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Intellectual Disabilities Services
Who We Are
Intellectual Disabilities Services serves men and women with intellectual disabilities, providing supports so they can make meaningful life choices and be valued, contributing members of their communities.
Keystone's Intellectual Disabilities Services is dedicated to serving individuals with intellectual disabilities. Founded as an organization to support people as they move from large, impersonal state centers to community-based services, our mission has remained consistent: To act as a change agent, creating opportunities for growth and meaningful life choices so that people can be valued and contributing members of their communities.
We encourage long-term relationships and stress the importance of natural supports, individuality, respect, choice and the dignity of risk. In recognizing that people with disabilities are members of our society and can live successfully in their own communities, we have successfully helped reunite families and strengthen relationships. We have seen friendships flourish where none had existed. We have seen people lead lives of tremendous richness rather than deprivation.
Dispelling the Myth
It was once believed that some people with very challenging behaviors could not be served in their communities. Keystone recognizes that these behaviors are often symptoms of trauma and other treatable causes and has demonstrated that with intensive therapeutic supports, people previously thought to be unable to leave hospital settings can be served safely and successfully in the community.
We believe that this has been possible because of the vision of Keystone Human Services. This vision has guided us since 1972 as we developed our services and worked to create a better and safer world for everyone.
Every person who has a desire to work should have the opportunity to be employed. Through Supported Employment Services, individuals of working age receive support to find and maintain employment to increase their independence.
Our Employment Specialists work with the person to find a job that fits their interests, skills, and abilities. Supporting someone to find a job is based on a foundation of relationships between the individual, Employment Specialist, businesses, and the individual’s support team.
One of our Employment Specialists, Kaori Kelly, recently won the Direct Support Professional Award from ANCOR for her dedication in supporting individuals to reach their employment goals. Even though she received the award, Kaori emphasizes that Supported Employment is a team effort. “The people on our team have a passion for the job. We work together to make things happen for the people we support,” she says.
Employment Specialists spend time with the individuals, learning about their interests and passions. As they learn about the individuals, they also talk with the individuals’ support teams, including family, friends, supports coordinators, day programs, Program Directors, and Service Directors. The entire team works together to support individuals in their employment goals.
Our Employment Specialists build relationships with businesses. They visit businesses in the community to conduct informational interviews, observe the ins and outs of the business, and even work alongside the business’s employees so they can learn the job, which is important since our Employment Specialists also serve as job coaches. They provide support for individuals as they learn their new job and adjust to any changes that may come in the future. With the advocacy of our Employment Specialists and the hard work of the individuals themselves, businesses discover the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. “The individual adds value to the business, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved,” says Kaori. “The person gains work and more independence, and the business gains a valuable employee.”
While supporting one young woman, Kaori learned that the young woman likes food and beautiful things, especially bright colors. Kaori had initially explored the possibility of finding her employment in a bakery, but when she stopped at a farmer’s market one day, she found a new opportunity for the young woman—working with a vendor who makes homemade dog treats. After meeting the owner, learning about the business, and observing the process of making and packaging the dog treats, Kaori realized that here was a perfect opportunity. The owner agreed to an internship for the young woman to see if they would be a good fit. The young woman liked the idea and started her internship. By the second day, the owner realized that the young woman would be a valuable employee, and she hired her. Since then, the young woman has grown in her position and now assists at the vendor booth at the farmer’s market.