In October 2017, the Center on Aging and DIS-Ability Policy (CADP) at Mount Saint Mary College was awarded a three-year grant by the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC) to develop Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) training for family members providing care to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Training was provided to the CADP Steering Committee by staff at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Vanderbilt University.
As a result of this funding, the ProActive Caring program, a team of caregivers, faculty, staff, and independent contractors affiliated with the CADP; individual practitioners; and staff, advocates and self-advocates of community-based agencies throughout New York State, was developed. Over the course of the initial grant, the ProActive Caring e-Manual (a self-paced manual to provide caregiver support) was developed in collaboration with Mindy Scirri, Ph.D., and Theresa Drum of Parent Network of Western New York (PNWNY). In addition, the ProActive Caring Program developed tools and resources to facilitate online and home-based learning — e.g., the ProActive Caring School Exchange, the ProActive Caring YouTube Channel, the ProActive Caring Facebook page, and the ProActive Caring Digital Resource Center (PCDRC).
Since the completion of the initial project, two additional grants have been awarded to the ProActive Caring Program, the first addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities to access Transition assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the second to develop a Train-the-Trainer program to teach mindfulness strategies to individuals with IDD themselves by showing trainers how individuals with IDD can use a task analysis app.
We would like to thank the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS-DDPC) and the staff of the DDPC for their outstanding support of these projects. It is a tribute to New York State that the DDPC supports the well-being of both individuals with IDD and their caregivers.