Independent Living Skills Training (ILST)

Meeting Individual's Daily Living Skill's Needs

Hickok Center for Brain InjuryHickok Center’s ILST program was first offered through our centers in 2006 and follows the New York State Department of Health’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver model.

The Department of Health defines ILST services as being provided on an individual basis, most often one-to-one (1:1), and individually designed to improve the ability of the participant to live as independently as possible in the community. These services may be provided in the participant’s home or in the community; they must be provided in the environment and situation that will result in the most positive outcome for the participant.

It is the Department of Health’s expectation that ILST services will be provided in the real world, such as in the participant’s kitchen, as opposed to an agency’s kitchen, to address the difficulty many participants experience with transferring or generalizing knowledge and skills from one situation to another. However, it is recognized that there is also a need for some practice of these skills before using them in the real world.

The Department of Health’s HCBS programs have a “No Hands On” policy. This is a different approach compared to other “Rehabilitation Programs” including the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD)’s HCBS programs that follow a more “Medical Model”.

Our center follows the “No Hands On” policy which means people in our program are physically independent when transferring themselves (for example, from chair to wheelchair and wheelchair to car, etc.); eating (including basic eating with utensils, fingers, through a straw, etc.); personal care; self medication; and, exercise.
ILST provides services with no hands on, but can serve individuals who benefit from hands on care, but are provided by other service providers, either through strategic scheduling or overlap in services.

ILSTs at Hickok Center provide the “traditional” ILST services such as self-care, medication management, task completion, communication skills, interpersonal skills, socialization, etc. Hickok Center also provides areas of specialization, such as our Personal Fitness Program, Pre-Vocational/Vocational Services, Academic Support Program, and computer skills.

Hickok Center's Personal Fitness Program

Personal fitness is supervised by a Certified Post-Rehabilitation Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer in the Hickok Center’s gym. Confidential fitness assessments are done prior to any program set-up and goals and desired outcomes are discussed at the initial meeting. Based on desired outcomes (cardio or muscular endurance, improved mobility, flexibility, strength, improved eating habits, weight loss, or improved balance and coordination), activities are targeted using a combination of fitness equipment, such as spinning bikes, treadmill, free-weights, leg machines, step, trampolines, BOSU’S, PNF stretching, Pilates and yoga. Weigh-ins and body measurements, along with body fat percentages, are taken weekly to ensure that member goals are being achieved.

Pre-Vocational/Vocational Services

Pre-Vocational/Vocational activities are created to provide members with the basic skills necessary for successful employment. This is not a job placement service. Instead, this one to one service explores each member’s skills and interests and then enables them to “try on” related jobs via volunteer positions and/or community oriented activities. Websites, computer programs, emailing, word processing and employment exploration come together to build social skills useful in the workplace, along with valuable experience for building member resumes.

Academic Support Program

Hickok Center’s Academic Suppport Program was created to meet the cognitive demands of academic study within the context of the challenges that often accompany brain injury, such as time management in relation to classes, study skills, etc. Parallel texts, alternate presentation and/or modification of the delivery of the material are assessed and modified to meet the learning styles of each member.

Computer Skills

Our computer center enables members to hone computers skills that can be incorporated in other goal areas such as pre-vocational/vocation, academic or fitness. The computer center is also a place where members are able to use our computers to integrate into today’s social world. Skills include email, navigating the internet, basic word processing, and interactive educational exercises.

For more information on Hickok Center’s ILST program, please contact France McCloskey by phone at 585-271-8640x203 or by email at



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