Live. Independently.

Working is Healthy

By Gerard Arantowicz, Minds Matter, LLC Employment Specialist

 For six years, Dustin Thorne felt like he was working a full-time job because he self-directed his 24/7 staff, which consisted of interviewing, hiring and managing his personal care attendants. The only trouble was he was not being paid for it and he needed something else in life to keep himself challenged. Dustin’s injury severely limited him physically, and he had to rely on assistance for all facets of independent living.

Dustin had communityworks inc staff working with him on his independent living goals and personal care attendant needs. One of 
the skills Dustin learned with staff support was how to use a voice activation device to operate a computer. This skill, combined with his ability to operate a power chair, gave Dustin the means to get out into the community to build relationships. One of these relationships was with Independence Inc.

Dustin’s Employment Specialist set up an Assessment with Independence, Inc. to assess his abilities to work in an office setting. His job duties included consumer advocacy as well as computer and clerical work. He even used his past electrical apprenticeship skills to consult his co-workers on changing a light bulb.

With the assistance of his Employment Specialist, Dustin was able to set up a “job carving” arrangement with Independence, Inc. This consisted of working with the organization in creating a job that would best suit Dustin’s strengths as a consumer advocate. The management at Independence Inc. was so impressed with Dustin after the assessment that they created a position for him at the agency as a Consumer Advocate.

This paid, competitive position qualified Dustin for the Working Healthy Program which serves to cover his attendant care needs. Dustin eventually transitioned off of the TBI Waiver into the Working Healthy Program and was assigned an Independent Living Counselor through Minds Matter, LLC to assist him on budgeting his funds to maintain his disability benefits and keep attendant care services in place. More importantly, this service gave Dustin the structure, purpose and meaning that having a job offers.


If you want more information on what a Minds Matter, LLC Employment Specialist can do for you, give us a call at 866.429.6757 or send us an email through the Contact Us page.