Rancho Bernardo company helps adults with special needs
By Peijean Tsai
Helping developmentally disabled adults live full and independent lives is not only the cause behind the local agency founded by Christina Grant and Bart Thompson, but it’s also a matter close to their hearts.
That’s because the Rancho Bernardo couple have a special needs son of their own. Blake, who is Thompson’s son and Grant’s stepson, has Downs syndrome. Through Ideal Care, the supported living services agency run by the husband-and-wife team, Blake has been able to live on his own, renting a room in a house in Allied Gardens and receiving ongoing, on-site assistance to help him be independent.
“We started the company because we have a special needs son. It gives us a very unique perspective,” said Thompson. “When I talk with parents who are on the fence, it’s much more convincing because I’ve been there — I am there.”
It’s a difficult choice for parents to decide whether their developmentally disabled child should stay at home, live in a group boarding house, or rent his or her own apartment or room, said Thompson. Blake initially tried a boarding house, but it didn’t work out. He has since thrived from independent living, said his father.
“It wasn’t a good fit for him. He’s just a bit of a non-conformist naturally,” said Thompson, with a smile. “Now he’s happier. We saw a change in him and he’s grown tremendously.”
“You want your child or loved one to be able to live the fullest life possible,” said Grant, owner and co-founder of Ideal Care.
Grant and Thompson formed Ideal Care, LLC in December 2009, starting programming in January 2010, with Blake as the first participant. Grant has a background that includes ongoing work with special needs children in the Poway Unified School District. Thompson, the agency’s chief financial officer, comes from a business background.
As a state-licensed supported living services agency, Ideal Care assists special needs adults with matters such as: housing, budgeting, transportation, hygiene, social and life skills, healthy eating, chores, shopping, and more. The aim is to foster increased independence, self-reliance and self-esteem. Individuals receive a custom “game plan,” taking into consideration the degree of their disability and their own preferences.
The agency also helps individuals get involved in volunteer work or a day program, such as classes on computers, gardening, music, and more, so they can be productive.
To learn more about independent living for developmentally disabled adults, Ideal Care is hosting a public informational session on Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Carmel Mountain Ranch Recreational Center. The goal of the free event is to reach out to the community and make them aware of this unique program for special needs adults, said Grant.
Ideal Care works closely with the individual’s parents and a social worker assigned by the San Diego Regional Center. The San Diego Regional Center provides funding to Ideal Care, which appropriates the funds to provide services with no out-of-pocket costs to the individual and his or her family.
With Ideal Care’s help, parents can still actively participate in their son or daughter’s care, while outsourcing the burden of making all the arrangements, Thompson said.
“It’s kind of the best of both worlds because you’re still involved,” he said.
Grant said they wanted to start their own agency because while supported services agencies exist in San Diego, they tend to be large and not as personal.
“By doing our own we could control what happened and really had a vested interest in it,” she said. “We wanted to be able to have what a smaller company could offer …that you just can’t get with a bigger organization.”
For more information, contact Christina Grant of Ideal Care at 858-337-4534 or visit www.idealcare-sls.com/.
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