In celebration of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, I want to recognize the important work our team is doing in the community each day to ensure that adults and children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) have the tools they need to build healthy relationships, live in the community and thrive.
One example is the Outpatient Biopsychosocial Approach for IDD Services (OBI) pilot program. We launched OBI in November 2020 alongside four other Local IDD Authorities (LIDDAs). This state-funded pilot program provides outpatient mental health services for people living with both IDD and mental illness who also have frequent encounters with police, emergency rooms, and/or psychiatric hospitals. Clients participate in an extensive biopsychosocial assessment and person-centered recovery plan to identify needs and goals that will improve their physical and mental health. OBI services include emotional regulation skills training, motivational interviewing, strengthening systems of support, navigating healthcare programs and services, improving physical health, medication monitoring, and complex case management.
The program is now beginning its second round of therapeutic skills groups, where clients with IDD and co-occurring mental health needs can attend weekly groups to learn emotional regulation skills. These groups provide skills training on yoga and meditation, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and art therapy. In addition to promoting emotional health, these groups provide important socialization opportunities.
Since launching, this program has seen positive results. Recently, OBI partnered with Adult Behavioral Health, Optum Value Based Care, the Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care and IDD PACE to help a client gain admission to Home Community Based Services (HCBS), a lifelong permanent supported housing program. This program has steep eligibility requirements, which the Collaborative Care Case Manager was able to help the client navigate. Now, the client has safe and stable housing, no longer bouncing between unlicensed boarding homes or worrying about becoming unhoused. With the basic need of safety now met, the team can assist them with changing their legal name to reflect their gender identity and authentic self.
“I have worked with this client since September of 2022. Since September, the client has lived in four boarding homes and visited with the Herman Center three times due to issues with her housing impacting her mental health. I was able to help the client apply to the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which provides mental health services and permanent housing. The client was originally denied, but I was able to work with the client’s team to reassess her and resubmit the application. The application was accepted, and the client was able to move into a licensed group home where she has lived stably for months. The HCBS program has assisted the client with finding counseling and scheduling and transporting her to medical appointments. This client has worked with the IDD crisis team for many years. This is the first time we have seen her in such stable housing.” — Tunisia Smith, Collaborative Care Case Manager
I am heartened to see the difference OBI has been able to make in the lives of those living with IDD in Travis County and am grateful for the state’s investment in this program.
To those at Integral Care and across the greater community who are supporting the needs of people living with IDD, I share my deepest thanks. The critical work you’re doing makes our community a better place.