As staff of the Mandt System we believe in the concept ideal of ‘partnering with organizations’ rather than simply serving as vendors. One of the greatest privileges that this approach affords is the occasional opportunity to visit ‘onsite’ with staff at their place of work to see first hand how they are implementing the Mandt System program and review the successes and challenges that this process involves.

This week, we had the opportunity to undertake one such visit in California at Jay Nolan Community Services, a company committed to providing individualized support services to persons with developmental disabilities since 1975.

One of the questions that is always of interest on these visits is how the philosophy and mission values of the organization implementing the Mandt System program and the mission and values of the Mandt System itself coalesce, and what part that may play in the success or not of the program implementation, outcomes and sustainability over time.

Jay Nolan Community Services reports and have supporting evidence of a significant success in responding and supporting individuals who present a range of significant behavioral challenge across a diverse set of community environments. With these facts we was interested to get to the core of where and how the Mandt System mission and values had contributed to these outcomes.

After visiting with staff over the course of the day it became increasingly apparent that the success being achieved was not so much to do with the Mandt System curriculum per se but rather the reality that the Jay Nolan Community Services already embody the same mission and values as the program and our coming together in partnership was a natural and happy pairing of philosophies and approach.

As one of the largest organizations providing services to individuals with Autism who utilize The Mandt System, Jay Nolan embodies the ideas of Putting People First. Jay Nolan has completely eliminated site-based care and all the individuals receiving services are carefully paired with the best support people for their personal likes and needs. Core to their success is the utilization of the Circle of Support idea, which increases the number of positive relationships a person needs to succeed.

The behavior approach at Jay Nolan is simple. The staff understands that all behavior is communication and sometimes they simply have not found a way to hear what the person is trying to tell them. Behavior plans are completely individualized with no one approach fits all idea. This understanding of behavior as communication is utilized not only when understanding the needs of individuals served but also the needs of everyone involved within a persons circle.

Jay Nolan authentically acknowledges they do not have all the answers…but they keep searching. Guiding that search is the belief that all people have the right to dignity and respect, individual identity, a say in what services they want, and a life filled with quality. Though they openly acknowledge what they do not know and struggle with, it was our privilege to watch a group of people who truly do know the keys to success. They may not have all the answers but they ask the one key question to every person they serve…What do YOU want? They then go out attempt to make the answer a reality.

Thank you Jay Nolan for being wonderful host, teachers, and new friends. It is our privilege to call you our partners.

Tim Geels – Director of Organizational Sustainability