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Developmental Disability

Opportunities for Independence

The PACE Opportunities for Independence staff are funded by a grant from the Champaign County Developmental Disabilities Board (CCDDB).  People outside of Champaign County are served in the PACE General Services program..

The independent living specialists provide individual and group programs. We serve Champaign county residents by assisting them increase or maintain their independence.  Our foundation is the independent living philosophy and so we promote consumer control, peer counseling, skills training and advocacy.  We see the “problem” in the environment, not the person.  We work to create independence with the consumer and we avoid creating dependence on the service provider.   Opportunities for Independence staff are here to answer disability related questions and make referrals by phone as well.

Services

Individual Planning
PACE offers one on one consumer driven programs and service coordination to assist individuals increase or maintain their independence. Independent Living Needs Assessments are available to assist the consumer in identifying areas of independence they want assistance in.    The person with the disability can choose to have a written Independent Living Plan or work informally towards goals.

Advocacy
The consumer is kept current on disability laws and learns to advocate for their needs. Advocacy enables people with disabilities to remove barriers such as attitudinal, psychological, structural, programmatic, communication and sociological.  If a consumer shows an interest they can learn how to do systems advocacy and work to make systemic changes.  For instance one gentleman in this program also has a visual impairment; he advocated for and obtained an audible traffic light for his neighborhood.

Life Skills Group
Supports individuals in developing skills needed to live independently. This includes areas such as pre-employment skills, business etiquette, budgeting, shopping, bullying and other goals as determined by the group.

Job Club
The club promotes pre- employment skills, career interest, resume writing, connecting with businesses and agencies that support people with developmental disabilities and their ability to be productive working citizens.

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