Specialized Focus Areas

Beaverbrook STEP, Inc. has earned wide acclaim and recognition as a leader in the provision of quality programs and services for students with significant disabilities who are aging out of special education services in Massachusetts when they turn 22 years of age.  Planning for Turning 22 services usually begins several years before the student is 18 years old; Beaverbrook STEP encourages families to begin looking at adult services provided by community providers as early as possible in the transition process. 

We have extensive experience serving young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, mental health, behavioral and complex physical and medical needs.  Our Turning 22 programs and services focus on helping young adults to develop the necessary life skills, social relationships and self advocacy tools necessary for full adult membership in their community. 

STEP’s highly trained staff provides personal care, health care oversight, clinical services and community and recreational activities that promote inclusion into all aspects of community life-home, work, volunteerism, civic participation and leisure activities.  Our supports emphasize and support close, on-going relationships with family and friends.

Depending upon funding availability, service needs and living situation, STEP provides young adults and their family members with an array of community based services, both in and out of the home.  Our services are organized into 4 major categories:  Residential, Day Services, Family Support Resources and Community & Recreation.
MGL Chapter 688:  Turning 22 Services

Chapter 688 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires special educators to develop an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) for all eligible special education students who will need adult services when they leave school.  This process includes referral to the most appropriate lead adult service agency:  MA Department of Developmental Services, Mass. Rehabilitation Commission, MA Department of Mental Health, Mass. Commission for the Blind or Mass. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  The transition process must begin at least 2 years prior to the student’s anticipated graduation (if the student receives a diploma) and/or by Age 22, when a student ages out of special education services in Massachusetts. 

Unlike special education, most adult programs are not entitlement services.  The Individual Transition Plan, therefore, is a written plan for adult services and programs, subject to State funding and availability.  The ITP plans help State agencies to anticipate future service needs and plan accordingly, but services are always subject to the passage of sufficient funds by the MA Legislature each year as part of the State budget.

Overall, the Turning 22 process can be a stressful time for students and family members.   Because the adult service system is very different from special education where services are guaranteed for everyone, it is particularly important for students and their family members to reach out to State transition staff, private providers and advocates for advice and assistance early in the process.
Turning 22 Referrals to Beaverbrook STEP

As part of a transition team approach, Turning 22 referrals to Beaverbrook Step are coordinated with the student’s local education authority and the lead State agency identified for the student’s adult services.  Referrals can be made for single services such as one of our day programs or one of our residential service models or for both day and residential services.  We also accept referrals for in home and family support services as part of STEP’s Agency with Choice program. 

Once a referral is received by STEP, our clinical staff begin the process with a meeting and a tour of program(s), as appropriate.  Because STEP’s philosophy focuses on empowering individuals/families through the individual planning process to make their own personal choices and decisions, we use person-centered planning tools to develop a comprehensive, individually designed plan for each person.  Our goal is to help students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their family members to determine and select services based upon their own personal dreams and life vision.

The referral process also includes some or all of the following steps:

•  A review of STEP Policies and Procedures, program eligibility requirements, program services and consent forms.
•  A review of school, medical and other records including recent assessments and the ITP plan for service
    development (residential, day, family support, health care, recreation, self advocacy etc.).
•  A review of funding and financial requirements.
•  A review of guardian status.
•  A request for additional assessments, if necessary.
•  Tour of selected program, followed by short visits to the program.
•  Referral decision and placement planning.
Clinical & Other Support Services

STEP’s Senior Clinical Team includes our Director of Health Care Services (RN), a Master’s level, ABA certified Behaviorist, a social worker (LICSW) and a mental health clinician (LMHC).  This team provides each person served with the appropriate medical and clinical services including:

•  management of medical care, in-home nursing and personal care services;
•  development of service and behavior plans based upon comprehensive assessments that identify each person’s
    needs; and
•  development of necessary social service supports, accessible environments, assistive technology and multi-modal communication features, designed to insure optimal functioning for individuals.
Training & Resources

Beaverbrook STEP also has comprehensive training for staff and managers focused on meeting the needs of Turning 22 individuals as they develop and grow into mature citizens, actively involved in community life.  On- going training includes:

•  Transition services for Turning 22 individuals
•  Accessible design of home environments
•  Person centered and future vision service planning
•  Exercise, nutrition and wellness
•  Travel training
•  Human Rights
•  Computer training and adult education
•  Multi-modal communication techniques
•  Adaptive and assistive equipment and devices
•  Communicating with peers, care providers, families and community members
•  Use of generic recreation and leisure services (library, museums, YMCA’s, parks)
•  Self advocacy group (Community Advocates Board)

In addition, Beaverbrook STEP provides educational workshops for family members and guardians around topics of interest including Recreation & Leisure Services, Nutrition and Wellness; Estate Planning and Guardianship; and Communicating with Care Providers.  For more information click here:  Family Support Services.
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