On-Campus Independent Living for Intellectual Disabilities
Stewart Home & School offers many levels of assistance, because the students we serve are so diverse. Independent living for intellectual disabilities, also known as “self care” here at Stewart Home & School, is our most independent level of care. “Our self-care residents have the opportunity to utilize skills that they have learned and worked on throughout their lives to become as independent as possible. While on self-care, our students are able to learn to live amongst their peers,” said Assistant Director Shelley Sellwood-Davis.
Qualifying for Independent Living
For students to qualify for independent living, students have to be able to get themselves up in the mornings, clean their own room, do all personal care independently, do their laundry, manage their peer relationships appropriately, and set the example for all other residents in regards to how they treat their house parent and friends.
“Stewart Home and School believes in a fulfilling lifestyle for our residents, encouraging and assisting them to be the best individuals they can be. Helping them reach self care and be successful is the ultimate goal and we have over 90 residents that have reached that goal! When they reach that goal, I’m not sure who is prouder, the student, their family or our staff!!” said Tammy Blau, Manager of Residential Operations.
Supervised Independent Living
A staff supervisor works with these students to help them improve their skills, problem solve, order personal care supplies, and communicate with families. “Our students on self-care are able to live independently, responsible for their own hygiene and cleaning of their room and surroundings, all the while having the necessary supervision to ensure they are healthy and happy,” said Shelley Sellwood-Davis.
Of course, their hard work is rewarded with benefits that come with independent living, such as having the ability to have a refrigerator in their room and being able to choose whether or not to participate in evening and weekend extracurricular activities. All the while, the students continue to eat their meals, and take any needed medication, with the supervision of their house parent. “Self-care students have more freedom of not being directly under the houseparent supervision, but the houseparents are there if they are needed,” said Tracy Blacketer, women’s self-care supervisor.
Independent Living Clean-Up Days
Students have one specified morning or afternoon each week built into their schedules, that allows them that time to focus on cleaning their room and the common areas of their residence hall. Each student is assigned a chore such as sweeping or mopping hallways or cleaning the bathroom countertops, mirrors and windows. After the chores are complete, the students gather with their supervisor and are sometimes provided tutorials and teaching sessions on how to keep their rooms and living areas clean. The ongoing goal of our students on independent living is to allow them to practice those skills, provide them with the motivation to do so, and to ensure they continue to improve and develop skills related to hygiene, cleaning, organizing, etc.
“I love being self care supervisor. I am here for anything the students need. They always put a smile on my face,” said Blacketer.