My name is Joseph Allen and I recently graduated from a Midwestern university with a Master’s Degree in Special Education that specializes in Autism and Intellectual Disabilities.
While attending college, I had a part-time job as a Direct Support Professional. This is a job where you support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live in their community. It's amazing how the relationships developed over time with such a rewarding job.
During my time as a DSP, there was more people my age receiving services from this agency and before I graduated, a position called Day Services Coordinator opened up. I always wondered what life might be like for a person transitioning out of special education services and into the real word. I applied and received the job.
At first I was overwhelmed, then I reached out to the Institute for Community Inclusion and was recommended to following the steps in the book Make the Day Matter!: Promoting Typical Lifestyles for Adults with Significant Disabilities.
Ever since 2013, I’ve been collaborating with people supported, upper management, and direct support professionals on modernizing their day, transition, and retirement servings to help people pursue jobs and activities they like. For the past two years, I was even employed as an adjunct to teach SPED-100 with freshmen, sophomores, and some of the people I support. Finally, I am Head of Delegation for local Special Olympics where adults compete in sports across the state.
The purpose of this site is to record my journey and hope that this can serve as a guide to help other agencies design modern services for people, thus making their day matter.
*I care about the privacy of the people mentioned in this blog so the names are fictitious.*