, whether they utilize you for comfort at the moment or not. You also want to show gratitude to the child for being vulnerable with you. All while showing a genuine interest in their lives, encouraging them, and being supportive.
The foster care experience can be challenging, not only for children but for their caregivers and case workers alike. Historical behaviors creep up, children may try and sabotage because they’re unfamiliar with any outcome aside from negative ones. Children may engage in problem behaviors simply to get some attention.
The key here is being able to stick through the challenging/testing behaviors and see the child through.
We can never really predict the behavior of any person exactly, so it’s safe to say that being a foster parent requires some adaptability. Sometimes plans need to change, and sometimes we end up supporting through really challenging times that we thought were perfectly planned out. In the foster world, nothing goes as planned, so being adaptable is crucial.
Willingness to Support the Child
This means not only in providing them a home/family environment but also supporting them in their activities, their relationships, their religious experiences, their sexuality, their hobbies etc.
Your home may only be a chapter in their story, and you want to provide some stability and support during this hard time. This helps children develop their self-identity and is a crucial part of their development.
Many, if not most, foster children have endured immeasurable amounts of trauma, especially in being removed from their homes. Understanding that the child will need time to adjust to their new environment is crucial. The child may also engage in challenging behaviors, and a patient, loving foster parent is vital in helping the child navigate these.
Do you think you are ready to support a child?
Learn more about becoming a foster parent at https://www.samplesupports.com/foster-care.html
What is a host home provider?
A host home provider (HHP) is someone who is passionate about supporting others in their daily lives, specifically, adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Host home providers are responsible for ensuring that the individual in services basic needs are met including, but not limited to: providing meals, ensuring the individual’s hygiene is maintained, supporting the individual with their medical needs, and working with the individual to increase their independent skills so that they can be an active member of the community.
The environment is very flexible and person centered. With this, you can be a single provider in a 2 bedroom apartment supporting someone, or you, could have your own family with an extra bedroom in your home.
Each individual has different wants and needs and we work with you to find the best match for your lifestyle!
Supporting someone in your home, also comes with the responsibility of ensuring their care needs are met 24/7. Don’t worry though, we have services and supports to help ensure you get the break you need in order to be successful!
To qualify to serve an individual in their home they must meet the following requirements: 21 years of age or older, pass criminal and driving background checks, have room within their home to provide the individual in services with their own space.
From there, providers will work with their residential team to complete necessary documentation and trainings, which includes CPR/First Aid, QMAP for medication administration, Blood Borne Pathogens Training, and Non-Violent Crisis Interventions for verbal and physical de-escalation techniques.
How much do host home providers make in Colorado?
Providers do not work with individuals to get just a paycheck, rather they are making a long term investment in supporting individuals in increasing their quality of life through learning more skills and integrating with their surrounding community.
Though we do understand that with these many responsibilities, compensation is an important aspect to be able to provide quality care. Many HHPs do not have out of the home jobs, not because they do not have time to, but because they receive competitive compensation which provides them financial freedom to stay home.
Services are paid to providers through daily rates referred to as difficulty of care payments, the best part of this payment is that qualifies as tax free income!
The services and supports that a Host Home Provider is expected to provide can vary widely based on the needs of the individual in services. Individuals’ needs may include support ranging from hands on assistance to reminders with tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication administration, behavior support, and accessing the community.
Compensation for the provider is determined based on a standard assessment administered through the state called a Support Intensity Scale (SIS). The SIS assessment is administered by a certified professional, and results in a SIS score between 1–6 that determines the daily residential daily rate for the individual. Host Home Providers receive compensation based on this SIS level that can range from an estimated $1390/month-$4830/month.
Room & Board
In addition to the daily rate, individuals in services may receive Social Security benefits which are used in part to make a monthly Room & Board payment to their Host Home Provider. This amount is evaluated by the Social Security Administration on an annual basis. In 2021 this amount is $700.
With the compensation received, Host Home Providers are expected to provide all necessary supports to the individual to ensure their residential needs are met, including providing meals to the individual, and to support individuals in accessing additional services, medical visits, and engaging in their community.
Interested in taking the next step? Apply to become a provider here: https://www.samplesupports.com/become-a-host-home-provider.html
What is behavior analysis?
