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Designing Tools and Training for Independent Facilitators

By Hari Srinivasan


Self-Determination Program (SDP) means a change in the way services will be delivered here in California by giving people more freedom and choice in their support and services.


Sabrina Kappe Ramos, lead Independent Facilitator at NeuroNav, explains why SDP will be a win-win for everyone.


SDP creates more flexibility in how you can choose to spend your budget on services in the community - which is both really exciting and really daunting. Independent Facilitators are meant to help self-advocates and families take advantage of that flexibility without being overwhelmed by choice and a new method of service-delivery. Independent Facilitators (IF) act like navigators through the service landscape.


NeuroNav has a contract with the Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC) to build training for IFs. The team knows the ins and outs of the program and how to incorporate their own learnings from working as Independent Facilitators, but they wanted to learn more from diverse participants what the hopes are for this role and where people want the most support.


NeuroNav sought to answer these questions by hosting a design workshop with community members so that they could build great tools and training for this important new role.


A wide profile of members from across the community were present at NeuroNav’s Design Workshop on October 1 from individuals and family members, including grandparents, to providers in the disability space.


The event aimed to reframe ideas and come up with potential solutions after defining the problems gained from a survey and discussed at the event. For instance, some of the concerns expressed centered around how we could help the family encourage person-centred approaches in the individuals’ provider team, provide useful information to people who are already overwhelmed, break down the budgeting process to small simple steps, and help the Regional Center better understand individual needs. There was a lot of stress and anxiety as participants discussed how they’re currently being supported.


From the diverse voices of the Design Workshop, NeuroNav was able to glean major pain points. One is that it’s hard to encourage person-centered approaches for those who are not familiar with them. People want good information and resources but feel overwhelmed by what they find. The Budgeting and Spending Plan process can be a deeply painful and frustrating experience. There is also a struggle to bridge the gap between the traditional system and SDP. Communicating individual needs to Regional Centers and helping Service Providers adapt to SDP and Covid-19 are critical needs.


NeuroNav was able to learn a lot about how people would like to reimagine services in their community and what needs to be changed in the way we train Independent Facilitators. Through the Design Workshop, the NeuroNav team learned the importance of providing tools to incorporate person-centered thinking to others involved in that individual’s life as well as the importance of including empathy building exercises. Other takeaways were the need for informational booklets of resources for families to help them through the process and help during the budgeting and spending process. There was also the need to review the difference between the traditional system & SDP, and discuss the role of the IF & strategies to bridge that gap.

“This was the first community design workshop of many as we work to embed participant voices in the way we reimagine service delivery,” shared NeuroNav CEO Kim Schreiber.


The team is hosting their first training session with their new materials this week. Follow NeuroNav on Facebook @NeuroNavLife for updates on training dates.


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