March 12, 2024

Tara Widens Her World Through Care Coordination Support

A person we serve is overcoming her fears to live a full life in her community.

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At Person Centered Services, we’re always excited to see the people we support reach their potential.

Tara Teator is a young woman who lives with her parents. She has an intellectual disability, and is mostly nonverbal, yet has many ways of connecting with others.

“She communicates through a few words, singing, gestures, facial expressions, her infectious smile and her laugh,” said Jennifer Chissom, who coordinates care for Tara through Person Centered Services.

Jennifer has been Tara’s Care Coordinator since the end of 2019, linking her to support, resources and opportunities. She was also her broker through the Arc of Steuben from 2017 to 2018 prior to her work at Person Centered Services’ offices in Bath, NY.

In many ways, Tara is a happy and upbeat person. She enjoys listening to music, watching videos, and having books read to her. She especially loves receiving direct support from Maddie, a member of her self-directed staff.

Tara has struggled, however, with severe anxiety about leaving her home. Historically, she long refused to have in-person visits with doctors because of her fears. She has also hesitated to receive help from staff in other areas of her life where she needs extra support. With Jennifer’s assistance, Tara is currently making major strides.

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Jennifer has seen Tara’s family and staff slowly help Tara overcome her fears over the course of the past four years. Jennifer provided support and suggestions regarding sensory-friendly items for Tara, such as gentler toothbrushes and other hygiene products. Tara now indicates she wants her teeth brushed from her self-directed staff and from her mother. She is also allowing them to help with other tasks.

“Tara’s parents and staff are amazing,” said Jennifer. “You can visually observe how much Tara loves them!”

Over the years, Tara started taking part in more outdoor activities on her porch and in her front yard. Ultimately, she was convinced to go on car rides, and now loves visiting the Burger King and McDonald’s drive-thru windows. During the past few months, this gradual progression in outings led to Tara finally seeing her primary care doctor and dentist in person. This is a tremendous step forward.

“Tara’s come a long way,” says her mother, Pam. “Jennifer is doing great with Tara. She is really good at her job and I’m glad I’ve got her.”

Jennifer has encouraged Tara’s family and staff to create a calendar with daily tasks, preferred activities, and scheduled car rides. This calendar can help Tara design the perfect day for herself. Tara is now planning to go outside more, take walks in the park, and visit other parts of her community as the weather improves.

We can’t wait to see how Tara makes the most of her life in the days ahead!

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