New state program empowers people with disabilities to gain independence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is currently accepting applications for its Medicaid Alternative Pathways to Independence program, also known as MAP.

MAPs is a program for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who wish to learn to live and work more independently. It helps people with disabilities find and keep jobs. It also allows them to travel independently and learn about the activities of their communities; in addition to discovering the hobbies that interest them.

The program is for young adults who have graduated or are about to graduate from high school, students pursuing an inclusive higher education program in Tennessee, or adults who want to learn how to navigate their communities more independently.

“People, students and young people learn all of these amazing skills in school to prepare them for the community, but often when they left school there were no services to continue that growth. , or they have not been adapted to live independently and achieve the goals they want to achieve on their own,” said DIDD spokesperson Cara Kumari.
Explain.

The MAPs program is designed to complement, not replace, services provided by the local school system or vocational rehabilitation.

It will provide participants with a smartphone and data to use the virtual community resource map.

“It will put everything they want to do on something visual. It will provide prompts and reminders so they can take those goals and make them happen by providing them with real places where they can achieve those goals, how to get there , where they are,” Kumari said.

The MAPs app will be one of many features on the devices that help people with special needs easily find jobs, homes or travel destinations.

“This app will provide them with verbal and visual reminders as if you are approaching your bus stop now be sure to pull the lever. Also ok you got off the bus turn right to where is the McDonald’s and walk towards the McDonald’s,” Kumari said.

The new program could mean increased independence for hundreds of Tennesseans, which makes Carol Greiner extremely happy.

She has a 36-year-old son with special needs and said life was not as easy trying to get help for her son at school. She was a major lawyer for decades.

She learned putting her child in first grade, it was going to be a tough journey

“I spoke to Special Ed and they assured me he would be well taken care of here. I sent all his millions of records and then when we got here they had nothing,” said Greiner.

Greiner thinks the MAPs program is great and thinks its important resources exist for new parents raising children with developmental disabilities.

“The overall state of TN over the past decade has done a much better job of listening to what the people we support want and tailoring our services and supports to be able to provide them with a means to achieve their goals,” Kumari said.

Applications are now open in the Middle Tennessee region for the MAP program. DIDD will open the program in East and West Tennessee next year.

DIDD has funding for 1,250 people. Learn more about the program and how to apply, here.


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