DHS Releases Latest Issue of Positive Approaches Journal

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) recently released the latest issue of the Positive Approaches Journal, which aims to provide the most recent research and resources for people with mental health and behavioral challenges, intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities to live an everyday life. This edition focuses on transitions and how they affect the populations DHS serves.

“Part of DHS’ mission is to ensure that people, regardless of disability, have the resources and information they need to live an everyday life. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused upheaval among individuals, families, and health systems, and that transitions to and from social distancing measures can cause great stress among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “We hope that this edition of the Positive Approaches Journal will provide some insight into best practices and methods so we can all work together to ensure that the people we serve can be better off as we continue to navigate the pandemic and many other life transitions.”

This edition features research and articles on the following:

  • Effectively Utilizing the Space Between What Was and What Will Be: This article advocates for a Person-Centered approach to transition planning and provides a case study from the LifeCourse Framework on a successful transition back to community activities following social distancing protocols during COVID-19.
  • Using Goal Attainment Scaling to Measure Progress and Make Instructional Decisions: This article reviews the concept of Goal Attainment Scaling for standardizing and measuring outcomes for an individual’s goals, as well as setting reasonable expectations for the progress an individual will make towards achieving that goal.
  • Moving in the Same Direction: A Case Study of How Integrated Care Can Support Independence and Community Living for Individuals with Complex Needs: This article highlights the successes that are possible for individuals presenting with complex challenges when stakeholders are committed to open communication and coordination, and when systems support innovation in programming.
  • My Life, My Way: After the Pandemic: Let’s Talk with A Self-Advocate: This article includes interviews with 11 self-advocates and four family member-facilitators and encourages self-advocates to use their voices in meetings and events that affect their lives.
  • A Win/Win: Using Both Personal Spiritual Strength to Heal and Experiencing Post-Traumatic Growth to Heal with a Transition and Reintegration in Sight: This article looks into the role that trauma plays in transitioning and reintegrating back into the community and how supporting spirituality along with mental health recovery can help individuals.
  • Use of Remote Monitoring to Positively Impact Individuals by Removing the Struggle Between the Person and Their Supports: This article highlights how remote monitoring and other positive strategies can be implemented to support people with intellectual disabilities or dual diagnoses.
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The journal is a collaboration of DHS’ Office of Developmental Programs and Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and collects research on resources, observations, and advancements in mental and behavioral health in order to better serve people in their communities.

Read this edition of the Positive Approaches Journal.

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