One Giant LEAP for Arc Clients
LEAP stands for Life skills, Employment, Access and Partnerships. It is designed to enhance inclusion and give people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (and their family members) as much control over their lives as possible. The majority of clients’ time will be spent in their communities – like those pictured above – with minimal time spent in a traditional classroom setting.
Inclusion is a Top Priority at LEAP
Goals of the program are to:
- Enhance inclusion by offering clients the opportunity to utilize and practice the functional skills they are learning in a natural (community) setting
- Assist people to explore their interests and needs while fulfilling their career and personal goals
- Offer access to better educational and economic opportunities by using Work Based Learning (WBL) techniques such as gaining work experience by volunteering in the community
- Develop partnerships with organizations and businesses in the community who will work with our clients to provide jobs, volunteer opportunities and other options similar to those afforded to people who are not disabled.
- Provide individual clients with choices – backed with solid information regarding opportunities and consequences – in order to enhance an independent but integrated lifestyle;
- To provide information in a culturally sensitive manner
Low Staff/Client Ratio Makes Inclusion Possible
Staff to client ratio is 1:3. Individuals must be fully ambulatory. Individuals have both an onsite program as well as offsite outings into their own communities and occasional trips to the community at large.
LEAP was introduced as an option in the array of programs offered by The Arc of Alameda County in October of 2016 to replace the aging “Sheltered Workshop” model. A progressive program in its day, Sheltered Workshops, brought people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to a center to perform work activities such as shrink wrapping products. Today, funding agencies, parents and clients, see the workshop model as less-than-inclusive preferring jobs and other program activities to take place alongside non-disabled people in their own cities not in a special facility separated from the community at large.