MISSION- Optimizing the Quality of Life for Individuals with Autism
VISION – Living Autism as the world-class provider and leader for residential developments for autism
· Supporting the individuals we serve in Living the Lives they choose and deserve
· Respecting, trusting and encouraging each other to demonstrate initiative, authority, skill and inspiration
· Extending our impact by advocating in multiple venues for the broader needs and rights of people with autism and their families
· Recognizing that our work does not exist in a vacuum
· Actively fostering an open exchange of ideas with a sustained focus on collaboration among teams towards a common end
· Growing and deepening mutually beneficial relationships with families, donors, funders and other community partners
· Delivering programs, services and a culture that adhere to the highest principles of care
· Holding ourselves to measurable outcomes to determine our success in achieving our mission
· Being transparent with each other and our constituents; always placing the greater good of the people we serve above our own needs
· Continuously searching for and creating new opportunities and ways of providing service
· Encouraging and rewarding thoughtful risk taking to overcome challenges
· Supporting and encouraging creativity and self-determination
· Grounding our work in a core belief in the inherent value of each individual, and our shared capacity to learn and grow
· Building on strengths and supporting each other to create a stronger team and achieve new heights
· Being able to understand the perspective of the individuals we serve
· All individuals achieving a life of quality
· All community staff achieving great things when supported, challenged and acknowledged
· All families becoming an on-going, integral and contributing member of the circle of support for their loved one
Quality of Life
Living Autism is diligently working for Life In and With Autism. Living Autism is hard at work on fostering positive outcomes in a living learning working community. Quality of Life a common phrase to some, but for all of us at Living Autism it symbolizes hope, fulfillment and personal satisfaction. People with autism and their caregivers are faced daily with regulations and minimum standards, but Living Autism is committed to going above and beyond to provide the best possible outcomes for each individual we serve and are members of our communities.
All Individuals Deserve to Live a Life of Quality
What makes for a good life? Whether neurotypical or on the autism spectrum, all people deserve to live a life of quality. Living Autism communities will be a Lifelong Learning System that is founded on the measurement of an individual's quality of life and with system wide initiatives that are directed at optimizing this outcome for all that we will serve. The San Martin Scale is an evidence-based tool that measures all of the components that comprise a life of quality. This measure will be used to direct agency actions specific to the needs of an individual as well as larger agency-wide initiatives for all the individuals we serve.
Living Autism’s adaptation of the tool has been translated and validated in an attempt to gain further insight and opportunities to provide meaningful outcomes for everyone we serve, children and adults.
Eight Domains of Quality of Life
At Living Autism Community development, we use all the tools at our command to listen carefully and explore deeply in order to best understand where each individual relates to the Q of L Domains at a given point in their lives. This allows us to see patterns of growth over time, and identify areas where we could better support an individual in fulfilling their desires and dreams.
> Self-Determination: encouraging personal choice and involvement in decision-making, as well as ability for self-expression
> Emotional Well-Being: understanding observable behaviors and forms of expression, and taking measures to provide stable and supportive environments and interactions
> Physical Well-Being: helping to provide and manage adequate diet, hygiene, physical activity, and health-related support
> Material Well-Being: providing a sense of personal physical space, a comfortable communication system, and a well-adapted environment
> Rights: displaying ethics, respect, discretion, and privacy
> Personal Development: providing opportunities for enrichment, obtainment and demonstration of new skills, and stimulation in varied areas
> Social Inclusion: providing opportunities to visit other environments, enjoyment of inclusive environments and events, and participation outside normal program perimeters
> Interpersonal Relations: utilizing best practices in communicating information, encouraging opportunities for personal interactions, celebrating events of personal importance, and providing understanding on an individual level
Quality of life is not a formula, but rather the mission of Living Autism that directs all programming toward optimizing each individual's quality of life. Living this mission daily in our work with residents, workers and volunteers, throughout our community we will see its extraordinary impact on the persons with autism, families and neighbors within our communities. As one person grows and achieves their desired outcomes, others around them notice and respond in new ways that reinforce and continue to build a positive cycle of quality of life. This mission is the dedication, heart and soul of Living Autism.
1. Align agency operations with our mission
Living Autism has at its core the foundational belief that all individuals deserve to live a life of quality. Living Autism looks to ensure that all aspects of our agency are focused toward this belief. With all agency decisions and staff actions predicated on optimizing the quality of life of the individuals we serve, we will positively impact the lives of those we serve and be the pre-eminent leader in the field of developmental disability services.
2. Invest in our human capital Highly qualified and trained staff are an integral part of our current and future successes and the competition for these staff will only increase. It is vital to our survival as a leader in the field to develop mechanisms to attract, recruit, nurture and retain the right individuals.
3. Make judgments and decisions that are data informed
The future landscape of service delivery and funding is not clearly defined and becoming increasingly difficult to predict. It is increasingly important for Living Autism to make wise and carefully thought out judgments and decisions about our future path. These judgments and decisions need to be informed by the best and most relevant data available. Agency IT systems need to be developed to easily capture and promote accessibility of the most relevant information.
4. Create and design innovative interventions and measurements
At the core of our program is the provision of quality programming and services. To remain and thrive as a leader in the field of autism service delivery it is imperative for Living Autism to continuously develop and refine innovative interventions. Further, Living Autism needs to position itself at the forefront of effective and objectively proven programming and develop the necessary measurement tools to assess program effectiveness and to refine and enhance existing systems.
5. Evaluate, diversify, expand, and maximize existing and new business operations and funding
Living Autism is poised to expand into new regions and markets but must do so in a planned out and thoughtful manner. Living Autism must establish critical data informed systems to make and promote sound decisions on the further diversification and expansion of our service model.