Numerous individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families have experienced positive benefits from the START model since its inception in 1989. The following study is just one example of how the START model positively impacts individuals, their families, and their communities.
Jimmy*, who was in his early 20s when he was referred to START in early 2000, has moderate cognitive impairments and autism. He had lived with his family all of his life and they wanted to continue to have him with them. They tried to access family support for many years, but Jimmy was not able to use traditional out-of-home respite services available to other recipients of state services because of ongoing severe self-injury and major property destruction.
Prior to Jimmy’s referral to START, his family was in constant crisis. His behavior problems were severe and out of control. He was hospitalized in psychiatric facilities on numerous occasions, and after each admission seemed worse. He was referred to the START team and upon arrival the family expressed doubts that they could continue to manage the situation.
Jimmy and his family received services from START, and since working with the START team he has been diagnosed and successfully treated for obsessive-compulsive and bipolar disorders, and his behavior has improved dramatically. He continues to receive support staffing through a provider agency in the family home, and members of the START team provide ongoing training and support to his direct service staff. A START clinician attends Jimmy’s psychiatric appointments to assist in communicating with his psychiatrist, and also talks with his day program provider to ensure that everyone on his team is in communication with regard to Jimmy and his mental health care needs.
While Jimmy continues to have ongoing challenges, he and his family are no longer in constant distress. The system is linked, communication is active, and everyone continues to benefit from this approach – especially Jimmy.