Connection (December 2020)
AIM program opens doors for student with disability
Clayton Templeton, who has Down syndrome, leads a very active life with the help of services provided by AIM. And this fall, he started a new chapter in his life: college.
Templeton, 18, lives in the small town of Fillmore, in Allegany County. He attends Fillmore Central, where he’s been involved with school musicals and was the junior prom king. He started a business selling fudge at craft fairs. He’s gone to hip hop dance classes and swim parties.
Clayton has eligibility for services with the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), and AIM is a regional provider of OPWDD services.
He participates in AIM’s Community Habilitation Program, in which individuals learn independent living skills and build social skills through activities in the community. The program is self-directed, meaning Clayton and his family set goals, choose the activities he’d like to participate in, and hire staff of his choosing to support him.
He employs four different part-time staff through AIM, known as direct support professionals, who take him to activities. It makes him feel more independent because he’s not with his parents, but he still has support, said his mother, Heather Templeton.
“He has endless opportunities now that he didn’t have before,” she said. “This program has been a godsend. It has opened a world of possibilities. His life is very full.”
This fall, Clayton enrolled in a pilot program at nearby Houghton College in which students with developmental disabilities transition to college by taking one class per semester. He attends special education classes at Fillmore Central in the mornings, then goes to Houghton College in the afternoon for a presentational speaking class. He has a student peer mentor who takes him to social events on campus.
Clayton graduated with his classmates this spring but will likely stay at Fillmore Central until he’s 21, which is typical for students with developmental disabilities. He plans to continue taking classes each semester at Houghton College until he’s 21, and then attend full-time after that.
After bout with Covid-19, AIM’s Wilson urges others to be careful
Breanna Wilson, the manager of AIM’s Consumer Directed Home Care Services, is recovering from a bout with COVID-19 and has a message for others: Be very careful.
Wilson is 30 and has no underlying conditions. On the evening of Nov. 20, she suddenly developed a high fever and severe body aches. She tested positive the next morning, then spent a week in bed experiencing “the worst pain of my life,” she recalled.
She has slowly recovered over the past few weeks but still has fatigue and discomfort in her legs, and fears she may have “long COVID,” where symptoms can persist for months.
Wilson said she always took precautions such as masks, social distancing and disinfecting surfaces, and limited her trips to the store. She doesn’t know how she got infected.
“I encourage everyone to take a hard look at the precautionary steps you take each day. If you are at work, home, church, with family, etc. – it might be a good idea to ask yourself ‘Was I really six feet away from my coworker or friend? Did I wipe down the copier after I walked away? Do I really need to go into the grocery store today?’”
Roloson honored as 2020’s Employee of the Year
Taryn Roloson has been selected as AIM’s Employee of the Year for her work providing advocacy for area nursing home residents.
Roloson is the coordinator of AIM’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which advocates for residents of long-term care facilities in Steuben and Allegany counties. Staff and volunteers in this program typically visit residents and address health, safety and quality of life concerns.
The pandemic sharply restricted visitation and many facilities experienced outbreaks. The residents struggled with isolation, confusion and anxiety during outbreaks.
So, AIM staff had to work very hard to do outreach and let residents and their families know the service was still available. They called residents frequently and were persistent in addressing issues with nursing home staff.
Roloson also kept in touch with the Ombudsman Program’s volunteers and organized online trainings for them. The volunteers, who’ve been sidelined since the pandemic began, will be crucial to the program’s success when they can safely resume visiting long-term care facilities.
The Ombudsman team is a representation of the work the entire agency performed this year. We were designated as an essential business when the statewide shutdown began this spring, and we found new and innovative ways to serve our consumers and continue our mission of helping people live independently and remain in their homes.
This year, that was more important than ever.
We helped people transition out of nursing homes or avoid institutional placement. We coordinated the services they needed to live independently and offered many of those services directly, such as consumer-directed home care or self-directed services for people with developmental disabilities.
We loaned people assistive equipment. We helped people obtain Social Security disability and other benefit programs, and helped them get health insurance coverage. We helped people recover from addiction. We advocated for veterans. We provided stable housing for people with disabilities who were homeless. The list goes on. And for every program or service we offer, there’s many people who make it happen, from reception to maintenance to finance to management and the board of directors.
To everyone whose contributions enabled us to continue serving the community during an extremely trying year, thank you.
Welcome to our new hire:
- Hannah Prunier, Executive Assistant to the CEO
- Home Care Personal Assistant
- OWDD Self-Hire Staff
- OPWDD Direct Support Professional
To view job descriptions and apply online, visit aimcil.com.
AIM Independent Living Center will be closed for a holiday break beginning Wednesday, Dec. 23. We will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4. For more information, call (607) 962-8225.