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Personalized Advocacy Services

At Starfish Savers, we have seen the difference that advocacy can make in the lives of those who are considered “disabled.” People who are differently abled may need assistance giving voice to their strengths and barriers in order to obtain the supports, services, and accommodations they require to be their best selves. If you or a loved one needs assistance to have a voice, we’re here to help with in-person and virtual services.

Disabled child on wheelchair smiling face as happy with parent in the nature outdoors park
Schematic of two workers pushing puzzles towards each other

Self-Determination

Self-Determination is our guiding philosophy because it’s at the center of the decision-making process. We listen and learn to understand the goals of our clients and help them find matches that join their goals, skills, and available opportunities.

With Starfish Savers, Everyone has a Voice

Advocacy requires having a voice. Starfish Savers ensures that each person has their voice heard loud and clear—whether they can talk for themselves, need support, or need someone to talk for them. We teach each person how to effectively express their strengths as well as their needs.

If you are helping a person with developmental delays or challenges, a learning disability, or ADHD to navigate school, work, social situations, and life in general, then you understand the difficulties that can come with advocacy. No matter where you are in your loved one’s developmental journey, they will have a voice. That happens through us, through you…and eventually, they’ll use their own voice to the best of their capabilities.

Starfish Savers understands the struggles that can come when working with disability services from preschool through adult life. We’ll help you develop formal plans with the information needed to meet the needs of the client as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes 504 Accommodation Plans, Individualized Education Plans, Individual Employment Plans, and Individual Service Plans.


Services

Services include phone consultations with parents, teachers, and/ or private professionals to discuss strengths, barriers to success, goals, objectives, and accommodations. Support includes working with clients to develop documentation reflecting their input about themselves or their child.  A client’s team is critical to success, and we therefore participate and support our clients’ participation in IEP or other formal meetings.

When You Want to Develop Your Own Self-Advocacy Skills

At Starfish Savers, we believe everyone can learn to communicate their needs. Being able to advocate for yourself is a big step towards attaining your dreams—which are only achievable when you can communicate effectively with others, in professional and casual settings.

If you are a person who needs support with self-advocacy, we can be there to help. Sometimes anxiety, lack of confidence, learning challenges, or being overwhelmed can prevent you from advocating for your needs. We can help by coaching you, being with you, and/or speaking for you at your request. Independence (or doing everything alone) is not always the goal. Getting the accommodations and support you need from disability services, tutoring centers, professors, and employers is the goal—so you can be your best.

We use a variety of techniques to help you achieve your communication goals. That might include scripting, practice with our coaches, or a lot of supported practice in the community.

You deserve to have the support you need to pursue your dreams!

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Coaching Services for Teens and Young Adults

Help with School, Transition, Employment, and “Soft Skills”

Whether it’s finding employment or building the soft skills to remain employed and engaged in the community, we have the services to help.

We’ll work to build a plan to develop and showcase interests, skills, career, goals, training requirements, and beyond. We have worked with many people with complex needs through their middle, high school, and early adult years, and have found that conversations about “when the bus is coming” and “what’s next” are not starting early enough. So, we collaborate with schools and the IEP transition plan to develop realistic and concrete steps toward post-high-school goals.

We work with you to identify the steps necessary to become independent and/or move toward your dream of college, job training, or work. We value your opinions and strengths and use a variety of techniques to help you become an attractive candidate. We’ll sit with you and guide you through the application process, practice interviewing, discuss disclosure of a disability, provide one-on-one instruction, and help you find your best fit.

School and work aren’t all business—they’re social, too. We’ll help you develop and use interaction and time management skills to get into your community.  With Starfish Savers, you can stand tall every step of the way to your dream!

Communication

Communicating with another person is crucial to any situation and is often the most difficult skill to develop and use. We will listen to and work with each client to identify what prevents or makes it difficult to communicate effectively in a range of environments and with a variety of people. We will teach techniques to improve or maximize your skills within your comfort level and determine what works. 

Teamwork

Teamwork means working with other people and occurs in almost every setting. Developing skills to work with others calmly and effectively is important, but it is also important to know the options, accommodations, and/or supports that may be needed when working with others.

Leadership

Leadership is the ability to provide information and knowledge to others confidently and effectively to achieve a goal. Everyone can aspire to leadership in some form, whether in front of everyone or in the background.

Problem Solving

Problem Solving is the ability to define a problem and identify possible solutions to choose the best one. In addition to direct instruction, we can determine accommodations to assist in these processes such as defining steps, developing visual aids, and maximizing technology.

Self-Motivation

Self-Motivation requires a person to work and participate in completing a task. We help a person determine if accommodations or supports are required to improve self-motivation and self-initiation.

Time Management

Time Management is the ability to balance a variety of tasks quickly and efficiently. We work with you to identify priorities and preferences for using your time. We also get creative to find what works for you with anything from sticky notes to complex technology.

Group of teenager friends on a basketball court teamwork and togetherness

How We Teach Soft Skills

Starfish Savers LLC uses a variety of ABA principles to help our clients develop soft skills to achieve their goals. A high level of positive feedback and experiences is consistently provided to increase self-confidence and progress. We evaluate the purpose of ineffective behaviors and habits that prevent success and identify effective replacements. 

We also use visual, structured teaching based on the principles of TEACCH, helping our clients break down goals into individual and attainable units. We find this promotes easier learning, improves information retention, and builds on success. Experience has taught us that ensuring success is the most important factor in building it. Success Builds Success!

How We Determine the Services You’ll Need

With observation, review of relevant documents, and support, we will develop a service plan to advocate for your exceptional loved one.

observe

Observation

Observations usually last 30 minutes to one hour depending on the environment’s policy. We prefer to observe clients in their natural environment—including home, school, and work—to determine their unique strengths and barriers. This also helps us to identify IEP/504 accommodations, goals, services, and positive behavioral supports and placement. Please note that most school districts are no longer allowing observations except for a formal assessment which is not a service we offer.

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Review

We’ll review the most recent testing, Individual Education Plans (IEP), progress reports, and any other information you can provide. We’ll share our professional experience and acquired knowledge to support you, your family, and professional team to meet your exceptional loved one’s needs—and help them to help themselves as well.

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More About Starfish Savers Services

What we do is driven by what is needed by each individual and varies widely. Study skills, organization, and other school or personal administrative skills can be practiced in libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, or even at a park. Community engagement and social opportunities can be bowling, crafts, volunteering, museums, and using public transportation. We generally incorporate walking into most activities as it naturally stimulates the brain and allows for conversation.

If fitness is a goal, we can walk in malls, on trails, or with the family dog. We can bike, hike, kayak, canoe, rock climb indoors, swim, go to a gym or trampoline park, etc.

Services are provided both virtually and in-person. Often a combination is most effective. Using brief virtual check-ins can support the work that is done in person and vice versa. In-person services are primarily delivered in the community but can also be done at home to learn and practice targeted skills.

Transportation is provided for in-person services. We pick up the client from the home, take them to the activity, and return home. The time in the car creates a natural transition to prepare for the activity and serves as a time for interaction skills.

Sessions range from 15-minute virtual check-ins to three-hour in-person outings. Most sessions are one-and-a-half to two hours.

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