FULTON, NY – Michelle Canfield, director of Developmental Disabilities Services at Oswego County Opportunities, recently attended a leadership consortium at the University of Delaware.
Sponsored by the ANCOR Foundation, the six-day consortium brought together professionals in the field of developmentally disabled services from across the country.
Topics included a history of developmental disabilities services, current trends, the importance of self-determination, and practices of exemplary leadership.
“It was a very intense training,” said Canfield. “It was the first leadership training I have attended that focused solely on the field of developmental disabilities. The goal was to create leaders that serve as change agents for the future of developmentally disabled services. ”
That future includes services that will focus more on self-direction and individual choice for individuals with developmental disabilities.
“Services for individuals with developmental disabilities are becoming more person centered and are based on an individual’s goals, desires, and interests. Rather than putting individuals into services, it’s providing services for the individual. Person centered planning is looking at the individual and having them tell us where they wish to live and how often they need staff assistance rather than us making those decisions for them. The goal is to not have an agency supporting people with developmental disabilities, but rather allow individuals to design the support they want and need while supporting themselves and being more involved and independent in the community. Person centered planning makes their life more fulfilling,” explained Canfield.
OCO’s Developmental Disabilities Services works with 156 individuals through a variety of services such as its individualized alternative residences, day habilitation, respite, and staff support.
“The ANCOR leadership program was an awesome experience. It was inspiring and provided me with exposure to other developmentally disabled programs throughout the country and provided an ongoing network with other professionals in the field. It has helped me to establish a clear vision of where our program is; where it needs to go in the future; and has provided the impetus for establishment of person centered planning that better reflects the desires of all the individuals we serve, ” said Canfield.
OCO, Inc. is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.
A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 100 separate locations.
For more information, visit www.oco.org.