Owner and President
Sweet is a small company with offices in Jeffersonville, New Albany, and Ferdinand, Indiana. We currently provide music therapy, behavior supports, recreational therapy, and other community supports for children and adults with developmental disabilities in 40 counties in southern Indiana. We serve folks on both the Family Supports Waiver (FSW) and the Community Integration Habilitation (CIH) Waiver.
Because of our size, we are able to explore innovative approaches to our work that larger companies cannot. Although we are considered little compared to other providers, the experience of our employees is far from miniscule. Our employees have an average of fifteen years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities.
Sweet Behavior resolutely believes in the disability right’s creed: “Nothing about us without us.” Clients and their loved ones drive services at Sweet Behavior and their input is considered fundamental to everything that we do.
Every company has a mission or a purpose for doing what they do. For example, a restaurant’s mission is to serve good food to as many people as it can. A drug store’s mission is to sell medicine to help people feel better. What is Sweet’s mission? It is to support people with disabilities to achieve their goals, live how they want to live, go where they want to go, do what they want to do, and be who they want to be.
Our job at Sweet is never to tell someone what to do or how to live his or her life. Just because a person has a disability, it does not mean that they do not have control over their life. Sweet’s role is to listen to people with disabilities and their loved ones and create services that assist folks with disabilities to live how they choose. Sweet understands that what works for one person may not work for another. Everyone is different. That is why we treat everyone as an individual and not as a group.
THE SWEET VISION
Just like a mission, every company also has something called a vision statement. A vision statement is a way for a company to say in a simple way what a company stands for, believes in, and hopes to be. For example, Disney’s vision statement is: “To make people happy.” Disney does this by making cartoons, movies, and parks that bring joy to people. Sweet’s vision statement is this:
To demolish all barriers, celebrate individuality, and spark creativity that ignites change.
Let’s talk about exactly what this vision statement means by breaking it apart. First, let’s start with “to demolish all barriers.” A barrier is something that gets in the way or stops something from happening. We believe that having a disability is not the barrier that stops people with disabilities from living their lives how they want. Instead, we believe that the world around us is the barrier and needs to change.
Here is a quick example of what this means. Let’s say that a person uses a wheelchair to get around. The person reads in the newspaper that a new sporting goods store was just built. That person needs a new basketball and goes to visit later that day. When the person gets there, they come to a barrier: there are stairs to the door of the store and no ramp for their wheelchair. They can’t get in. The barrier is not the person’s disability that prevents them from walking. That person has no control over needing to use a wheelchair. The real barrier is the storeowner who chose not to put in a ramp.
This does not mean that the storeowner was a mean or rude person. Maybe the storeowner had never been around a wheelchair user and didn’t even think about installing a ramp. Or maybe the storeowner didn’t know that wheelchair users played sports! If the storeowner had had a different attitude about wheelchair users, then there probably would have been a ramp installed outside the store.
How does Sweet believe that we can “demolish” or destroy barriers? That can be a hard question to answer because every person faces different barriers. There is one thing that Sweet knows for sure that can demolish things that are in the way for people with disabilities. That is to find every way possible for people with disabilities to be included in the community. This can mean helping someone understand their emotions, finding a place where they want to live with the assistance they need, or even just finding a ride for them to go to the grocery store or out to eat. The more that the community understands people with disabilities, the more barriers will disappear.
The next part of Sweet’s vision statement is pretty easy to understand. It is “to celebrate individuality.” This means that we believe that disabilities and the things that make us unique are something to be proud of. Having a disability is not something to hide or be ashamed of. We believe that we should all celebrate our differences and not just try to be like everyone else!
The last part of our vision statement is to “spark creativity that ignites change.” We want everyone at Sweet to be as creative as possible and we encourage everyone’s creative interests. This doesn’t mean only the people that we serve, but our employees as well. When people think of creativity, they think of things like painting, music, or writing stories, but there is more to being creative than making art. People can be creative in everything that they do in their lives and even use creativity to solve problems. We want people to use their creativity to ignite or start change not only in the world around them, but also in themselves.
