Supporting Families:  What are the three buckets of support strategies?

Supporting families is defined as a set of strategies targeting the family unit but that ultimately benefit the individual with I/DD.  Using the LifeCourse Framework as a basis for the strategies, states can assist family members who have a key role in supporting their family member with I/DD.  These strategies focus on addressing the emotional, physical and material well-being of the entire family and should be flexible, comprehensive, and coordinated. This is achieved by initiating changes that facilitate collaboration and use of community assets.

“What are the Three Buckets of Support Strategies?”

There are three core strategies in supporting families that emphasize collaboration along with the current assets the family and community possess.   These strategies are: discovery and navigation, connecting and networking, and goods and services, often called the “Three Buckets of Supporting Families”.  Many times as professionals who work directly with families, we focus only on actual goods and services even though we know that families need more or different kinds of support. Sometimes families need information about a disability diagnosis or about a particular therapy or program. Sometimes, they need opportunities to connect with others who have been in their shoes.      

Discovery and Navigation: Information, education, and training on best practices within and outside of disability services, accessing and coordinating community supports, and advocacy and leadership skills.  Some examples may include: Information on disability Information about options and possibilities for employment, community living, relationships, recreation, knowledge about best practices and values, skills to navigate and access services.

Connecting and networking:  Connecting a family with other families, including parents with disabilities, self-advocates and siblings, grandparents and other guardians for mutual support.  Examples might include parent-to-parent support, self-advocacy organizations, family organizations, sib-shops, support groups, professional counseling, non-disability community support.

Services and goods: Services that are specific to the daily support and/or care-giving role for the person with I/DD, such as planning for current and future needs, respite, crisis prevention and intervention, systems navigation, home modifications, and health/ wellness management. Other examples may include transportation, adaptive equipment, financial assistance, caregiver supports and training.