by Diane Wiscarson

Think creatively when planning services for children with disabilities. With a large range of services in Oregon, people can access respite care, budgeting assistance, nutrition services, and safe social and recreational settings, to name a few. Finding and navigating services can be frustrating and time consuming. A short overview to get started is provided.

Developmental Disabilities (DD) Services are for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Once eligible, DD case workers are an integral part of obtaining and managing services. Individual Support Plans are established with each individual, identifying needs based on health and safety, interests, choices, and goals.

Once eligible for DD services, brokerages offer case management services, formal and informal support strategies and help access private and public resources. In Oregon, there are regional brokerages throughout the state. Often, the wide range of services available are provided in-home or via personal supports to help a person fully participate in community life, including work.

Oregon Technical Assistance Corporation (OTAC) believes communities are enhanced by the participation of ALL members, and thus promotes full participation in community life through training, technical assistance and related services. OTAC provides current information about services, supports and evidenced-based practices, while supporting development of systems and infrastructures to be implemented for individuals in communities.

People Planning Together (PPT) is a program offered through OTAC. PPT teaches people receiving services to take proactive and leadership roles to plan their life. PPT classes are taught by certified trainers — each of whom experience disability themselves. PPT helps people have a larger role in developing their Individual Service Plans.

County Mental Health Services provide assistance to adults and children with mental illness as well as support for their families. Services include assessments, evaluations, counseling, groups, life skills and symptom management, medications, hospital care and job services.

Support for Children with Developmental, Intensive Behavioral and Medical Needs

Children’s Intensive In-Home Serves (CIIS) serves children living at home, from birth through age 18. There are three CIIS types: medically fragile, intensive behavior and medically involved. Family income is not considered when determining eligibility for any CIIS program. CIIS for medically fragile children is for children with intensive medical needs, who are technology dependent and require nursing care. DD eligibility is not required.

CIIS for intensive behavioral needs provides support services for children who have behaviors that are dangerous to themselves or others. To be eligible, the child must also be DD eligible.

The CIIS medically involved program is for people with a medical condition causing the need for total assistance with all daily living activities. CIIS medically involved program services do not require DD eligibility.

Supports for Families

Contact Information
Developmental Disabilities Services

Clackamas County
Phone: (503) 655-8640
Web: http://www.clackamas.us/socialservices/developmental.html

Multnomah County
Phone: (503) 823-4000
Web: https://multco.us/dd

Washington County
Phone: (503) 846-8611
Web: http://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/DevelopmentalDisabilities/

County Mental Health Services

Clackamas County
Phone: (503) 742-5335
Web: http://www.clackamas.us/behavioralhealth/services.html

Multnomah County
Phone: (503) 988-5464
Web: https://multco.us/mhas/mental-health-services

Washington County
Phone: (503) 846-4528
Web: http://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/MentalHealth/

Oregon was the first state to establish the Lifespan Respite Program. State Lifespan Respite Programs help families find respite providers and access respite payment resources. Lifespan Respite Care is a community-based system of accessible respite care services, meant to help families of children or adults with special needs get a “respite” or break from caregiving to restore and strengthen their ability to continue providing care. Eligibility for respite care is not based on finances, but on the needs of the person requiring care.

Adaptive & Inclusive Recreation (AIR) services are offered through the City of Portland. These are community-based recreation activities and leisure services for all ages, including dances, bowling, beach trips and summer camps. The City of Portland’s AIR Program is one of the top specialized community recreation programs in the country.

Portland State University offers Inclusive recreational programs including adaptive climbing, wheelchair basketball, and goalball. PSU’s inclusive recreation programs are for any person who wants to try a modified activity.

Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) provides free sports training and athletic competition for people with cognitive disabilities. SOOR is available to anyone with intellectual disabilities and provides fitness development opportunities and community participation with friends and families. In Oregon, there are monthly events in every region of the state to allow athletes to compete as often as desired. There is no upper age limit, but athletes must be at least 8 years old to participate.

SNAP is the federal food stamp program, officially entitled, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, whose goal is to provide healthy food to low-income households. Children, seniors and people with disabilities comprise about two-thirds of all SNAP participants. To obtain SNAP benefits in Oregon, apply via internet at https://apps.state.or.us/onlineApplication/ or at your local county office.

Many services and programs can be specifically tailored to individual needs and those of the individual’s family/caregivers. Oregon Helps is a guide to health and social services that help estimate eligibility for 33 programs and assistance organizations, and can be accessed at http://211info.org/oregonhelps. Services can help pave a path to success, but navigating the systems and learning to think creatively takes times and practice.

Diane Wiscarson of Wiscarson Law has helped thousands of Oregon and Washington families obtain appropriate services and placements for their special needs children. Read more at www.wiscarsonlaw.com

The post When Your Child has Special Needs – Part 1: Navigating Public Agency Services appeared first on Portland Family Magazine.

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