Frequently Asked Questions
My son/daughter’s school is not giving him/her what she needs in order to do well, can you help me with that?
While BCIL does not provide legal representation, we can help you to understand the IEP and ITP process and provide advocacy for your student. BCIL staff will work with the school system and other support services to ensure that your student is getting the proper accommodations so that they can succeed in school.
What ages do you serve in your youth program?
BCIL serves people of all ages who identify as a person with a disability. Our youth services have assisted people as young as 18 months through advocacy, information and referral, and supports to family members. We also have two programs tailored to transition age youth (14-22), but our services are open to youth of any age.
Do you have any support groups for youth with disabilities?
BCIL does not host support groups for people with disabilities, but we provide peer mentoring and we are a partnering organization in the Youth Leadership Network hosted by Easter Seals. We can also refer you to support groups that may be hosted by other organizations throughout the community.
My child is having a problem fitting in and making friends at school, can you help with that?
Through our peer mentoring services, youth can learn about how to identify their strengths and identify as a person with a disability. Our services focus on supporting youth in identifying and working towards goals, and through this process youth often increase their confidence and ability to be a self-advocate, leading to improvements in relationships. We can also work with youth on finding social and recreational activities that may assist them in making friends in the community.
My child has a disability, I am worried that if something happens to me he/she won’t have things in place. Can you help me or do you know who can?
Our services are aimed at assisting the youth in connecting to services that can support them to be independent. This can include learning about benefits and housing options, developing self-advocacy skills, and having a resource to contact when they have questions. Through our youth services, we can also offer support to family members in planning for independence and learning about benefits and agencies that support people with disabilities.
My child doesn’t do anything but just stays at home all the time and I am worried about him/her. Are there any programs you can recommend?
Many youth enjoy the Youth Leadership Network, a monthly peer group hosted by Easter Seals. BCIL is a partnering organization and BCIL staff co-facilitate the meetings which take place on the first Saturday of the month. Other youth like to work one on one with a BCIL advocate who can provide peer mentoring, skills training, advocacy, and information and referral to support the youth in connecting to the community.
My child wants to live alone but I’m not sure, is that even possible?
At BCIL, we believe that independence is defined differently by every person and that the person has the right to choose what supports to use to gain that independence. Many people are able to live independently or semi-independently with support through programs like the personal care attendant, adult family care, or shared-living arrangements. We can provide the youth and the family with information about what different housing and support options there are, as well as help to identify what supports may be needed in the home.
Is there any charge involved?
There are no charges for BCIL services and no limit to how long a person can work with us. The one thing we ask is that consumers are active participants in working towards their goals and regularly reach out to their advocate.
Do you provide Travel training and safety training for youth?
We do not provide travel training or safety training for youth, but can help youth connect to agencies that provide these services. Through our skills training, we can work with youth on utilizing transportation services such as the RIDE, navigating maps for the T, and role playing situations commonly encountered in the community.
Do you help youth to find employment?
We support youth in developing job skills and understanding how to search for a job, complete a job application, develop a resume and cover letter, interviewing for a job, and disclosing a disability and asking for reasonable accommodations. We can also support youth in accessing employment programs such as Jewish Vocational Services, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. Our Transition Internship Program provides job placement and soft-skills training for youth, but youth must apply to participate in this program.
Do you provide job coaches for youth when they’re working in the community?
We do not provide job coaches for consumers of our services, but we can help you to identify programs and services that will provide the support you need to enter gainful employment.