Broadening our horizons!

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Options for Individuals, Inc
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of Options is to provide a day service program for adults with mental retardation and/or developmental disabilities which: 1) encourages each individual to grow and develop according to his/her own capacity; 2) fosters family stability; 3) promotes community involvement and social growth; and 4) encourages each individual to offer his/her unique gifts and talents to the community.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Imagine you’re a special education student who went to school in the 60s, 70s or 80s. How much individualized or small group instruction do you think you received? Do you think you had access to games and software that helped you learn to speak or to spell or to even read? Do you think you had access to computers at all? I imagine that the answer is probably “none” and “no” for most of you. So, Options for Individuals, Inc. (Options) decided to change all that with the idea of “better late then never”.

For 25 years, Options has been working with a special needs population in the Louisville Metro community…those adults of all ages impacted by physical and mental disabilities. This endeavor was born through the efforts of a group of concerned parents wondering what would happen to their children after “graduating”. Over the next few years the agency started to grow and collaborate with the Medicaid Supports for Community Living Waiver to provide alternatives to other individuals who might otherwise have been institutionalized…hence the name, Options for Individuals. Today Options works with participants ranging from their 20s to their 80s whom represent multiple cultural and racial backgrounds. It also attempts to maintain a diverse staff to assist these special individuals.

From the beginning programming tended to gear towards artistic expression, community involvement and volunteerism for the next couple of decades but then an opportunity arose that would allow participants access to new technology (or at least new to most of them). This was through a multifaceted project where computers were donated by Humana, Inc.; software was obtained through Microsoft’s collaboration with TechSoup; and funding for supportive equipment was obtained through the Dollar General Corporation Literacy Foundation. By putting these puzzle pieces together, Options was able to create a computer lab with opening to a whole new world for its participants. This lab was established about a year ago and has afforded individuals the opportunities and instruction for learning to speak or articulate, spell or define words, and even read in some situations. Various programs are used to practice skills with the assistance of direct care staff, speech therapists, and occupational therapists. The lab has become an integral part of Options’ daily programming , as well as the success of its participants. Participants are not only able to use these resources for educational purposes; they also utilize that lab for social reasons. Emailing, letter writing, and journaling have also become favorite activities of those with more advanced skills. Through the generosity of Microsoft, TechSoup, Humana, and Dollar General, we are proud to report our participants are embracing the opportunities to learn new abilities through technology, helping them to enhance their lives and skills in the areas of technology and literacy. Overall, the lab has created an avenue for participants’ individual growth and sustenance …plus sometimes its just fun playing on the computers!

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
computer lab group.JPG
Supporting Work Files