Honolulu (KHON2) – March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month so Living808 featured resources available through Full Life Hawaii to help cope with the emotional toll the pandemic has had on all of us, especially people with developmental disabilities.
Full Life Hawaii is a Hawai‘i Island nonprofit that works to empower people with developmental disabilities and their families to live self-determined and full lives in the community. “We provide 1:1 services to support independence in the home, 1:1 services to support community inclusion. And 1:1 services to help people discover their dream jobs and provide assistance finding jobs and coaching on the job,” explains Jim Kilgore, Executive Director.
Full Life Hawaii celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020. It was started in 2000 by a local Kona family serving one person and now serves nearly 80 people island wide.
Full Life Hawaii by the numbers:
* Provided 1.75 million 1 to 1 support hours in the past 20 years
* Provided over 10,000 hours of community inclusion and integration services annually.
* Served over 200 people with disabilities and their families
Full life Hawaii ensures inclusion. “Social exclusion and isolation are real problems for people with disabilities. Many are unnecessarily excluded,” adds Kilgore. “FLH helps ensure people are included in their community and develop a sense of purpose or what is sometimes called socially valued roles. Art is inclusion. Art is essential. Art is a powerful way to express yourself and and communicate.”
FLH partner’s with the Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division to serve people with the greatest needs on Hawaii Island.
People with disabilities have been impacted even harder during the pandemic.
A letter in November 2020 American Journal of Psychiatry sounded the alarm that people with developmental disabilities are disproportionately affected:
* Many people lost access to caregivers and service providers
* Limited access to school
* Difficulty using technology to stay connected
* May not understand what they need to do to protect themselves from the Coronavirus
* Telehealth may be difficult because some people have challenges articulating their needs.
* Just like everyone else, many people rely on a routine and structure. That has been significantly disrupted. We all miss gathering with friends and family, going to movies, concerts, and so much more.
* Social distancing is extremely impactful for people who already experience isolated. We have worked so hard to ensure that people are included and a part of the community. Isolation hurts all of us in Hawaii.
FLH maintained most in-person services or restored in-person services within weeks of the pandemic. Supported by Department of Health to provide 1:1 supports to people who were receiving group services…Full Life ensured that everyone who wanted to continue having services were provided services safely and were trained.
Call FLH for support on the Big Island. There’s an office in Hilo and in Kona and provide services island wide 808-322-9333; message on Facebook Full life Hawaii.
* Contact the Developmental Disabilities Division: health.hawaii.gov/ddd
* Hawaii CARES: mental health resources, crisis support, or help with isolation and quarantine 24/7: 1-800-753-6879 or text ALOHA to 741741
Facebook: Full Life Hawaii