Programs

Employment:

disABILITY LINK has several programs focused on employment. We are an Employment Network the Ticket to Work program which provides Social Security disability beneficiaries who want to work with access to free employment support services. As an Employment Networks (EN) we can help with career counseling and assistance with job placement, including helping understand how benefits may be affected by work. We also provide services for employment for GA Vocational Rehabilitation Agency that provides opportunities to meet new employers and possibly gain employment and/or skills through the internship program, volunteer programs and job placement.
Individuals will meet with the Employment Specialist and develop a program that is specific to the individual and their goals.

Health and Wellness:

Our Health and Wellness program provides individuals with the opportunity to learn about overall well-being, Health and Wellness.
Our small gym provides an opportunity to develop programs that are specific to the individual and their goals. We offer a multitude of classes and opportunities that assist individuals in learning about how to live a healthier and more active life. Each program and the resources are personalized to help meet the needs of each person regardless of their disability. The programs are designed so that individuals can learn new ways of becoming or staying healthy to prevent more serious issues. Our Health and Wellness Specialist provides support for individuals to set and achieve meaningful health goals.

Assistive Technology:

The Assistive Technology Program at disABILTY LINK aims to increase access through technology. From low tech solutions like a stylus, grabber or bendable fork to higher tech options like CCTVs, tablets and software, we hope to find options for individuals that will fit their lifestyles and needs.

AT Demo Area:

Thanks to a partnership with Georgia Tools for Life ( www.gatfl.org ) we have an AT demo area where individuals can come in and try out equipment and learn more about what it is out there. We have devices that range from assisted daily living to iPads and an Android tablet. Come and and try out the equipment or arrange a demo with Sonny Carver, Assistive Technology and Deaf/Blind Outreach Services Specialist, at or call 470-395-2293.

Loan Closet:

disABILITY LINK welcomes donations of durable medical equipment and other technology and items that are in good working condition for redistribution to our consumers. If you have an item for donation, please call Sonny Carver, Assistive Technology and Deaf/Blind Outreach Services Specialist to ensure that there is both room for storage and/or someone in need of the device. All donations made are tax deductible and we can provide a donation letter to you at the time of receipt. If you are in need of a specific item please call in or e-mail so we can begin the process of loaning/donating an item or finding an alternate avenue for acquiring the needed equipment.

Balancing Incentive Program (BIP):
We are an access point organization for Georgia’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection for aging and disability services through the BIP (Balancing Incentive Program).

Callers call 866-552-4464, select Option 2 and then select
“physical disabilities.” You will receive calls from anywhere in the state, not just your geographic area.

The Balancing Incentive Program will help Georgia transform their long-term care systems by:

• Lowering costs through improved systems performance & efficiency
• Creating tools to help consumers with care planning & assessment
• Improving quality measurement & oversight

The Balancing Incentive Program also provides new ways to serve consumers in home and community-based settings, in keeping with the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as required by the Olmstead decision. The Balancing Incentive Program was created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Transportation:
Transportation is a very important service for individuals with disabilities. The lack of transportation is a primary factor that contributes to people with disabilities being stuck at home, causing missed doctor’s appointments and lack of employment opportunities.
The Voucher Transportation Assistance Program (VTAP) is a program that reimburses riders or transportation providers for travel provided. VTAP allows riders more choices in where they work and live and puts resources into the hands of riders rather than agencies. VTAP is available to individuals of all ages and all disabilities living or working in one of the 12 counties we serve. For more information and eligibility requirements please contact Susan Hickey, VTAP Specialist.
In the past year we assisted individuals with transportation reimbursement for:
 dialysis visits
 going to school
 job interviews
 errands
 other needs
Transportation utilized by participants ranged from service providers chosen by the individuals (family members and friends) to mass transit to local non-emergency medical transportation companies.
disABILITY LINK also provides group training workshops and presentations on trip planning and travel-training options for the region’s Voucher Travel Assistance Program (VTAP) community. Please see more information under Travel Training.

Youth:

“Young People Are Not the Problem, We Are the Solution”
Empowering Our Youth (EOY) is a group that is run for and by young people with disabilities. We advocate for ourselves, enact change and have fun! EOY is a program of disABILITY LINK, the Center for Independent Living serving the Metro-Atlanta Area.
Mission:
Empowering Our Youth supports young adults (ages of 14 and 29) with disabilities to advocate for themselves and enact change. We recognize all youth have skills and talents to share. We work to ensure that young adults with disabilities can take control of their lives as well as have fun.
EOY empowers and educates these young people through the transitional period of their lives. Whether you are going from high school into college, directly into the workforce, or seeking employment or housing, you are a young adult making an important transition decision.

