Guidepost 1: Individualize Supports

Community Life Engagement supports should be tailored to the interests and needs of each unique person. Individualization of supports:

Starts with understanding personal preferences, goals, interests, and skills.

Ideally, you would begin individualizing CLE supports as soon as you meet the person you are working with. You might start by sitting down with the person (and often their family) to better understand who they are, their likes and dislikes, and their visions and plans for themselves. This is an opportunity to listen and talk about how you can best support them.

Individualizing supports should help ensure the person chooses situations for themselves where they can feel comfortable and thrive. It’s also important to remember that individual preferences, interests, and skills change and evolve over time, so you may need to keep asking, observing, and evolving the individual’s activities and supports.

Emphasizes person-centered planning and discovery.

Person-centered planning, discovery, and other formal or informal planning processes help develop the person’s goals and interests into activities that will eventually comprise daily and weekly schedules while still maintaining their personal choices.

Requires creative staffing, intentional grouping, and at times, generating additional funding.

It is common for CLE providers to have limited resources. Your agency can address these limitations through creative approaches to grouping and scheduling individuals, re-defining staff roles, and finding and using funding. Some sites intentionally match a specific staff member to each individual to ensure familiarity, while others change up staffing to ensure people are able to pursue different interests with different small groups throughout the day or week. Purposefully grouping people based shared interests or friendships can allow some choice and individualization even without one-on-one support.

Providers can also seek out creative revenue streams or ways of blending and braiding funding from multiple sources, such as Medicaid and vocational rehabilitation funds, to enhance capacity for individualized supports.

Here are some additional resources to learn about and help providers apply Guidepost 1:

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