When people think of behavior analysis, they typically think of the old fashioned mouse and water experiment. Behavior analysis has come a long way over the years, and the principle behind that study has only strengthened and evolved over time. Today, behavior analysis simply refers to the science of behavior. The idea is to improve the human condition through behavior change.This can be applied across populations of individuals, and is primarily used within the educational setting and behavioral health treatment setting.
Behaviorism, which may also be known as behavior psychology, looks at the behavior as a response to environmental stimuli. Within behaviorism, we utilize classical and operant conditioning as a means to learn new behaviors. An important thing to remember from this specific branch is the idea that this focuses on the ways in which environmental factors influence behavior.
Experimental Behavior Analysis
Experimental behavior analysis is a process of analysis that allows us to predict and control behaviors through operant conditioning techniques by establishing functions relations between antecedents and behaviors.This specific approach is both inductive and data-driven by nature.
Applied Behavior Analysis
The process of applied behavior analysis begins with assessing the functional relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment. This specific applied science is devoted to developing certain procedures to produce observable behavior changes. Some of the key components of this scientific approach include understanding the following components: environment, reinforcement, punishment, and extinction. It is also important to note some of the most commonly used interventions within ABA which include: task analysis, chaining, prompting, fading, generalization, and shaping.
Behavior Analysis in the Field
The use of ABA services are primarily used in the field of working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Specific times when ABA becomes a necessity include when an individual has deficits in adaptive behaviors, has slow rates of learning, and have behavior disorders that interfere with learning, or if they have behavior disorders that place themselves or others at risk.
Now that you have a better understanding of all of the wonderful things that behavior services entail, there is nothing stopping you from enriching the lives of anyone you know who is struggling. ABA services are widely available, all it takes is reaching out getting the process going!
Learn more at www.samplesupports.com
What exactly is therapy?Have you considered therapy, but unsure of what exactly it means to get started?
Learn more about what you actually do in therapy — and how you can adapt each intervention to meet your needs.
What do I do in Therapy?
There are so many different Therapists out there, how do I pick!?There are many types of therapists! Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), Licensed Addiction Counselors (LACs) are all trained professionals who can address different problems.
LPCs and LCSWs usually specialize in individual treatment, working with people one on one. They may also run therapy groups for people to connect with others going through similar experiences. LMFTs specialize in the area of families and couples and work through issues related to those aspects. LACs focus on treating substance use disorders and challenges related to substance use.
What do I do next?It is important to do research on the type of therapist you want to work with!
Do you want a male or female? What are the issues you are wanting to address? Do the therapists have a speciality training that you think sounds interesting?
Most therapists offer a free consultation before you start, so you have a chance to see if you would be a good fit. You can always switch too!
Sometimes you won’t find the best fit on the first try, but don’t be discouraged, just like finding a doctor you feel comfortable with, finding a therapist that you are comfortable with is extremely important.
How Many People Live with Disabilities?
According to the CDC, there are approximately 61 million people in the United States, or nearly 1 in 4 people, living with disabilities. Those living with disabilities can experience many effects, in all areas of their lives. Without education and campaigns to raise awareness, people living in the US may continue to live unaware of the challenges and effects people living with disabilities may face on a daily basis.
Historically, individuals living with disabilities in the United States have been stigmatized, segregated or denied choice in educational opportunities, employment opportunities and living in community settings.
Raising awareness for people with disabilities is critical in continuing to ensure each person regardless of their level of need receives the care and support they need in their community.
What is Disability Awareness?
Disability awareness and education brings barriers and potential negative attitudes individuals living with disabilities may face to the forefront. Over the last decades in the United States, there have been many changes and progress has been made to end prejudice that surrounds disabilities.
But, more change needs to occur to end ongoing barriers and negative attitudes individuals with disabilities face.
Sample Supports staff believes the more we educate, advocate and raise awareness the better and more inclusive our communities will become.
Sample Supports Mission
At Sample Supports we know each individual has unique needs and we work with teams and communities across Colorado to ensure the success of each individual in our care. Sample Supports works to recognize people for their abilities, not their disabilities.
Our programs and staff work each day to ensure individualized services and supports developed to meet the needs of each person. Our teams work with communities, schools, police departments and many other organizations to educate on disabilities and disability services. Through this outreach, we partner with our communities to ensure inclusivity.