Meetings and Events:
As a Center for Independent Living, disABILITY LINK seeks to provide the core services to all ages within the Metro Atlanta area and disaBILITY LINK’s service area. The youth/young adult engaging programs are provided through a new series W.A.T.C.H. M.E.!: When Advocacy and Teamwork Combine, “Help” Means “Empowerment!” W.A.T.C.H. M.E.! is a variety of activities based on independent living – provided within a few days of one week per month. The activities provided are presentations, hands-on training, community participation, or purely social. Without education, firsthand practice, and peer socialization, independence is a tough feat to claim.

Support our Youth:
Support our youth to go to events that provide those peer connections in their lives. See our donation page for more information.

Mobility Management (Travel Training Services):
disABILITY LINK’s Mobility Management Program provides comprehensive, customized trip planning assistance and travel training for persons with disabilities. This service provides the opportunity for people to be in control of their own travel plans and promotes a more independent life. disABILITY LINK also provides group training workshops and presentations on trip planning and travel-training options for the region’s Voucher Travel Assistance Program (VTAP) community.

Eligibility: People who have a disability.

Services:
• Training on how to read and apply bus schedules
• Customized, fully mapped-out trip plans
• Safety precautions to follow on or off fixed route and origin to destination services.
• Individual travel training
• Group Transit Mobility Training
• Support with scheduling information, referrals, transit applications, reservations, rights and responsibilities of riders and transit operators.

Delivery: One-on-one and group training sessions that are tailored to the needs and skills of each consumer.

Cost: disABILITY LINK’s mobility management services are delivered at no cost to the consumer.

ICWP:

Disability link offers Service Coordination to people who are on the Independent Care Wavier Program (ICWP). The ICWP is a Medicaid waiver for qualified persons, between the ages of 21-64 yrs old, who has a severe physical disability or traumatic brain injury. To be eligible for the ICWP, you must be deemed at risk for nursing home placement.

The purpose of the ICWP is to use money that would typically fund someone’s stay in a nursing home to help them live independently within the community. We (the service coordinator and participant) work as a team to coordinate services, which are approved by the state, to assist them with obtaining the necessary supports they need (personal care attendants, medical supplies, etc.) to live within their own homes. As a result, they are able to gain or regain control of their lives and live independently within the community and out of nursing homes and institutions.

Nursing Home Transition:

The nursing facility transition program introduces people with disabilities, who reside in nursing facilities to home and community-based services.

disABILITY Link offers:

  • information
  • resources
  • skill development.

Additionally, transition planning is available to assist those individuals with disabilities who choose to resettle in their home communities. In the past year, we transitioned twenty people from nursing facilities back to the community and are on track to meet or exceed that figure currently.

Peer Support:
Peer Support is a service in which individuals with disabilities empower other individuals with disabilities by sharing their life experiences. Because over 51% of the staff at disABILITY LINK are people with disabilities, almost every interaction is peer support – staff members have received training in peer support skills – here are some of the ways that peer support is described:

 “Been there, done that!”
 One person with a disability supporting another person with a disability
 Benefiting from the experiences of someone else (a trained peer supporter) in a similar situation – someone who has learned some life strategies, how to be a self-advocate and how to live independently
 Assisting someone to live their own independent life
 Carefully listening and asking questions to help people with disabilities make our own decisions
 Building bridges to people and resources in the community
Peer Support can help to:

 Help you to help yourself
 Support you to set and reach your own goals
 Take charge of your own life
 Get involved in the community
 Learn how to ride MARTA
 Learn how to get around in a wheelchair or scooter
 Budget – get your money to stretch further
 …and many other things

disABILITY LINK also provides opportunities for peer support training. In 2004, disABILITY LINK collaborated with recognized leaders in the disability community to develop training materials for the Peer Support Project. The course is designed to give peers the skills needed to both help themselves and be a source of support for others. The training also provides a forum in which to share experience and insight, and it demonstrates the techniques that make peer support optimally effective. The program has successfully trained and certified more than 500 peer supporters across the state of Georgia and nationwide.
The Peer Support Program connects people with disabilities with advocates who have experience in overcoming the challenges that often attend a life of isolation and the lack of choice.

Trainings:

We offer opportunities for trainings and consultations for consumers, businesses and community partners. Most of our trainings are offered as a free service, however some costs may be associated. Please contact our office for more information.

