Welcome to Bridges of Indiana's Blog!

Welcome to Bridges of Indiana's Blog!

Founded in 2000 by a mother who has a child with autism, Bridges of Indiana is an agency that provides services for individuals with disabilities as well as the aging population. These services include residential services, community habilitation servicse, respite services, music therapy, recreational therapy, behavioral management, and employment services. Bridges of Indiana primarily performs these services in the home and in the community. Dedicated to providing quality services, this agency believes in individualism and independence.

This blog will be used in several different ways; to update the disability population on Indiana legislature, provide informaiton to Bridges of Indiana employees, give insight into the agency, along with several other important information.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The State of Indiana Makes Many Changes to Medicaid Waiver Program

On September 1, 2012, the State of Indiana completely changed up the Waiver Program. Below you will find the main points pertaining to the changes. For more information, please visit our website at www.bridgesofindiana.com. If you have any questions, contact Rick at 812-881-1220.

The following are the changes being made to the Medicaid Waiver Program:
·   The Support Services Waiver will be replaced with a new Family Supports Waiver and the Developmental Disabilities and Autism Waivers will be replaced and combined into the Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver.
·   The Family Supports Waiver will be used as the basic entry point to receive waiver services.
·   The Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver will be used as a "Needs Based" waiver only for people who meet specific criteria.
·   Individuals who are on a waiting list for the DD, Autism, or Support Services Waivers will be targeted for the new Family Supports Waiver based on their earliest date of application.
·   Individuals who currently receive services through the DD or Autism Waiver will be transitioned onto the Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver.

FSSA is sensitive to the fact that there are people who have been waiting for years for supports who are near the top of the DD Waiver waiting list. They plan to work with these individuals on a case-by-case basis to determine if they would receive the Family Supports Waiver or the Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver as they come off of the current DD Waiver waiting list.

The new Family Supports Waiver will:
·   Increase the waiver budget cap from $13,500 to $16,250 and increase flexibility in how an individual's Medicaid Waiver budget can be used.
·   Add Participant Assistance and Care as a new waiver service to provide a new level of support to an individual either in the family home or in an individual's own home.
·   Services available under the Family Supports Waiver include: Adult Day Services, Case Management, Prevocational Services, Respite, Supported Employment Follow Along, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Psychological Therapy, Speech/Language Therapy, Behavioral Support Services, Community Based Habilitation – Group & Individual, Facility Based Habilitation – Group & Individual, Facility Based Support Services, Family and Caregiver Training, Intensive Behavioral Intervention, Music Therapy, Participant Assistance and Care, Personal Emergency Response System, Recreational Therapy, Specialized Medical Equipment and Supplies, Transportation, & Workplace Assistance

Changes to Case Management: The following four entities will be available to provide case management as a waiver services: Advocacy Links, LLC- 574-229-5065, The Columbus Organization- 610-592-0292, IPMG- 317-585-5944, Unity of Indiana- 317-458-0113

Friday, June 29, 2012

Message from Gina Soulier in the Therapy Department:

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you several exciting things that have been happening in our department along with some changes we will be making to better serve our families.

I am very passionate about our new services and how effective they have been. These new services add to the cohesiveness of our mission and opportunities for consumers. As you can see all three services have been growing with an increased growth in Music and Recreational Therapy. I currently have 5 music therapists on staff and 1 Recreational Therapist. We are growing and that is wonderful!

In order to accommodate and provide quality therapeutic services to every individual that is in need of our services, we must become facility based. It is vital to provide our therapeutic services in a safe and structured area where the therapists have room, less distractions, and use of instruments and tools. This new change will only affect Music and Recreational Therapy.

We are excited about this change and very much believe that it will allow even more independence and individualism among our consumers.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's Been A While..


I know it has been a bit since we have blogged. As most of you know, every day tasks get in the way of things such as this sometimes.  I just wanted to take a brief moment and let you all know that we are STILL HERE :)

An important topic I wanted to share with you today is about the Caregiver Support Program sign ups.  Please see the memo information below from the BDDS.

The Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services announces the  Caregiver Support Services funds  will be available for the fiscal year- July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.  The Caregiver Support Services is 100% state funded.

Services will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and an application must  be completed for  each fiscal year's  Caregiver Support Services funds.   Previous applications during fiscal year 2012 for Caregiver  Support Services do not  carry over to fiscal year 2013.

The application for Caregiver  Supports  Services must  be made in person  at the  Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services district offices  by the primary caregiver,OR, if eligibility has not yet been determined for the individual, the primary caregiver  and the individual must complete the application in person at the district offices. (If the individual has already  been determined eligible for BDDS services, the individual is not required to be present.)

The primary caregiver  and the individual(s) may apply for  Caregiver Support Services at the BDDS district offices on and after  Monday, June 25, 2012.  (Application is available on the  DDRS Forms webpage to print, complete and bring to District Office to submit.)

As long as the  Caregiver Support Services funds are available, the  Caregiver Support Services can be approved and available when  1) individual meets  the state  definition of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and 2) the  primary caregiver  selects a provider. The individual cannot receive Caregiver  Support Services and receive  any other  state funded services,such as VR services, First Steps, CHOICE, Division  of Aging waiver, etc.

