MOVE - A Fresh Perspective

What is MOVE?

MOVE—which stands for Mobility Opportunities Via Education/Experience— is an international nonprofit organization whose ultimate purpose is to offer people with multiple disabilities the chance to participate more actively in their everyday lives, whether they are at home, school, community programs, or work. Individuals who may have previously been limited by their physical disabilities are able to try new things and experience the world from a new point of view.

Developed in 1991 by D. Linda Bidabe, a special education teacher from California, MOVE was born out of a concern that children with severe disabilities were not learning some of the critical mobility skills needed to fully benefit from their education. Soon after the initial implementation, the benefits of the MOVE Program were apparent and in 1994 MOVE International became a nonprofit organization. While the program was initially developed for children, in 2004 MOVE expanded their operation to meet the needs of adults with multiple disabilities. After a two-year pilot program at a human services agency in Maryland, the data definitively showed that adults benefited from the MOVE Program.

People who are unable to walk or those who live with limited mobility spend a large portion of their lives in either a seated or reclined position which can cause a variety of issues over the course of a lifetime. The MOVE program—through staff training and the use of specialized equipment—can help individuals with multiple disabilities sit, stand, and walk, both with and without support. Increased mobility in an individual leads to improved health, independence, dignity, and opportunity for inclusion. Some of the long-term benefits related to standing include increased cardiovascular function, as well as increased bone and muscle strength.

 It is important to understand that the success of the MOVE Program in an individual’s life hinges upon the united efforts of the individual, their families, and the people who work with them on a daily basis. Gross motor skills are evaluated and a plan is built based upon skills which the individual currently has, with the ultimate goal of the individual being as independent as possible at their highest functional level. In order to properly implement the strategies developed by the MOVE Program, staff, therapists, and in some cases family members must be thoroughly trained in several different areas to ensure both the safety of the individuals and the effectiveness of the interventions. The efficacy of the program is undeniable, so more and more care providers are choosing to become part of the MOVE network.

When an organization like Springbrook decides to become part of a program like MOVE, they are not just receiving a few pieces of training and some new equipment. MOVE is a network of therapists and direct support staff who can communicate and share information, ideas, and strategies to ensure the best possible results for the individuals with whom they are working. One of the key components of the program is the emphasis placed on continuous data collection and systematic upgrades to each individual’s programming.

The MOVE program allows direct support staff to play a part in the therapeutic treatment of the people they serve by participating in assessments and setting goals with different members of the therapy team. Staff also track the progress of the individual’s interventions and, with appropriate training and support, are able to promote them to the next step of the program.

The opportunities for learning, enhancement, and increased quality of life in the people we serve are very exciting, and we are thrilled to start our journey with the MOVE Program. Activities that are done at school, work, and day options are also practiced in the residential setting. This creates opportunities both at home and in the community for exciting new experiences for individuals with limited mobility.

 A Gift for Today, A Gift for Tomorrow

Thanks to her incredible generosity—and the desire to give a gift that keeps on giving— Springbrook parent, Kim Salisbury has made it possible for Springbrook to implement the MOVE Program at our Day Habilitation site at our Oneonta Campus.

Salisbury, whose daughter Robin has received services from Springbrook for the past 30 years, has a deep appreciation for Springbrook’s commitment to a lifetime of care. Knowing that Robin will be cared for long after her mother passes provides Salisbury with an immeasurable amount of comfort. The decision to entrust the wellbeing of your child to someone else is among the hardest decisions a parent can make, but Salisbury has done so for the past three decades in order to allow her daughter to have the best possible life.  “I love Robin with all of my heart but it is extremely difficult to take care of her all by myself.  Those of you who are parents know how this tugs at your heart.  You hate that you can't manage things on your own, and you are so very grateful for all of the people who are there to help you and your child.”

It is because of the care and support that she and her daughter have received over the past three decades that Salisbury wanted to give back to Springbrook.  Earlier this year she found herself with a sizeable amount of money to donate to the organization but was unsure where she wanted her funds to be used. “I wanted the money to be used for something special for the adults at Springbrook.  I wanted it to be important.  I wanted it to last.  I wanted my gift to keep on giving.  I wanted it to go to something they wanted and needed but didn't have the funds for.”  she said. 

On June 21, 2018, Kim Salisbury met with Patricia Kennedy, CEO, Stacey Grady, Director of Development, and Terri McCue, Medicaid Service Coordinator, to determine where and how the funds would be used. Over the course of the meeting, Salisbury learned about the MOVE Program, its benefits, and the cost of implementing the program within the organization. She also learned how Karen Sacco, an Occupational Therapist at the Oneonta Capstone Program, had helped to introduce the MOVE Program to Springbrook.

Shortly after starting with the organization, Sacco heard of the MOVE Program through social media. Sacco told her coworkers about this exciting new program, and after some more research and some firsthand experiences, staff, therapists, teachers, and administrators began discussing how to bring this exciting new program to Springbrook.

 After hearing about the long-term benefits of MOVE, as well as the costs associated with the necessary training and equipment required to properly implement the program, Salisbury knew she had found what she had been looking for. The opportunity to support MOVE—along with the fact that individuals would continue to benefit from the program long after her donation was used up—was enough for Salisbury to commit her donation to the development of the MOVE Program.

“I was so happy to donate to something that would help improve the quality of life for the people Springbrook [supports].  It was the best check I have ever written.  It felt so good to finally give back after so much has been given to me and my daughter, which in truth is a kindness I could never completely repay.”

Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy met with our therapy team at the Oneonta Campus to share the exciting news regarding Salisbury’s donation, and we are proud to announce that on August 14 our first group of therapists and direct support staff took their first step toward implementing the MOVE Program at multiple sites within the organization.  

We are sincerely grateful for the support we receive from each of our donors, and we wish to extend our deepest thanks to everyone who gives of themselves to help us continue our mission to make a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities for a lifetime.

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