Independent Living Specialist (ILS) provide five core services: Peer Services, Independent Living Skills, Youth/Adult Transitional Services, Advocacy and Information and Referral.
1. Peer Services
ILS at Independent Living Centers are peers with lived experience. The peer philosophy is truly something that is unique to ILC’s and have and will continue to benefit the consumers that come into ILC’s for services.
2. Independent Living Skills
One of the core services that every independent living center offers is "independent living skills." These skills are taught to assist each person with a disability the skill set that he or she may need to remain independent in the home and/or community in which he or she chooses.
These skills may include budgeting, cleaning, cooking, transportation (public or private,) education, vocational, social skills, advocacy, etc. Each skill assists the individual in obtaining a goal on his or her Independent Living Plan (ILP).
3. Youth Transition Services
ILC breaks transitional services into two groups youth transition ages 14-24 transition planning through school, into college and future employment. This can be through attending transition meetings through school, teaching advocacy skills and 504 for college and linking with waiver services and programs and/or ACCES-VR for resources to be successful in obtaining degrees and/or employment.
Adult Transitional Services
Open Door supports in the nursing home transition, but an ILS can support in obtaining services to remain in the community. Services can include but not be limited to obtaining Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) Aide Services, accessing Waiver Services, reviewing Managed Care Organizations (MCO) or Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) Services, and Department of Social Services(DSS).
ILS are able to support their consumers in navigating various programs whether Social Security Administration (SSA), Waiver Services, New York State Education Department (NYSED), Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR), Department of Social Services (DSS), Managed Care Organizations (MCO) or Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) and others. ILS can support in applications, understanding of services as well as appeals process.
Our educational advocate can support the individuals and their family/guardian in navigating the education system. The educational advocate can attend Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE) and Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting along side the individual and their family to help clarify and advocate on behalf of the student.
Educational Advocates have become important in the time of transitioning between grades as well as their transition years starting as early as 12 in planning for their future. The Educational Advocate is great when seeking Community Based Services, County and State Resources to support the individual with all services that they are eligible for to get the most support in obtaining their future foals towards college and employment.
5. Information and Referral
ILS are able to connect with appropriate community based organizations and services as well as county and state resources that may support the consumer in reaching their goal of living as independently in the community of their choice.