Our Philosophy and Mission

    The Whole Self Center’s philosophy suggests that every human being is more than a body with a brain. When caring for a child – a whole person - we are experiencing the creative spirit present in that child & in ourselves.

    • As we remain interested in exploring creative possibilities for the individual in the moment, we are more open to experiencing something new, such as developing a valuable skill we never knew or thought was possible.
    • In this way, we are less likely to stay stuck in repeating our old, inhibiting habits & behaviors.
    • By living this understanding with individuals with autism, we continue to become better able to respect & support children for who they already are, deserving of love & attention simply for being.

Differences in Services

Intensive Individual Support Services technicians must have at least a high school diploma. We prefer to employ individuals who have education and/or training along with experience providing care for children with autism; however, we will consider each person's strengths and abilities when offering him/her a position as IISS technician within our agency.

IISS technicians provide intensive, one-on-one supportive interventions to a child with autism. We allow our work technicians to work 1-25 hours per week either as the sole technician for one child or as a member of the team of technicians assigned to a child. IISS is based on a treatment plan specifically individualized for the child. The treatment plan can involve the technician: preventing or diffusing crises, promoting developmental and social skills growth, providing the child with behavior management skills, giving the child a sense of security and safety, assisting the child with maintaining self-sufficiency and impulse control, improving the child's positive self-expression and interpersonal communication, improving the child's ability to function and cooperate in the home and community, reversing negative behaviors and attitudes, and fostering stabilization and structure.

IISS technicians are offered ongoing individualized instruction and supervised by our professional staff.
IISS hours consist of:

    • Goal-directed and task-oriented intervention developed on an individualized basis. 
    • Using home and community environments as a learning experience and opportunity to illustrate and model alternative ways for the participant to behave.
    • Assisting the participant in achieving successful home and community living through structured support, reinforcement modeling, and behavior management, as evidenced in written progress notes.
    • Providing transportation and accompanying the participant to non-medical services, as necessary to his Treatment Plan.

IISS technicians are expected to:

    • Prevent or diffuse crises
    • Promote developmental and social skills
    • Provide the participant with behavior management skills
    • Give the participant a sense of security and safety
    • Assist the participant with maintaining self-sufficiency and impulse control
    • Improve the participant’s positive self-expression and interpersonal communication
    • Improve the participant’s ability to function and cooperate in the home and community
    • Reverse negative behaviors and attitudes
    • Foster Stabilization


Respite care is different from IISS.  It doesn’t involve focused teaching of goals.  Respite is esssentially child-care, but it requires the worker to understand how to address the special needs of a person with autism. The client is to be engaged in activities that interest him/her and may be taken for community outings designated by the family; but State regulations specify that: Respite may only be provided in the client’s home (i.e. the person must sleep overnight at his/her own home).  The client may not be taken to the technician’s home to receive Respite services.  The client cannot stay overnight at the technician’s home.  Respite includes providing the client assistance with daily living. As with IISS, during respite hours, the technician is only to be responsible for the assigned client.  The technician cannot provide child-care to the client’s siblings or others who need adult supervision.  

Things to Consider about Family Consulting
According to Autism Waiver regulations, “Family Consulting is a service designed to provide assistance to the family in their home and community.  A billable Family Consulting hour consists of the Family Consultant providing instruction and hands-on training to family members about the interventions they may use with their child/teen in the home and the community.”  Families cannot ask an Autism Waiver Provider for Family Consulting solely to have someone train and/or supervise the technicians who provide IISS to the individual.  However, families can ask that the technicians, as well as anyone else involved in caring for the child/teen, be present at Family Consulting sessions so that everyone can be consistent in the way they support the individual to practice the tasks designed to develop skills outlined on the treatment plan.  

In addition, according to Autism Waiver regulations, providers cannot mandate that families use Family Consultants from their agencies in order to be eligible to receive IISS from that agency.  All Waiver services are separate entities.  Families are free to request Family Consulting without being required to use IISS hours from The Whole Self Center.  Families are also free to choose different Autism Waiver providers for the various services designated on the Plan of Care.  Families are able to allot any number of service hours to different agencies in whatever combination they prefer. 

The advantage of allotting at least a portion of the annual Family Consulting hours and weekly IISS hours to one Autism Waiver Provider is that it gives families an opportunity to create a team of informed caregivers for their child/teen.  In this way, Family Consultants can facilitate team understanding and:

    • review the individual’s progress with the family from one team meeting to the next to identify strengths and weaknesses
    • address any family difficulties that may be affecting how the home program is being implemented
    • assess the individual’s level of compliance, self injury, and/or aggression, and help the family and team use consistent behavioral interventions that encourage positive behavior
    • review the team’s data with the family in order to assure that the family understands the intent of the home program and continues to learn to provide consistent and effective care
    • help the family and the team learn from one another‘s skills and teaching styles and understand how to modify interventions and fade prompting as the individual’s abilities change
    • explain and model to the family, as well as the team, how to provide the interventions of new and existing programs in order to support on-going skill development
    • provide all caregivers opportunities to verbalize any challenges they are experiencing with one another that are impacting the ways they are trying to reach and teach the individual.

Things to Consider About Therapeutic Integration

For each individual who attends our TI program, we will design a Therapeutic Integration Treatment Plan to encourage the development and practice of social skills. In addition, parents will be asked questions that will help our staff understand how to best support meet their child’s needs.

  • Are their specific activities you would like your child to engage in?
  • What days and hours would you be interested in utilizing the center? (Weekdays, how many weekdays, weekends etc.)
  • What are some of your children’s favorite snacks and drinks?
  • Does your child have any food allergies?
  • Does your child have any physical restrictions that could impact the types of TI activities?
  • Will you be driving your child to and from the center, or will you need transportation?

Things to Consider abut Adult Life Planning

Participants on the Autism Wavier stop receiving services when they turn 21.  After that, individuals need to access support services through the adult services within the Department of Disabilities Administration (DDA) as well as through the Division of Rehabilitative Services (DORS).  It is important for Autism Waiver families to understand that the adult system is a limited system where services are typically provided in a priority order based on need.  The adult system is not an entitlement system. This is entirely new system and individuals and their families must be able to navigate through it.  They must determine what services and support they want and compare it to what is available to them.  The Adult Life Planner is able to help with developing a broad plan which is based on self-determination, choice-making, independence and community integration and access.  ALP is designed to provide improved coordination with programs and supports provided by DDA and DORS especially initiatives like “Employment First.”   

The ALP supports the family by:

  • Preparing the adolescent to efficiently transition from the Autism Waiver Services to adult DDA services
  • Helping the adolescent and his/her family complete the Life Plan Tool adult services forms and applications which identifies the adolescent’s ideal life and facilitates mapping out an individualized plan to achieve outcomes and goals
  • Providing the supports to expand an adolescent’s life experiences by drawing from local, state, and federal services, programs, and opportunities.
  • Helping the adolescent to participate in any desired activities, personal interests, community events, and/or educational pursuits
  • Working with the adolescent and his/her family in the home environment to identify the skills, behaviors and attitudes needed to assure significant success in developing independence, community integration, self-advocacy, natural supports and job skills.
  • Supporting the adolescent to access employment opportunities that will prepare him/her for employment as an adult.