RHD Missouri delivers trauma-informed, person-centered residential and day services to people with intellectual disabilities in a way that treats people with respect and dignity and places a premium on their quality of life.
In addition to RHD Missouri’s hallmark companion model, which allows the people RHD assists to continue to reside in their own home with a live-in caregiver chosen by the consumer and their family, RHD offers shared living models that include both the companion and host models, and intermittent, supported service models. It’s the kind of control over their own lives that many people with developmental disabilities — and their families — strive for in a residential program.
Companions and shared living providers assist with daily activities (daily care, medications, meal preparations, etc. and take part in social and recreational activities. As housemates, they build a close relationship that comes from working together to achieve a mutually satisfying home life. In the companion model, the companion lives with the consumer in the consumer’s home. In the shared living program, individuals have the opportunity to live with a caregiver of their choice. Individuals supported in RHD shared living gain the stability and independence that comes with living in the community in a family-oriented model, and receive support in expanding their circle of friendships, pursuing community interests, and becoming active, full members of their communities.
In addition, RHD developed the Community Integration Program to meet the increasing need for individuals with developmental disabilities to become more active participants in their communities. RHD’s Community Integration Program assists individuals in developing community interests of their own choice, and provides the appropriate supports needed for individuals to fully participate in their communities. Each individual receives one-to-one support, and gains greater independence and a sense of pride and accomplishment by possessing skills to effectively utilize resources and establish natural supports within their communities.
RHD Missouri is also home to three of RHD’s creative art-based day programs: Blank Canvas Studios and Fine Line Studios in the St. Louis area, and Imagine That! in Kansas City. RHD creative arts studios broaden the horizons of people with intellectual disabilities and offer them the tools to define themselves as artists. The work of RHD artists is featured in national shows and galleries, where they earn income through the sale of their work and gain an outlet for creativity and self-expression through visual arts, music, and community involvement. Each year artists from RHD studios are featured at the St. Louis Outsider Art Fair, the largest outsider art show in the Midwest.
“We try to create a place where people want to be,’’ said Mandie Sehr, director of RHD’s Fine Line Studios. “The studio is an environment where people feel safe to be who they are, where people are engaged and energized, and where people have freedom. We celebrate the idea that what people want to communicate has value.”
RHD has long embraced art programs for people of all abilities as a means of offering creativity-based healing and learning opportunities, and also as a way to empower people to realize their creative potential and explore various means of personal expression. The results are often extraordinary.
“We give people the ability to roam, look at things and decide for themselves what they want to do,” said Lorraine Reeb, Director of Blank Canvas Studios. “Our staff works very hard to give people the opportunity to explore — and find — different things. It’s the epitome of individualized service. We don’t want people to try to fit in; we want to fit to them. We believe that’s the way to draw abilities out of people that maybe they didn’t know they had.”
“Since starting at RHD, I feel like there is more meaning to my life,” said Joe, a client at Imagine That! “I don’t know what I’d do without RHD.”