A value is a belief that is important to a person and shapes the way they think, how they treat people, and how they live their life. Just like people, a company also has values that shape how the company’s employees think, how the company does business, and how it treats people. Sweet has three main values that we believe are the most important.
Our first value is “Inclusion is a right, not an aspiration.” Inclusion is a word that means that everyone is included as part of this world in every activity whether someone has a disability or not. In other words, inclusion means that there are not separate classrooms or jobs for people with disabilities. When inclusion is practiced, everyone goes to the same class in school, everyone lives in the same neighborhood, and everyone works at the same types of jobs. There are not “special” classes, “special” homes, or “special” jobs for people with disabilities that are separate from people without disabilities. At Sweet, we believe that inclusion is everyone’s right. Rights are freedoms that people have that can’t be taken away by anybody. Rights are not things that are optional; every person has them. Sweet believes that it does not matter what a person’s disability is. Every person should be included in any activity that he or she wants to be included in!
Sweet’s second value is “Support, empower, and engage: lead only when necessary.” All people need guidance and support sometimes to make decisions. However, sometimes when a person has a disability, a person or company treats the person with a disability as if they cannot make any decisions at all and makes that person’s decisions for them! We here at Sweet do not feel this way. This means that we believe that our job is to offer our clients everything that they need to lead their own lives. In order to do this, we feel that we need to actively give our clients the support they need to make their own decisions and to give them the tools they need to fight for their rights and freedoms.
Sweet’s last value is “One person can make a difference, everyone should try.” This means that we believe that every single person regardless of their abilities or disabilities can make a positive impact on other people in this world. If you do something nice to make the world a better place, no matter how small you think it might be, it can change a person’s life. Everyone has the ability to make a difference in this world and we think everyone should do their best to do so!
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
You can find out a lot more about Sweet and what your rights are as a person with a disability by downloading a copy of our Client Handbook. Click the button below to download!
Behavior Support Services
Music therapy is a service where people use music to work on different skills based on their individualized wants and needs. A music therapist might help a person express their emotions by playing an instrument or writing songs together. A person might also work on improving their muscle strength or hand and eye coordination by playing an instrument. However, you don’t have to play an instrument to get music therapy. A lot of people sing or just listen to music in their music therapy sessions. Music therapy is for all ages, not just for kids!
Behavior support services help people understand and deal with their emotions and feelings. Sometimes people get mad, sad, or stressed out and they don’t understand the reasons that make them feel that way. When someone doesn’t understand his or her emotions, it can make it difficult to pay attention at home, school, or work. Our behavior consultants at Sweet Behavior work with the clients, their loved ones, and other team members to come up with an individualized behavior support plan that outlines the reasons why a person may be experiencing certain emotions, how to react in a supportive manner to assist them, and ways to prevent the behavior from ever occurring in the first place. The idea behind a behavior support plan is not to control, but to assist the client to process difficult and challenging emotional reactions.
Recreational therapy is a service where a recreational therapist works with a person to meet his or her personal goals through different leisure activities. For example, if a person has a goal to get healthy, a recreational therapist may go with them to go swimming or go to a park to play basketball. Recreational therapy isn’t just about physical health, though. Recreational therapists also work with clients on their psychological health and wellbeing though leisure. For instance, let’s say a client has a goal to make more friends. To work on this goal, the recreational therapist might go with the person to an art class in the community or go to a music concert. Recreational therapy is about being active and reaching goals by having fun doing things you like.
Community Support Services: Coming Soon!
Sweet Behavior will soon be offering PAC, respite, structured family caregiving services, community habilitation, and non-24/7 residential habilitation services. Stay tuned! In the meantime, check out the Community Supports section under the “Our Services” tab at the top of this page for videos explaining what exactly these services are and how we are taking a different approach focused on true integration
© 2019 Sweet Behavior LLC