Participants 21 and Over Learn the Importance of Setting Goals
PISCATAWAY, NJ - “Ready, Set, Goal!” is a daily mantra at the Adult Community Services (ACS), the newest program offered by the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ).
The program offers individuals 21 and over with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the opportunity to strive for independence by helping them develop their social, emotional and life skills.
Each day begins with the participants setting specific goals for the day. These goals encompass several factors including life and prevocational skills, how to handle leisure time and how to manage stress.
On a recent visit, one student said that he enjoys walking to manage his stress and another mentioned that a good belly laugh always makes him feel better.
After each participant identifies their stress-relieving tool and finishes setting up their daily goals, they are ready to tackle the day.
Once participants have set their goals each morning, they move on to suggested group activities that focus on life, prevocational and social skills for each person-centered program. All are working throughout the day to help ensure that goal – big or small – is achieved.
“At ACS, our participants are provided with a structured environment that has no restrictions for ways they can excel,” said Executive Director Allison Sanchez. “One of the most important aspects of their day here is that there are so many choices within our structured activities to succeed.”
The program at ACS is truly tailored to each participant’s needs. There is a three-day trial period for prospective participants to check out the program and a 30-day assessment period whereby there is communication with the family and support coordinators to ensure smooth transitions.
“We want to meet these participants, assess the situation and then figure out how we can help them meet important goals,” Sanchez said. “To ensure that this program is always person-centered, you need to take the time to really get to know the participants and identify their goals.”
Sanchez has years of experience working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them to achieve their full potential.
“One of my biggest priorities in life is being a resource to my participants, coworkers and others who need it,” said Sanchez. “I’m a person that’s always striving to make a bigger difference.”
ACS is currently working towards adapting the program to accommodate participants with additional needs. The program is located at the ESCNJ campus on Stelton Road in Piscataway, featuring a gym, leisure lounge and sensory room for participants to use and enjoy.
For more information visit www.escnj.us.