NYSACRA Learning Institute on Innovation in Individualized Supports
Learning History I
The NYSACRA Learning Institute on Innovation in Individualized Supports (from here on the Institute) grew out of the work of the Individualized Supports Think Tank, a multi-stakeholder group that gave shape to the idea of individualized supports in a clear definition, discussions about how to practice in a person- centered way within the constraints of the New York State system,1 and the implementation of the Institute by some of its members. The Institute is adminis- tered by NYSACRA, funded by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, OMRDD, and NYSACRA, and strongly supported by the Self Advocacy Associa- tion of New York State. Since the Institute was designed, the Think Tank’s under- standing of individualized support has been clearly reflected in OMRDD’s Com-prehensive Plan, along with other key ideas strongly associated with Think Tank leaders and explored through the Institute. Think Tank members’ vision provides the vocabulary of aspiration for OMRDD’s Comprehensive Plan: lives of distinc- tion, person-centered work, self-direction, homes of people’s choice, working and contributing to community life, and having meaningful relationships.
This alignment between the central themes of the OMRDD strategy, the Insti- tute’s agenda, and the commitments and work of those who designed, support- ed, and facilitated the Institute makes the lessons that come from the Institute about encouraging fundamental change in service provider organizations espe- cially relevant. The Institute has served as one forum in which those responsible for influencing and implementing the system’s strategy and those whose daily work it is to plan, manage and deliver support can explore the meaning of the central themes in the system’s policy in the context of service provision.