Parents Planning Programs (PPP)
for the Developmentally Disabled of Florida, inc.
   
  

 

Background

PPP seeks to expand programs and enhance the lifestyle of people with developmental disabilities. It hopes to achieve this by developing a safe, supportive and family-oriented residential community where survival skills and a variety of work experiences exist in the context of daily living and real jobs.

THE NEED

PPP recognizes the need for meaningful programs for individuals who are not capable of independent supported living.  For these individuals who require 24 hour supervision, programs need to address basic daily living skills in the natural home environment on a continuing basis.  PPP believes that needs are not being met if individuals don't know how to scrub up when showering, regulate the water temperature, keep their room and clothing organized or if they pack a raw chicken sandwich in their lunch box. 

For this more dependent population there is a need for work experiences in a natural setting.  We often see day training programs where trainees use the same training aids for months on end, stuff and unstuff envelopes to "keep up their skills," or do repetitive tasks that promise to make them fit for community inclusion. Very often they are idle or asleep at their work stations.  In  many workshops these activities are conducted in isolated, windowless factory-like settings.  

Workshop contracts with outside organizations are largely based on time studies for purpose of monetary compensation.   Many of our special needs people don't understand money.  PPP believes that compensation cannot always be valued in terms of money, that the compensation our people need is a sense of  their accomplishment and importance.

PPP sees the need for developing work skills that are an outgrowth of enjoyable life experiences in a natural environment.  Special needs people can enjoy and are good at tending the vegetable and herb garden, baking cookies, cutting and barreling the branches in the yard, serving a meal -- when they work hand-in-hand with their mentors and experience the self-esteem that comes from being a contributing member of that community.

THE VISION

We have taken our cue from the many highly successful work-oriented residential communities: Camphill, L'Arche, Lambs Farm, and Florida's Key Training Center and T&M Ranch, which stress holistic development and offer a variety of real jobs such as farming, crafts, hospitality and food industries.  Ideally, we envision similar planned communities which embrace a comprehensive supportive lifestyle with many opportunities for a variety of work experiences.  This concept embraces dynamic interaction and collaboration with the community-at-large.

THE PLAN

Phase One 

  • To establish a residence for six individuals, a community center, art/craft studio and guest house on two acres.
  • To become visible in our community by launching social, recreational and work programs.

Phase Two 

To expand the single residential facility to a planned residential-working community consisting of individual homes and assisted living arrangements.  The community will include on site or satellite centers for, horticulture, retreat and cultural center, recreational facilities, respite and guest facilities.

COMMUNITY INCLUSION

People with special needs interface with the community-at-large for their mutual benefit.  Thus, community inclusion embraces a collaborative effort of businesses, educational institutions, artisans, cultural, religious and recreational resources as well as other providers, to partner work programs and support vocational training.

DEFINITIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS

We propose the following definition of terms and statements of policy or guidelines in our vision of the PPP Design for Living:

1.  Community means a group of two or more members with at least one responsible adult and one individual with developmental disabilities, living or working in partnership.  Members of the community respect individual backgrounds, and have the same human values. 

The concept of community will be further broadened to include not only the individual residence, but planned living arrangements as well as the community-at-large (the educational community--university and professional programs, businesses, cultural, social, religious and established work programs).

2.  Community residential homes.  Parents will be actively involved in supervising house parent duties on a rotation basis, thereby creating a parent organized and cooperatively managed venture.  They will encourage the inclusion of professional health or household staff and volunteer co-workers to provide ongoing development of programs, share in the responsibilities of household management and care of residents. 

3.  Programs endorsed by PPP shall:

  • be meaningful in the context of daily living
  • involve every aspect of developing and maintaining functional living skills
  • be contained in natural settings
  • provide survival skills for more independent living
  • provide the self-esteem that derives from being a contributing member of that community
  • provide for the interaction of professional educators, local artisans and business professionals to design work tasks and desired outcomes
  • encourage the development of an aesthetic and least restrictive work environment
  • stimulate creativity and self-expression
  • provide recreational and physical activity within the working day
  • provide a variety of indoor and outdoor activities within the working day, e.g., house chores, food preparation, gardening, farming, crafts, computer skills, wood shop
  • reassess goals and needs on a continuing basis
  • establish stability of living environment rich in family values
  • encourage the support of volunteers and intentional communities (e.g. Camphill, L'Arche)
  • offer cultural and recreational events in cooperation with the community-at-large: Parks and Recreation, petting farms, putting golf, boating, horseback riding, concerts, country jamborees, studio craft workshops, farming, horticulture, religious events, art shows, etc.
  • encourage interaction with other agencies such as BAC, Bridges, Easter Seals with an eye to sharing valuable resources and creating a working model