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 Annual Awards

Consumers, Families, and Staff,

If you have not already submitted nominations for Bridges of Indiana's 2011 Annual Awards, please do so by January 1, 2012.  You can access the information by visiting http://www.bridgesofindiana.com/

Thank you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Get Rolling With Zach Anner!

For those of you that receive the new cable television network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), be sure to watch the new series entitled "Rollin’ With Zach". Oprah launched her network with a contest for viewers to try and construct a pilot of a reality show they would like to see on television. The winner was 27 year old Zach Anner. Anner is a comedian by trade and claims that his show is the "travel show for those who never thought they could travel".

What makes this intriguing is that the host of the new reality show, Zach, is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is in a wheel chair. He has always been obsessed with travel and in "Rollin With Zach" the viewer will see Zach traveling the country and sharing his experiences in an often humorous tone. Zach will travel coast to coast challenging himself to exciting experiences that he never thought possible such as water skiing, surfing and rock climbing. The viewer is treated to Zach’s sense of humor and attitude that "sometimes you just have to roll with it".

Traveling in a wheelchair can often prove challenging and so much so that often folks think that it is not possible or just too much work. On peek at this show and it is obvious that the face of travel will be changing for those with disabilities. A number of books and websites give advice for the disabled traveler but most have a sort of cookie cutter advice designed to protect the safety of the traveler. "Having a disability and growing up with one, you’re always looking for a place in the world where you fit and where you can excel and make the best use of all your talent and your ability," Zach says. "Knowing that I’ve found a path where I can make a difference in people’s lives, it means the world to me."

Catch the first episode of "Rollin’ With Zach" on December 12, 2011 on the OWN network.

Elizabeth Nelson, MSW
Behavior Clinician

Monday, November 28, 2011

Education To Enrich the Lives of Those With Disabilities

Historically, those that work with the physically challenged have been well meaning staff persons that are invested in the system and/or their client but are generally sorely undereducated. Both professionals and non professionals in this field tend to be recognized as simply "do gooders". IUPUI Indianapolis has created new and innovative programming that hopes to change this perception. They have recently announced a changing curriculum that will include courses and certificates in special needs individuals and their families.

Programs that focus on individuals with disabilities and their families have been scarce. At best, schools of psychology and social work have offered recognition of this service line but not continued programming, certainly contributing to the lack of current professionals working in this field. The IUPUI School of Social Work has developed a program that not only centers on the disabled population but their families as well. The program was designed to encompass students with a variety of abilities. Attracting students with disabilities can only serve to heighten awareness of their classmates without disabilities. Another unique aspect of this program is that it was designed to not only welcome students of social work but also psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and kinesiology. Enhancing skills in connecting individuals to additional resources in order to enhance personal independence is another element of this program.

Many communities strongly discourage independent living arrangements for individuals with disabilities. One component of the innovative IUPUI program is that students have the opportunity to advocate for policy changes that will educate communities about this population. Hopefully, this will be a start in dispelling stereotypes and discrimination. Dean Patchner of the IUPUI School of Social Work has commented that, "There is a lot of education and advocacy to do. There are many skills involved, from leading small groups to working with families to advocacy. This program is designed to train students with all those skills."

This type of programming is what is needed to bring about a systems change in this field and it is a nice fit with the core values of Bridges of Indiana such as advocacy, respect and dignity and quality staff. Bridges of Indiana is also committed to hiring educated individuals equipped with the skills needed to succeed in this challenging service line. Please contact your local Bridges of Indiana office for more information.

Respectfully submitted,
Elizabeth Nelson, MSW
Behavior Clinician

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kids with Disabilities Connecting with College

There is a misconception out there that kids with disabilities are not able or welcome or capable in attending secondary education. The reality is that one in six kids in public schools has some sort of disability. Many of these children graduate high school with some sort of diploma but what then? One particular Midwest program has begun to cater to individuals with disabilities in their quest to gain secondary education and fulfill their vocation goals. Elmhurst College in Chicago has expanded their Learning and Success Academy with a student population that has diagnoses that include Down’s syndrome, Autism, and ADD. ELSA provides kids with the total college experience including both dorm rooms and off campus housing. They provide a generalized academic curriculum as well as classes that improve time management, career goals and independent living skills. The ELSA program has graduated 19 students and 24 students are currently enrolled. The key to Elsa’s success is that disabled students participate with the general student body even if they are living at home. Educational coaches assist students in setting academic and career goals and each student is required to complete some sort of voluntary community service.

DePaul University and University of Iowa both have programs geared toward students with intellectual disabilities. The University of Wisconsin has 80 student slots set aside for students graduating from high school with a modified curriculum. The goals of each of these programs are not to graduate students with advanced doctoral degrees but to graduate students with certain marketable skills that will promote independent living in the future.

If you are a parent looking for secondary educational options for your child; there are resources out there but you must be diligent and tenacious. One website in particular is geared toward kids with disabilities exploring college options. weconnectnow.wordpress.com is a comprehensive site geared toward resources and access programming access and advocacy. They steer kids toward job and college fairs as well as exploring a myriad of diagnoses. So get out there and explore your options, connect with the appropriate websites and don’t give up! A post high school education is right around the corner. (Reference: The Chicago Tribune 11/9/2011)

Respectfully Submitted,
Elizabeth Nelson,  MSW
Behavior Clinician