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|Effective Program: Triumph Services, Inc.|
Triumph Services, Inc.
Mission: Triumph exists to provide community-based support to individuals with developmental disabilities who are trying to live independently.
Vision: Triumph envisions a day when individuals with developmental disabilities are valued as essential members of society and accorded the same dignity and respect as other individuals who are not perceived to have disabilities. The painting to the right entitled, Celebrating Individuality by Liz Landgren, embodies Triumph's vision. Landgren was a guest presenter at a monthly Triumph Support Group and went home inspired to paint this picture with elements representing the unique personalities of many of the individuals participating in the group.
Triumph Services, Inc.
Triumph Services, Inc. was founded on August 1, 2007 to offer a holistic approach to services for adults with developmental disabilities who had the goal to live independently. Seventy-six percent of the individuals Triumph supports have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Many programs targeted to support adults with developmental disabilities are funded through the Medicaid Waiver in Alabama. The individuals Triumph supports do not qualify for services offered through state agencies or the Medicaid Waiver, because their disabilities are not considered “severe” enough. Nonetheless, this is a group who has great potential, and who desperately needs support. Currently, Triumph has assisted more than 200 individuals in their efforts to live and work independently.
Services are centered on three aspects of existence- living, working, and playing. Triumph offers life coaching (live), supported employment (work), and social activity coordination (play). In addition to these three main services, Triumph also offers individual, couples, and group therapy to address anxiety and depression. Triumph staff and therapists work together to provide a multidisciplinary team, also called a Support Team, dedicated to assisting each individual in meeting his/her goals. By providing these services, Triumph gives individuals with disabilities the supports they need to live independently, an option that is both more inclusive and cost effective than a more restrictive residential placement.
What people are saying about Triumph:
Triumph's employment program has an overall job retention rate of 92.3%. This retention rate is based on three key actions: Triumph spends a great deal of time getting to know each person prior to finding a job match; Triumph involves Life Coaches, Therapists, and other important individuals in the job development; and Triumph continues to support the person indefinitely throughout the life of the job. Below are the typical steps for a person involved in the employment program.
1. Discovery Process
As part of the discovery process, we also observe the individual in a variety of work settings based on his/her interests and strengths. The discovery process is finalized by a vocational profile and the development of a list of potential employers.
2. Job Development/Hire
3. Job Coaching/Retention
4. Closure/ Long-term support
What makes Triumph work?
"When a person begins services with Triumph, he/she enters into a partnership based on dignity and respect. It is this philosophy that guides everything we do at Triumph. We see each person as a complex individual who has a vision and dreams for their lives. Triumph builds a support team around each person to help make these dreams a reality.
We understand that success is not built upon failure, it is built upon success. Because of this understanding, we support each person in experiencing success – in any way possible – in all areas of life. This success may be as small as learning to greet a new friend. Or this success could be as great as beginning a long-term career. When an individual begins experiencing success, sometimes for the first time in their lives, that individual gains the confidence and motivation to move forward in other areas as well. Triumph's support team is here to partner with each person in this journey." Brooke Stephens, Executive Director
Meet Ellen: Ellen and her mom approached Triumph in 2009 to assist Ellen in becoming more independent. Ellen was a 23 year-old woman who lived with her mother and grandmother and rarely left her home due to her difficulty in social situations. During this initial visit, Ellen was immobilized by fear. This fear made it difficult for Ellen to climb the steps in the office (Ellen does not have mobility challenges) and to sit on the sofa (Ellen wanted to sit in her mother's lap). Ellen is on the autism spectrum and also has a diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome. When Ellen “ticked,” she would immediately say, "I'm sorry, I have Tourette's Syndrome. Does that bother you?"
Ellen's mom reported that Ellen spent most of her time coloring and completing word search activities. The only work history Ellen experienced was through her high school vocational program and included one-on-one job coaching. Ellen aspired to work in the medical field, in an office setting, or with children. It was obvious from the first meeting that Ellen was a bright young woman with a great deal of potential.
Triumph began life coaching services to help Ellen become more independent in the home and to address social skills. Ellen also began seeing a therapist through Triumph, who addressed Ellen's anxiety and helped her learn to express her feelings. After three months of life coaching and therapy, Triumph's employment team secured a position for her in the Animal Nutrition Center at the Birmingham Zoo. Though working with animals was not an initial goal of Ellen's, she was excited about the opportunity. Ellen excelled at this position. Her confidence grew, which decreased her tics at work and eventually in all settings. Ellen continued in this position for seven months. However, the zoo had a strict policy, which prohibited Ellen from working without a job coach. One of Ellen's greatest goals was to find a position where she could work independently. Triumph's employment team began searching for a new position where Ellen could learn to work without a job coach. We approached the Alabama Justice Ministries for a clerical position for Ellen. This nonprofit organization embraced Ellen and partnered with Triumph's Job Coach to carve out a position for her. With intense job coaching and the development of a social story Ellen was able to learn her job tasks, understand what to do during breaks, and improve her social skills in the work environment. Ellen is working independently!
Ellen continues to see her life coach on a weekly basis and checks in with her therapist as needed. Triumph also checks on Ellen at work on a monthly basis. We are honored to partner with Ellen on her journey of success.
See a Day at Work with Ellen:
Costs of Program
Triumph's employment program is funded at 54% by the Alabama Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, 6% Consumer-paid fees, and 40% federal grants/contracts.
Necessary for Successful Replication
Triumph's holistic model of services can be replicated by a team of professionals who embrace Triumph's philosophy of empowering the individual in a community based setting. This team must be trained to address all of a person's needs including emotional needs, independent living skills, social skills, and employment. In addition, the team must be prepared to meet each person where he/she is and individualize services based on each person's goals and skill set.