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Participant Directed PAS Toolkit

An Introduction to the Participant Directed PAS Training Toolkit
Resources for Hiring and Managing Your Personal Assistance Services or Attendant Care

Toolkit Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Origins of VCIL’s Toolkit
  • Why a Toolkit and How to Use it
  • Aging and Independent Living
  • The Independent Living Movement and Disability Rights
  • Three Methods of PAS Training
  • List of Available Self Training Options
  • Bibliography of VCIL PAS Training Toolkit and Reference Grid
  • Other Resources
  • Attendant Services Program (ASP) Options
  • More Facts/Tips About Attendant Care in Vermont
  • Thanks and Acknowledgements
  • The “Quickstart” Guide

Please contact the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) with any questions.
Call (800) 639-1522 or (802) 229-0501 and ask for the Information and Referral Specialist or use the online I&R Request Form.


Dear Personal Assistant Services (PAS) user,

Welcome to another step toward more independence!

Several Vermonters who also use personal assistants or attendants helped VCIL collect and develop a range of tools and resources for managing Attendant Care or Personal Assistance Services. We have put together this collection, or Toolkit, as a resource for individuals who are just learning how to manage their services, but some experienced managers of PAS have also found it useful. We hope this resource will be helpful to you, whatever your level of experience is.

The terms personal assistant, or personal care attendant (both referred to as PA in this document), are used in Vermont and throughout this Toolkit to describe the service used by many individuals with disabilities who need assistance with things like bathing, getting out of bed, and doing household tasks and other everyday activities. Whether a friend or family member provides the assistance or you hire someone from outside your home, access to a PA is one of the essential elements of independent living for people with significant disabilities. The better we are able to work with and supervise these important people in our lives, the greater our independence and ability to live our lives to the fullest.

The Toolkit is still a “work in progress.” It is being shaped by the interests and needs of individuals who use PA services. As much as possible, VCIL is interested in offering peer support and training options that meet individual needs and learning styles. As we find or create new resources, we will add them to the Toolkit. Three forms of training we are also developing are described below:

  1. Self-Training — In this option, materials from the Toolkit will be mailed to your home. You may order any number of materials on any of the topics you want to study.
  2. One on One Training (with or without your PA) — With this module a Peer Advocacy Counselor (PAC), or peer mentor experienced in PA management will talk to you about your specific needs and together you will design a program suited to what you need at that time. The PAC will come to your home, work with you on the phone or meet you in your community to work with you on the management skills you feel a need for at the time.
  3. Group Workshops — For those who enjoy and learn best in the group learning situation, we hope to offer periodic workshops covering all the topics necessary for hiring and managing your PA.

For those who are anxious to get started on their own, we have developed a “Quickstart” kit to help you with some basics. It includes what we think are the three most essential elements in getting started: a guide for identifying your needs for a PA, a guide on where to find these people and how to advertise for them, and a guide for how to list the tasks your PA will need to perform so you can both understand what is expected.

This booklet includes some background on the project. We also include a list of the books and other resources in VCIL’s Personal Assistance Toolkit library, some suggestions on how to get the most from this Toolkit, and writings on Aging and Independent Living and on the Independent Living Movement and Disability Rights. We have also given you a brief summary of the Attendant Services Programs run by the state and a list of resources and organizations that will serve to guide you as you manage your personal care.

Your feedback is welcome and will help make it a truly peer designed resource. We have created an evaluation form for you to evaluate the Toolkit materials you use and would very much appreciate your comments. How helpful were they and what could be improved? Please take a few moments to complete this form and help us improve the Toolkit. Even a few short comments would be extremely valuable. If you prefer, you may comment by phone.

“Nothing About Us Without Us,” the slogan of people with disabilities striving to make our own decisions about what works best for us, has little meaning unless those of us at the grass-roots level who use these programs are willing to enthusiastically participate in the process. We encourage you to do so and look forward to your comments.

Toward greater independence!