Charting the LifeCourse

Written by: Members of the ODP Tech Taskforce

“Charting the LifeCourse” is a comprehensive framework that helps individuals and families plan and achieve their life goals by providing a person-centered approach to planning. It offers a range of tools and principles to support individuals with disabilities in achieving their desired outcomes and improving their overall quality of life.

One of the person-centered tools we would like to highlight is the Integrated Support Star. The Integrated Support Star helps organize and generate ideas in the following areas: Personal Strengths and Assets, Relationships, Eligibility-Specific, Community-Based and Technology. The support star can be used for planning, problem-solving, and exploring.

Darcy Elks, who works with Vision For Equality, Inc. as a Family Network Advisor, has a wealth of experience in supporting individuals to achieve their goals and dreams. And in achieving those dreams, technology has become a more integral part of people’s lives. 

Darcy supports individuals on a daily basis on how they can utilize the LifeCourse framework to help create an everyday life. She recently shared some of her experience of how individuals she has met utilize technology as incorporated in the “Technology” section in the “Integrated Support Star” LifeCourse tool. She said that many of these applications begin with a smart phone, and it goes from there. She noted that the “young” people pick it up pretty quickly. Some of the apps most commonly used are Uber for transportation and varied public transportation apps for schedules and real time GPS tracking.

Another example, was of a young lady that was having issues at work in keeping track of the duration of her breaks, so she now uses a timer on her phone to keep her on course while meeting the requirements of her job.

This same woman who utilizes Self-Directed Supports arranges her support hours through texts or calls with her DSP. Also, for recreational needs she has multiple apps to learn about upcoming community events in her local area such as plays, festivals, and musicals. She also keeps on top of “community rushes” to get good deals on reduced ticket prices for these events by receiving email alerts through a listserv.

Candida Walton who is the Supporting Families Director with the Office of Developmental Programs/Division of Policy, also shared her experience with technology over the years. She focused on the utilization of “low tech” from her experience citing such as the “Scheduling Tool” that can be found on the LifeCourse Nexus website. Many individuals and their teams have found the tool to be a great resource in planning out their day to day schedules, noting what type of support corresponds with each activity. She went on to say that individuals “want to have a more colorful life to integrate varied supports.”

Please see the pictures below to better understand these tools.

Charting the lifecourse document
image of the charting the lifecourse support star