This month, I wanted to showcase the service and support administration department of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD). Service and support administration, or SSAs, as they are called in the field are one of the mandated services required of all boards of DD across Ohio. SSAs provide support to children as well as adults. A child as young as 3-years-old can have an SSA and that we have SSAs who specialize in different age ranges to make sure everyone receives quality supports.
One of the key responsibilities that an SSA carries out is the development of the individual support plan, or ISP. This plan is based on what the person receiving services wants, or as we say, it’s person-centered. The SSA gets to know the person eligible for services, conducts assessments and discovers what is important to them, as well as what their circle of support feels is important for them, such as ensuring that they are safe and healthy. The ISP drives the services for the individual, and the individual drives the ISP. The ISP is also a funding document and spells out what services the person gets, as well as how often. I’ll talk more in the upcoming months about provider services, which are included in the ISP.
One of the biggest misconceptions about SSA services is that they are mandatory. The person served by the board has to be seen by the SSA at least once a year per law, but if that’s all the monitoring they want, that’s what they will receive, barring any major concerns. A person may also decide they no longer want services from the board, which is also their right.
An SSA is really a jack of all trades. Each person has different wants and needs. Some individuals receiving services have family and friends to help, and others people may be on their own and need more guidance. In one day, an SSA might be helping someone apply for Medicaid, helping another person find an apartment and assisting someone else to fill out a job application. SSAs usually support adult caseloads on average of 28-34. Additionally, an SSA is available for after-hours emergency calls seven days a week, 24 hours a day. After-hours calls may come in for a variety of reasons, including needing assistance with emergency housing, reporting a hospitalization or health and welfare concerns.
The work an SSA does happens all around Shelby County. People with disabilities live in their communities in different living situations, just like people without disabilities. They may live with their families, on their own or with room-mates. SSAs provide guidance and support no matter where someone chooses to live.
SSAs also provide support for other aspects of someone’s life, including employment and recreation. We focus on community inclusion at the Shelby County Board of DD and we have resources and connections to try to make sure that everyone who wants to be a part of the community, gets the opportunity to do so.
For more information, please check out our website at www.shelbydd.org and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates. If you have a specific question, please call our office at 937-497-8155.
The writer is the superintendent of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.