Frontline Initiative: Supporting Healthy Relationships

Person-Centered Practices support Andy’s future
An interview with Jody Van Ness, M.Ed., Education Program Specialist

Jody is mother to Andy, her adult son who lives with autism. Jody discusses how person-centered practices have supported Andy to develop relationships that are important to him and to live in a way that helps him to achieve his goals. This includes working in a biomedical device company, having a girlfriend, and living independently with his roommate/Direct Support Professional (DSP) in an apartment.

In working with Andy’s county case worker, Jody and Andy were able to use Andy’s waiver funds to hire a DSP named Darren to live with Andy as a roommate. Darren is a stable supporter in Andy’s life. He is part of Andy’s support team. Darren also receives his room and board as part of his compensation. Both Andy and Darren have had to learn skills to live with one another. Both benefit from what each other brings to their roommate relationship. Darren describes his job as, helping to support Andy to gain the skills to live independently. Darren sees the goal as, “so that I can work myself out of a job.”