The rollout of a new communication tool, Communication Toolkit for Discovery, is underway. The tool, an iPad with a fully customizable communication app, provides a visual and auditory method to empower and equip staff with a means to better interact with people supported who may have difficulty understanding, remembering or communicating with spoken words during the discovery process, such as information gathering meetings, personal mapping sessions, pre-planning ISP meetings, ISP meetings and the Council on Quality and Leadership’s Personal Outcomes Measures interview.

This device should also make it easier for people supported to better understand which activities, volunteer sites, restaurants, shops and personal goals are offered at their site, understand personal outcome indicators during POM interviews, as well as voice their comments and feelings. This, in turn, should enable people to be more engaged in and participate during discovery sessions.

The toolkit, housed in a binder, contains training material, a simple receptive language checklist, and surveys to be completed by both people supported and staff after device use. Once the surveys are completed, the qualitative data will be collected, reviewed, and examined as it pertains to project outcomes.

This innovative communication tool was developed as a result of the Planning Process Redesign Committee Meetings. The pilot project is currently underway at Howie Stone Day Services and Stephen B. Siegel Day Services where Community Support Supervisors indicated as many as 18 and 37 people, respectively, might benefit from its use. Besides Day ServicesHome Care ServicesResidential Services, and the Quality Improvement Department have all expressed interest in implementing this technology to enhance information gathering and the discovery process.