Once a student with a disability leaves high school, many parents and caretakers of adult children with special needs find themselves scrambling to find resources and services available to help adults with special needs.
There are both direct services and indirect services available, all of which are designed to help improve the quality of life of adults with special needs as well as their parents or caretakers. Supporting adults with disabilities and complex needs may mean collaborating with a number of support systems and community-based services.
There’s a plethora of organizations offering programs and services to the special needs community of families. Since we are focused primarily on Pennsylvania families, we have narrowed down a few resources to get you started locally and a few that are US wide.
In Pennsylvania, the state offers a variety of resources to adults with disabilities. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services provides certain types of in-home care, assistance with voting, and services and programs for individuals requiring assistance with employment.
Additionally, there are some local organizations whose missions are to assist adults with special needs.
A few Care and Companion services:
Home Community Based Services: Yes, that’s us! HCBS Provider specializes in providing services to adults with mental health and intellectual/ developmental disabilities, both in-home and out of home, including Community Living Arrangements (CLA) and Life-sharing. Our trained staff provides the following services: Habilitation, Companionship, Behavioral Therapy, Personal Care, Respite, Supported Employment, Community Inclusion/Integration. Depending on our clients’ needs, we can also provide light housekeeping, laundry, meal planning and preparation, running errands, assistance with activities of daily living such as personal hygiene and grooming assistance. Our services provide needed social interaction to reduce isolation and improve the quality of our clients’ lives.
Companion services: this is an indirect service which can include assistance with house cleaning, meal prep, laundry, or other services that keep the home safe. There are several organizations in Chester County which can provide resources and referrals for companion services. Check out The Arc or the Chester County Down Syndrome Interest Group for more information.
Respite Services: these services are designed to give primary caregivers a break. It can be either in the home or outside of the home. You can look over the Chester County directory of Respite Providers right here.
Chester County offers a wide range of services to adults with Intellectual Disabilities. Their website offers financial resources as well as support resources to help families with adults with special needs to become involved in their communities. Supports coordination through Chester County comes at no cost to registrants.
A few specific resources:
Chester County Down Syndrome Group: Whether you’re expecting a child with Down syndrome, looking for community activities for your loved one, or just want to learn more about the community in Chester County, their website has a lot to offer families!
Brian’s House: Woods Community at Brian’s House has a rich history of helping people with developmental and intellectual disabilities live meaningful and fulfilling lives in the communities of their choosing. They provide homes and work opportunities and foster friendships, learning, and the pursuit of interests. Some of their offerings include residential services, community integration services, adult day services, vocational services, and help with employment.
Handi-Crafters: Handi-Crafters runs one of the largest employment and disability focused support service programs in Southeast Pennsylvania. Each year they help over 400 individuals to access rewarding employment opportunities in the community and in our Skill Development Center.
Chester County Special Olympics: The mission of the Chester County Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
A few national resources:
The Arc: Their offerings include information and referral services, individual advocacy to address education, employment, health care and other concerns, self-advocacy initiatives, residential support, family support, employment programs, leisure and recreational programs. The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Easter Seals: Easter Seals offers resources for autism, seniors, children, adults, military and veterans, employment and training, medical rehabilitation, camping and recreation, and brain health. Easter Seals also includes families as active members of any therapy program, and offers the support families need.
Parents Helping Parents: As a parent-directed, community-based organization, PHP’s mission was developed in response to the need in communities for information, training, and support services for families who have children and adults with special needs and the professionals who serve them. They offer support groups, family and community services, crisis support, early intervention, assistive technology services.
Once your special needs child ages out of school, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out what’s next. You and your child may both be eagerly anticipating becoming more independent. The services that are available to adults with special needs can help you and your child accomplish their individual goals with all of the resources and support available through the community.
For more local resources, visit our resources page.
We are here to help those in our local community and we would love to hear from you! Send us a message online or reach out for more information.