People We Support Profile: Tim and Kelly Thompson

By Stephanie Kocer

Tim and Kelly Thompson are working on getting a new walk-in bathtub put into the bathroom of their condo in St. Louis Park. Tim’s back has been an issue as of late, causing him mobility needs. A more adaptive tub would make their lives much easier. The couple have been working with their Community Involvement Programs (CIP) case manager for months to get the bathroom redesign started.

This is just one of the many obstacles in the disability community that Tim and Kelly have learned to navigate. And they do it together.

The two celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2019. They first met at an Opportunity Partner’s group home. Tim lived across the street and had friends that lived at the home. In 2007, Tim’s social worker brought up the idea of CIP. The disability world was changing and Tim needed important supports to continue to work and live independently. Kelly, who is legally blind, joined her husband at CIP a year later, as she needed the same type of supports.

Tim currently works at Urban Dog, a dog daycare where he helps walk and play with the dogs. Kelly, with the help of her job coach, recently started a new position at Chuck E. Cheese, where she checks children in and out of the games, giving them stamps.

Over the years, Tim and Kelly, with the help of CIP, have received help from Independent Living Skills and Supportive Employment programs, as well as having a case manager that helps them advocate for anything they may need under their CADI waver, including bus cards, an emergency response device, and their new bathtub. Eventually, it made sense to combine the couple as a sort of “bundled” client.

Together, along with their case manager David Schwartz and Kelly’s mom and sister, they work as a team to decide what Tim and Kelly need to live independently. They meet twice a year with their job coaches and independent living workers to do this.

Kelly’s mom is the emergency contact for both of them. “A one-person point of contact is nice for stability and continuity,” says David. “If they have questions about services, or if we need to communicate a lot of changes we can easily go through Kelly’s mom.”

The couple agree that combining their services has been beneficial for everyone. “I think it’s gone really well,” Tim says. “They help us live independently.”

When Tim and Kelly aren’t working they enjoy bowling, going to the movies, and going out to eat with friends. They also love to travel. Kelly’s family lives in California and they usually plan a few visits a year. They’ve been to Cancun, Mexico, St. Martin, and St. Thomas in the last few years. They also love going on Disney cruises! They’re hoping to plan another big trip in the next year to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Tim and Kelly have become experts in advocating for themselves. They say the best advice they can give someone learning how to utilize programs and services like the ones CIP offers is to ask for help. “If you have a case manager, just talk to them about what you need,” says Kelly. Tim and Kelly say they are grateful for the many ways they get to live their greatest lives.

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