Smart Steps(TM), LLC offers smart phone applications and complementary products to support adults with cognitive disabilities to help them feel more confident when going to work, school, and other community activities (coming in 2014).
While working with 18-21 year olds in the community, the founder, President/CEO, Dr. Cindy Fisher, realized that many were growing in independence but could benefit from a little extra support. A desire to send them off to their next phase of life more prepared began this journey.
Her mission is to empower individuals in resolving everyday problems, avoiding the panic and anxiety involved when facing a sudden problem such as losing one’s backpack or getting lost.
Who We Serve
Ten percent of college students have a disability. The largest percentage have learning disabilities, while others experience autism, intellectual disabilities, persistent mental health issues, and traumatic brain injury. By 2018, more than 11 of every 1,000 college students are expected to have autism, based on the increasing identification rate in the school aged population. According to the World Health Organization, 9% of the world’s population has a cognitive disability, which would include the aging population.
On college campuses, most supports are for classroom work, such as study sessions, tutoring, and classroom accommodations. School counselors are available but generally by appointment during school hours. Many colleges (over 200 in the U.S.) have specialized programs for persons with intellectual disabilities. Programs vary widely in the classes and types of support available. For more info, see www.thinkcollege.net. In some cases, support is provided through peer supports and increased staff.
Persons with at least a minimal level of independence lack supports in the community.
- Individuals with developmental disabilities often qualify for companion-type of support through Medicaid HCBS waivers, but this is often over-serving for a person who is independent enough to go to college or work. Unfortunately, these are the only community supports available – until now.
- Many persons with autism are too high functioning to qualify for Medicaid waiver supports, so it’s up to the family to act as a support system. The needs of persons with autism is of particular concern because, in general, they experience difficulties in social communication, anxiety, and depression. This makes them prone to bullying. With these barriers, it is easy to see why they would have difficulty accessing naturally-occuring supports in the community when experiencing everyday problems that we all face. How many of these individuals stay at home, safe in their bedroom playing video games instead of working and going to school? We don’t know that number, but we do know that the unemployment rate for individuals with autism and disabilities in general is in the double digit range, twice that of the general population.
The aim of Smart Steps (TM) is to increase independence and confidence for young adults (and any age) while giving families more peace of mind.
What’s On This Site
This site has something for individuals with cognitive disabilities, parents, professionals, and caregivers. Many of the posts are written specifically for adults with disabilities who want to polish their skills in independence; these posts could be used as discussion points for classroom lessons or family discussions. Other posts are written directly to parents, professionals, or caregivers.
What You Can Do
While products are under development, we would love to hear from you and get your help in spreading the word! To get started, you can:
- Explore the site.
- Share it with others.
- Like Us on Facebook (see link on the right side of this page).
- Take the survey to give some direct input.
- Post your comments on the website or on Facebook.
We Appreciate Referrals
If you know a campus, adult service agency, or other group that would be interested in hearing about our technology, please share this information with them and/or leave us a message.
We appreciate your referral and will do everything we can to provide the best support possible to enable adults with disabilities to participate in education, the work environment, and the community as independently as possible. In some cases, it will save the cost of a paid companion support. In other cases, it will relieve anxiety and create more peace of mind.
Our vision is to provide a better way to operate in the world. With this technology, individuals will have the confidence and security that they can solve problems, and when they run into a tricky situation, they have a backup system right in their phone.
We’ve got your back! (TM)
Dr. Cindy Fisher, President/CEO