Dakota's Story


We are on the road again and this time we ran into our friend Dakota. Click here to watch the video. Dakota is a young man who desired to live on his own. Dually diagnosed with mental health issues and IDD, he had been hospitalized twice for aggressive behavior that injured other adults. Dakota’s mother, however, knew that with the right natural supports, he could live in a supported community setting rather than in a group home. His team agreed that given his behavioral challenges, living alone could actually be a better option than congregate living.

When asked about his priorities for independence, Dakota noted:

  • He didn’t want anyone to be telling him what to do
  • He wanted to have friends over and not have his home look like a preschool (staff had posted large pictures around his home since Dakota was a non-reader)

SimplyHome developed a wireless sensor system to cue Dakota so that he could be reminded by technology rather than by adults. His verbal prompts (cues) included:

  • Getting his keys and locking his door when leaving the apartment
  • Turning off his stove if he left it on longer than 30 minutes
  • Taking a shower and bathing with soap
  • Using his CPAP machine so he could get better sleep at night

He also used a medication dispenser to remind him to take his medication regularly. At the 6-month mark, Dakota had accomplished the following outcomes with technology as a natural support:

  • Staff was reduced to from 2-to-1 to 1 person, and the same staff person, John, remained with him since the team meeting 6 months prior.
  • Dakota had called our office to request the door cue be removed because he naturally grabbed his keys and locked his door.
  • Dakota demonstrated 100% compliance with his CPAP machine at night, thus resulting in better sleep for physical and behavioral renewal.

At the 9-month mark, Dakota’s SimplyHome representative, Cameron Kempson, visited him at his apartment. When she arrived, he was playing basketball with people from the apartment complex community. John, his staff person, noted that with the assistance of the technology, he and Dakota were able to develop a rapport rather than argue all the time. John had been working with Dakota on social and behavioral skills that now enabled him to play a team sport with neighbors.

At the 9-month mark, Dakota had accomplished the following outcomes with technology as a natural support:

  • Maintained the same staff person for the 9-month period and had reduced staff hours from 12 hours to 6 hours per day
  • Transitioned to using a smart phone alert for medication and demonstrated 100% compliance
  • Cooked meals independently without leaving the stove on or burning food
  • Most importantly, demonstrated success in activities of daily living, ability to self-advocate, and integrate into his neighborhood community