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Life Skills Program

Children with disabilities deserve to lead full lives, just like everybody else. This means that supports are needed beyond the classroom. That's why the Child Development Center’s (CDC) Life Skills Program supports youth with disabilities to develop skills that enrich their time at home and expand access to their communities. The program is available to children and adolescents in western Montana who have the Montana 0208 Developmental Disability (DD) Comprehensive Services Waiver.

What does CDC's Life Skills Program offer?

The Child Development Center’s Life Skills Program offers Supported Living, Behavioral Support Services, Caregiver Training and Support, and Companion Services. Depending on their needs, youth with the 0208 waiver may use their cost plans to choose any or all of these options. We contract with the Montana Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP) to provide these services, but are not case managers. Any activity or service associated with our Life Skills program must be outlined in the individual’s plan of care.

Supported Living

To prepare children and adolescents with disabilities for as much independence as possible, they need to have the skills to do well at home and in natural community settings. Supported Living provides one-on-one training where the child lives and spends time. Training objectives are outlined in an individual plan of care. The plan of care is based on formal assessments that identify the individual’s strengths, needs, and goals. This determines what the child will focus on. Self-care, daily-living, and social skills are common categories of training objectives.

A Family Support Specialist will design individualized programs based on the goals in the child’s plan of care, as well as the child’s personal interests and every-day routines. The Family Support Specialist also oversees the Direct Support Professionals (DSP) who implement the programs during one-on-one training sessions with the child. The DSP assists the child to not only acquire skills, but also to maintain, improve, and build on them over time. The ultimate goal is to support youth with disabilities to develop healthy, happy, high-quality lives that maximizes their independence.

Behavioral Support Services

The Child Development Center provides Behavioral Support Services to youth with developmental disabilities who exhibit challenging behaviors. These services are provided by qualified professionals who have specialized training in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. The purpose is to support the child or teen in reducing problem behaviors and increasing positive behaviors.

    Behavioral Support Services include all the following:

  1. Behavioral assessments and analyses are done in order to understand the child’s behaviors.
  2. A custom behavior plan is designed based on the results of behavior assessments and analyses. Ongoing data collection and analysis monitors the child’s progress, so that the plan can be modified as needed. The plan can include intervention procedures to address challenging behaviors, and skill acquisitions procedures to increase positive behaviors.
  3. Finally, training the child’s staff and family members is an important component of Behavioral Support Services. The Child Development Center will train staff and caregivers to help them understand the results of behavioral assessments and analyses. They will also train them to ethically and effectively implement the child’s behavior plan. In addition, planning meetings with team members (including staff and family) will provide ongoing guidance.

Caregiver Training and Support

Caregiver Training and Support is for parents or other individuals (e.g., family members, neighbors, friends) who provide unpaid care, companionship, or supervision of an individual with a disability. A Family Support Specialist instructs, coaches, and models skills to empower caregivers, so that they can safely and fully support the child’s participation at home and in community settings. Training is provided in natural environments where the child would typically spend time. Many clients choose to pair Caregiver Training and Support with Supported Living, so that caregivers are equipped to better assist the child with Supported Living goals.

Companion Services

Like most young adults, teenagers with disabilities need to socialize and recreate. They also need to practice every-day adult responsibilities, such as shopping, preparing meals, and housekeeping. We design Companion Services to accompany, and, if needed, assist, individuals with developmental disabilities as they engage in these activities. Through the Child Development Center, companions provide non-medical care, supervision, and socialization for children and adolescents from age 14 up until high school graduation.

What is the 0208 Waiver?

The 0208 Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver is administered by Montana’s Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP). It is for children and adults who have developmental disabilities, and who will require lifelong services and supports. Income is not a factor for eligibility. The 0208 Waiver funds extensive healthcare, as well as other home and community-based service options. Services available include, but are not limited to, the Child Development Center’s Life Skills program for youth.

If your child does not have Montana’s 0208 Waiver, eligibility determination is the first step. Get started by contacting your Regional DDP office. You can also call Montana DDP’s Central Office if you aren’t sure what region you’re in. It is important to act as soon as possible to determine the eligibility of a person with a disability, because there is a state-wide waiting list to receive the 0208 Waiver.

For more information, send us a message or call us at one of our two locations in western Montana.