Below are a few examples of trainings and consultations we provide:

• Accessibility Surveys
Reviewing programs and facilities for accessibility to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)

• Advocacy Training
Training that provides individuals with information and skill building exercises to develop and enhance self and systematic advocacy skills. The goal of this training is for individuals with disabilities and others who are advocating for them, the skills and strategies necessary to be an effective advocate.

• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) training
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination and provides for equal access and opportunity in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. We provide training as it relates to all areas listed in the ADA.

• Independent Living
Training that assists consumers in developing the skills needed to live independently. The goal is to empower people with disabilities with the knowledge to perform daily tasks such as budgeting, transportation, interviewing, etc. in order to maintain or increase independence.

• Peer Support
disABILITY LINK’s Peer Support Program was developed from The Georgia Peer Support Project (which resulted from the Georgia Department of Human Services being awarded a Real Choices grant by The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare). The curriculum is the creation of a collaboration between The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and disABILITY LINK, and the skills and insights of peer supporters in Georgia. For more than ten (10) years, the curriculum has successfully trained five hundred (500) peer supporters with many kinds of experiences and labels in Georgia…and in North Carolina, South Carolina and Michigan. The training has been presented, to acclaim, at national conferences – The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) in May 2007, The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) in July 2007, and the Association of Programs in Rural Independent Living (APRIL) in October 2014.

• RESPECT Institute
This training empowers individuals to “Tell their Story” in a way that provides inspiration to themselves and others.

• Employment/LEAPS
disABILITY LINK has several programs focused on employment. We offer these programs to consumers, individuals, businesses and community partners.
disABILITY LINK is proud to offer the LEAPS program (Locating Employment Avenues with Peer Support) to our consumers for no cost and to individuals, businesses and community partners at low cost. LEAPS provides the following:
 Assistance with employment readiness skills (including interviewing, resume preparation, and job searching)
 Regular job leads for a variety of local employment opportunities
 Both one-on-one and group centered peer support
 Connections to state and community-based organizations such as the Benefit Navigator Program and Manpower
 Familiarity with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable employment regulations
 Educating employers about hiring people with disabilities and how to provide workplace accommodations

In addition, we are an Employment Network the Ticket to Work program which provides Social Security disability beneficiaries who want to work with access to free employment support services. As an Employment Networks (EN) we can help with career counseling and assistance with job placement, including helping understand how benefits may be affected by work. We also provide services for employment for GA Vocational Rehabilitation Agency that provides opportunities to meet new employers and possibly gain employment and/or skills through the internship program, volunteer programs and job placement.
Housing:

We provide services and work with Community Partners to secure housing, shelter, accommodations and modifications of any space used to serve, or occupied by individuals with disabilities.

While we do not provide housing or shelter we do assist in locating resources to let individuals identify possible opportunities.

The consumer will work with the Housing Specialist and develop an individualized plan to work on their specific goal as it is related to housing services.

disABILITY LINK also provides Independent Living Skills Trainings and Housing Advocacy classes that will/can:

• Empower people with disabilities to seek opportunities in their community – Learn about your rights and telling your own stories about what is or has been a barrier to finding Accessible and Affordable housing

• Encourage and Educate people with disabilities to attend public meeting(s) and become involved in the legislative process to promote Accessible and Affordable Housing

Home Modifications:

We provide information and referral, home modification services and work with Community Partners to complete home modifications that assist consumers in maintaining or increasing their independence in their homes.

We also are a contract administrator for the Department of Community affairs for the Brain and Spinal injury trust fund. Contact disABILITY LINK for further information.

Deaf and Blind Program:

disABILITY LINK’s blind and deaf program coordinates and provides specialized and traditional direct Independent Living services for blind and deaf consumers. We have a specialist who assists with providing interpretive services on an individual basis as well as with disABILITY LINK facilitated groups. disABILITY LINK works with all ages and people with disabilities in setting and maintaining goals to become independent or maintain independence in the community, focusing primarily on blind and deaf individuals. In addition, we provide community resources and community outreach as well as educating the public and other agencies regarding communication and accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Veterans Program:

disABILITY LINK’s Veteran’s Program seeks to support disabled veterans in their efforts to be fully integrated into their communities. We connect veterans to community resources, federal and state programs, other veterans groups, and the larger disability community. We offer training to enhance veterans’ employment skills, technological and financial skills, and increase social opportunities. We engage at local, state and federal levels to raise awareness of legislative matters that pertain to veterans with disabilities.