Most importantly, we support each individual to be their own best advocate. There is no service delivery without the individual themselves being in full control and power of their wants and needs. Person-centered practices are critical to ensure each person with disabilities is treated with dignity, respect, and self-worth.
The Why Behind the Work
We believe that every individual, regardless of ability or disability, deserves the same opportunities everyone else has. We do not shy away from hard work to ensure each individual is successful, fulfilled and happy living in their community.
At Sample Supports, we recognize that historically those living with disabilities have faced many hurdles and are committed each day to breaking those barriers. Our goal is to offer a network of support and connection to help individuals feel empowered to take the lead in their own choices and outcomes.
The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
Interested in learning more? Find out more about our mission and service options at www.samplesupports.com.
Why is Autism considered a spectrum condition?
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is considered to be a spectrum condition due to the variety of symptoms and severity of these symptoms that can occur. We know that ASD occurs across the board of genders, ethnicities and socioeconomic status. Every person diagnosed with ASD has to meet diagnostic criteria according to DSM-5 — a diagnostic tool used by a variety of professionals during assessments.
To meet that criteria a person must have persistent deficits in each of three areas of social communication and interaction plus at least two of four types of restricted, repetitive behaviors. The impact of these deficits is then determined by the severity. Some people may have more severe repetitive behaviors, and less severe communication deficits while others may have severe deficits in both.
With such a wide variety of potential impacts it was determined that ASD is a spectrum. In short, a spectrum disorder really just means that two individuals with the same diagnosis can have a vastly different presentation and experience.
Why is Autism a spectrum?
Prior to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) update in 2013, Autism was broken out into different categories including Asperger's, Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disability.
Autism was known as the more “classic” version with extreme delays and severity of behaviors. Asperger's was classified as the “mild” version, presenting as someone who had particular interests and less communication difficulties. Pervasive developmental disability was reserved for those who had even “milder” symptoms or did not hit all of the criteria, but still had challenges in communication.
During the update process, the psychologists who develop the DSM-5 decided that the best fit for these diagnoses were to put them together as one spectrum disorder instead of three separate entities in order to best capture the wide variety and overlap in symptoms that we see.
When is Autism diagnosed?
Typically Autism is diagnosed in early childhood. As children progress and miss certain developmental milestones, or start exhibiting behaviors such as fixation on certain topics they may be referred to a specialist for testing.
Since Autism is a spectrum the level of severity also determines whether or not someone gets the proper testing and it may go undiagnosed for a long time. This is especially common in females, who tend to have diagnoses later on in life then males.
Who does Autism affect?
Autism can affect anyone, it has been seen consistently across genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status.
However we see more boys than girls being diagnosed with Autism as a trend that is not yet fully understood by the scientific world. This could be due to the trend we mentioned earlier about females being diagnosed with ASD later in life, but does not fully account for the discrepancy.
Are Autism and ADHD related?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and ASD can look very similar to each other. Children and Adults with either condition can have problems focusing, be impulsive or difficulty communicating. Although they share many of the same symptoms, the two are distinct conditions.
ASD can affect language skills, behavior, social interactions, and the ability to learn. ADHD impacts the way someone’s brain grows and develops. Someone can have both ASD and ADHD co-occurring, and they are often diagnosed alongside each other.
What are the causes of Autism?
It isn’t known what “causes” ASD yet, however many scientists believe that it is a combination of biological, environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to the development of ASD. These all increase the risk of developing autism but increased risk does not mean cause. Not everyone with these risk factors will develop ASD, but they have been shown in cases of ASD.
Can Autism be cured?
The process of receiving a diagnosis can be overwhelming to the individual and those around them. Often people deem a diagnosis as a limiting factor or indicator that a person will have less opportunities for a typical life trajectory. This leaves people searching for a cure or solution — while it may be challenging to receive a diagnosis, autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities are do not mean a person cannot live a full and successful life.
With that, Autism cannot be “cured” — but with proper intervention we can support individuals with ASD in improving their social and communication deficits or other behavioral needs.
Learn more about all that our behavior program can offer here! https://www.samplesupports.com/behavior-program.html