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Royal Oak, Mich. — March 13, 2020— Judson Center, a multi-county human service agency that provides autism programs, behavioral health services, child and family services including foster care and adoption in tandem with its affiliate, Child Safe Michigan, employment services for persons with disabilities, and primary healthcare for all ages, is celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness month in March by showcasing its student transitioning program for young adults with disabilities.
Judson Center’s vocational services program focuses on employment preparation and placement of persons with disabilities, supporting individuals in activities that give them a sense of purpose, fulfillment and dignity. 25% of individuals involved in the program are also diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In 2019, Judson Center’s vocational program served over 250 persons, with 100 obtaining paid employment. Among those served, a growing number are students transitioning from the public school system upon graduation into part- or full-time employment. Brad Ewing, Judson Center director of disability services, said the transition process encompasses multiple stakeholders.
“For students with disabilities moving from public schools to the community and employment, a seamless transition requires collaborative effort between the individual, family, school, community mental health, state vocational rehabilitation, and community rehabilitation providers such as Judson Center,” Ewing said.
Historically, the services of the schools, community mental health, and state vocational rehabilitation programming for this student population was sequential, rather than concurrent. As a result, the hand- offs between these service entities were not as smooth, and gaps in service continuity occurred. Ewing said the breaks in service often resulted in stymied progress, but that is changing now.
“Today, coordination and collaboration in a concurrent fashion is increasing. Initiatives and funding at the federal, state and local levels are being designed to work in concert, and information about options and alternatives is reaching the individuals and their families,” Ewing said. “Additionally, community rehabilitation providers are increasingly taking the lead in coordinating the delivery of services. That means with organizations like Judson Center as a consistent and coordinated service provider, we can work with the individual and family throughout the process.”
With Judson Center’s strength in autism services through its Autism Connections program, which was established in 2005 and has dedicated autism programs in Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak and Warren, the organization is well positioned to support persons with developmental disabilities throughout the greater Metropolitan area by working collaboratively between its vocational and autism programs. The expansion of a soft skills curriculum has also benefited persons with disabilities who are seeking employment.
“Improving skills in communication, teamwork, time management, workplace relationships, and adaptability helps individuals obtain and maintain employment,” Ewing said. “We also use job coaches to reinforce the application of these soft skills on the job, as well as assistance with the specific and technical tasks of the job itself.”
Ewing adds that the length of those workplace supports varies by individual, but statistics reflect the program’s success.
“Well over 90% of those we place into employment through Judson Center have continued productively in their jobs for more than one year, with many individuals in the vocational program moving into their second and third years of gainful employment,” Ewing said.
Organizations in the Metropolitan Detroit area providing opportunities to individuals in Judson Center’s vocational services program range from retail, hospitality and recreation/entertainment, to healthcare and light assembly.
About Judson Center
Judson Center, trusted by Michigan families for more than 95 years, is a non-profit human service agency that provides expert, comprehensive services that strengthen children, adults and families impacted by abuse and neglect, autism, developmental, behavioral and physical health challenges so they can achieve whole health, well-being, and maximum potential. Judson Center also offers integrated primary healthcare for all through Judson Center Family Health in Warren. Since opening its doors in 1924, Judson Center has grown to change the lives of over 12,000 children, adults, and families each year. Judson Center has offices in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Headquarters are located at 30301 Northwestern Highway, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI 48334- 3277. Learn more at https://www.judsoncenter.org/.