While many people take bathing, combing their hair and getting dressed for granted, a small segment of the population are unable to perform these everyday tasks as a result of developmental delays and disabilities. Fortunately there are programs across the U.S. that offer education and training to these individuals to help them learn how to properly care for themselves. If you’re community doesn’t have training, consider offering it by learning how to start a life skills training center.
Find funding. Ask companies and businesses to donate money to start a life skills training center or seek donations from a private foundation.Inquire about grant opportunities from nonprofit organizations, foundations and the government.Many states, such as Pennsylvania, have a developmental disability council that provides grant funds for organizations in their state who assist clients with developmental disabilities. Conduct fundraisers to get the money necessary to secure a facility, purchase supplies, hire staff and start the program.
Obtain a facility.Lease or purchase a facility to use as the life skills training center. Check with local nonprofit organizations about sharing their facilities if they have room to accommodate your needs. Talk to local businesses and companies about unused space at their locations to learn if they would be willing to lend it to you to establish a life skills training center.
Purchase supplies and equipment.Determine what life skills will be taught at the training center, and buy supplies needed to teach these skills. For example, personal care and cooking requires combs, toothbrushes, stoves and food.Get equipment needed to manage the daily operations of the facility such as chairs,tables,desks, computers and phones.
Arrange payment for services. Become registered with the state as a life skills training center and comply with all social service and nonprofit regulations. In return for compliance, receive state funding for each person you serve unless they are privately paid. For private-pay clients, arrange fees and a method for paying for services in advance of the client starting the program.
Hire staff. Find people who are patient and compassionate about teaching people with developmental disabilities.Provide training to educate them on teaching and working with people who have developmental disabilities.Cover the ethical components of working with a disabled population including the requirement of a person to report neglect and abuse even if it is only suspected.
Promote the center.Network with school leaders, administrators and counselors as they are aware of students diagnosed with developmental disabilities.Encourage them to refer parents of these children or young adults to your center for life skill training and education. Provide brochures and flyers about your center to pediatricians and public health departments who test and diagnose children with developmental disabilities.