To embrace the variety of responsibilities and skills needed to be a successful Support Broker.
1. Describe the role and purpose of the Support Broker.
2. Describe the values, skills, and attitudes of a successful
3. Identify your current strengths and needs for skill development
to meet the requirements of Support Brokerage.
The My Voice, My Choice Self-Directed support program in Idaho is part of a national agenda to assist people with disabilities to have more control over their own lives, and to the greatest extent possible be Self-Determined. Support Brokerage is a concept that comes out of the Self-Directed Supports model.
A Support Broker is personal ally hired by an adult with a disability to help create and implement life plans, manage budgets, supervise support staff, negotiate rates for supports, network within the community, and expand the circle of friends and other allies in the community.
The ideal Support Broker is a creative, multi-talented, well-connected individual
with the skills to support and promote the rights, needs, and talents of
individuals with disabilities. The Support Broker's role is uniquely
defined by each adult for whom they work.
Support Brokerage is not a standardized or fixed service delivered equally to each person with a disability. Instead, the role of the Support Broker is to assist each individual to live the life they choose. In other words, the "job description" for a Support Broker will vary depending on the needs and desires of each individual employer. It is the adult with a disability and his circle of support that determine the specifics of a Support Broker's responsibilities.
SKILL SET OF A SUPPORT BROKER
To become an effective Support Broker, self-advocates believe that the following skill set is needed:
Values: As a Support Broker, you are in a position of service. You are hired to help your employers define the supports that they feel are necessary to do the things in life that are important to them and to help put those supports in place. To do the job of a Support Broker, you must believe in Self-Directed Supports and the guiding principles of Self-Determination. A Support Broker must believe that every person has the right and the ability to make choices. A Support Broker shows dignity and respect for all people.
Skills: To be an effective Support Broker you will need to develop a strong skill set. You will need to understand "the system" and how it works, how to negotiate rates, bill for supports using a fiscal intermediary, write support plans, host Circle of Support meetings, conduct person-centered plans, find jobs, etc. But most importantly, you must be a careful listener. You need to hear what your employer needs and wants. In relation to others, you need to be an effective advocate, communicator, and a thoughtful diplomat.
Attitudes: People with disabilities are all too often surrounded by unmotivated help. As a Broker, it is vitally important that you enjoy what you do, be enthusiastic and positive. It is important to show a genuine interest in your employer and to take them seriously. A sense of humor is also helpful. Many of the changes that you will participate in as Support Broker are exciting. Therefore, be excited!! Enjoy the opportunity to serve People with Disabilities and help others join the celebration of Self-Determination for all.
Throughout this section you will learn more from self-advocates about what a Support Broker means in terms of values, skills, and attitudes. Your role as a Support Broker is best defined by your employers. Your duties and responsibilities will be negotiated with your employers. Listen, read, and learn from the people who are ready to live Self-Determined lives.
Your values, skills, and attitude are extremely important. Do you believe in Self-Determination? Are you patient? Will you have the right attitude even when you encounter a difficult situation?
Larry's own words are: "I hope they have a right attitude in what they are going to be trained to do, because, really in reality, they have to be patient with our disabilities. They have to have the right attitude. They have to be outgoing. No matter what, this is history in the making for Idaho."
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