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 Adult Program -  Paramus

 The BCSS Paramus  Adult program was designed for individuals with developmental disabilities aged 21 and older residing in Bergen County. This program typically provided adults with vocational experiences through contract work for companies in the Metropolitan area. The contract work was performed through a special minimum wage certificate from the Department of Labor. Over the last several years our contract work has decreased; and as a result, we began to look at alternative instructional opportunities that would continue to promote our vision of employment and independence.

Individuals in our Paramus program are offered opportunities for in house and community based instruction. A number of our instructional opportunities are aligned with DDD’s draft of proposed services under the “Supports Program”. It is our intent to become an approved vendor for this program. Over the years, Paramus has been a qualified provider for the Governor’s Initiative – Self Determination, Real Life Choices, Self -Directed Services and Individual Community Supports and Services (ICSS).

Instruction takes place in small groups and individually- based on person centered planning activities and goal development. Skills are taught in structured, sequential steps with opportunities for real world applications.

Daily learning opportunities address: employment preparation, socialization, problem solving, independent living skills, coping skills, vocational training projects, responding to choices and making decisions, technology instruction, safety on the job and in the community, increased self -directed behavior and taking responsibility, career awareness, important “soft skills” , meal preparation activities and health education.

Individuals in Paramus Adult participate in a number of community inclusion activities including, but not limited to: food shopping, going out to lunch, trips to the library and mall, bowling, movies and trips to the park.

Individuals can participate in weekly classes with our Work Readiness Instructor. This program provides intense support and instruction on focused topics. The Instructor partners with each adult to determine strengths, interests and preferences. Situational community based assessments, travel assessments and career preference inventories are used to develop a personal portfolio for each participant. The Instructor’s goal is to find the perfect job match for each adult and to provide the necessary supports to be successful on the job. The Instructor will continue to liaison with the employer and work to develop natural supports for each job site. Job Coaching support continues and the team works together to develop a successful fading strategy over time. Successful workers have the opportunity to come back into the Work Readiness classes for refresher courses and/or to become peer mentors for individuals in the class.

Health and wellness is an important part of our daily lives and health education has been an integral part of our Paramus program. Health classes are offered twice a week on a multitude of topics facilitated by our program nurse. Additionally, the program nurse provides individualized education and support, working with adults to develop health goals on an annual basis.

The Paramus program provides a forum for conflict resolution and problem solving groups facilitated by BCSS’s counselor, Dr. Simcha Willick. Individuals have the opportunity to participate in any of the groups or all three. Groups are configured with the intent that all participants learn to practice active listening for the purpose of understanding and empathy. Dr. Willick assists individuals to define and discuss a problem objectively and to develop solutions through role play and dialogue. Outcomes of the group include, but are not limited to: self-advocacy; increased self-esteem; greater sensitivity to the feelings and opinions of others; respect of boundaries; increased positive socialization; adaptive coping skills; decreased anxiety, increased ability to delay gratification and increased self-esteem.

Collectively, we look to respond to the preferences and support needs of the individuals we serve. We have cultivated a warm and supportive learning environment and encourage “stretching” and exposure new challenges. Through the years we have enjoyed open communication and collaborative partnerships with parents/guardians and family members working together to assist individuals to live and work successfully in the community.

The sky’s the limit!


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