Hi Ashley - thank you for your question. The LifeStreams Online of now, and the LifeStreams Online of a few years down the road are substantially different. Right now, our focus is to develop a purpose-built website that will meet immediate needs of people with developmental disabilities who are self-isolating. The construction of this website needs to be comprehensive in its content, yet accessible in its language, presentation, and accommodations for visual/auditory/cognitive impairments. We are hiring a web developer to create this website for us and to ensure it has the functionality it needs. Additionally, this website will need the ability to host and facilitate interactive live-stream sessions (2 sessions a day, 5 days a week). LifeStreams Online needs to move beyond a passive user experience, and provide active engagement to a population of people who have struggled in achieving community inclusion. LifeStreams Online will also be a resource for people with Developmental Disabilities to access online resources for activities, information, and learning opportunities. As mentioned in the description above, there is a lack of age-appropriate resources for adults with DD. The immediate needs for the current phase of LifeStreams Online Includes: hiring the web developer to build the website (plus additional hosting/domain costs), equipment for delivery and access of LifeStreams Online (i.e. digital camera/mics/etc. for broadcast, laptop/tablet rental to loan free of charge to people in need of a means to access LifeStreams Online), the hiring of livestream talent to deliver sessions (i.e. musicians, dance instructors, fitness professionals, many of whom have lost all contract work and are needing employment opportunities), and additional staff/contractors for the development and creation of age-appropriate online materials (information videos, activity guides, augmentative communication approaches to community issues and current events, etc.).
In the future, it is the intention to have LifeStreams Online be the hub of our virtual and remote supports. In addition to the dissemination of the LifeStreams Model as mentioned previously, there are a variety of virtual services that have been in development with LifeStreams for a couple of years. Most of these virtual services require modification or redevelopment of current technologies, and significant software development to achieve; however, this is a role that LifeStreams has been growing into, and is positioning itself to fulfill. These services include technology for virtual job coaching support for individuals seeking or maintaining employment, sound and light based bio-feedback systems to support high needs individuals with self-regulation and coping strategies, adaptive technologies to support people's engagement with the arts (i.e. motion capture technologies and other augmentative supports), and in-home interfaces for virtual supports to promote people's ability to live independently. These initiatives are very achievable, are very necessary, and are very exciting. The LifeStreams Online platform is the launching pad - it has the ability to redefine what is possible for the Garth Homer Society to achieve its mission of providing people with Developmental Disabilities with 'a life, a home, and a place in the world'.