Inside the GoodLife with Nicole Kanaman

Nicole

There’s no better way to learn about the GoodLife than to hear from the people living it. Today we visit with Nicole Kanaman. Nicole is a behavior analyst and is currently earning her Ph.D. at the University of Kansas (KU). Nicole and her husband Ky, cofounder of GoodLife work program KC Pop Co., also share their life with two GoodLife residents as a Professional Family Teaching Model (PFTM) home. If anyone knows GoodLife well, Nicole does–and we’re so excited to share her perspective with you. 

Nicole, what is different about GoodLife? 
GoodLife fights for a population that is, in some respects, underserved. There is a lot of attention on children with disabilities, and not always adults. Completely community-based, GoodLife focuses on adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) through meaningful employment and purposeful ways of living, teaching essential life skills in the least restrictive environment. 

Can you give us an example of how GoodLife supports a meaningful quality of life? 
Absolutely, because I’m living it! GoodLife’s PFTM homes are a supported living arrangement where an individual, couple, or family shares their home with a person with I/DD. This lifestyle replicates a private home experience to maximize the resident’s independence and quality of life. What sets the PFTM apart is that instead of residents experiencing the dynamic of a typical group home, they experience life with family. Natural family merges with the GoodLife family, and what transpires is a community that cares about all aspects of the resident, from health and safety to quality of life and relationship building. 

How is the GoodLife/KU partnership unique? 
The PFTM was created at KU, which is one of many critically important and positive outcomes to emerge from the GoodLife/KU partnership. As both a KU student and a PFTM provider at Midnight Farm, a GoodLife program partner, I’ve learned the value of merging both the academic (KU) and real-life (GoodLife) sides of independent living. 

How so? 
In my field of behavior analysis, sometimes there is a gap between research and practice. Across the country, university researchers are creating cutting-edge intervention and discovering evidence-based solutions, but the trickle-down to practice is slow. That’s not the case with the GoodLife/KU partnership. There is a direct connection between practice and research. By having our teams work together from so many different points like consumer-facing practices, management/administration, nursing, etc, we are putting our findings into practice every day. 

What is the future GoodLife is working to create? 
GoodLife is working hard to create the best possible life for individuals with I/DD. We believe that a disability shouldn’t set anyone apart from living their most meaningful life. That mindset is a part of GoodLife’s history and what fuels our mission to redefine what’s possible for seniors and people with disabilities today. GoodLife aims to equip staff with all of the tools we could possibly need to make our day, and our residents’ day, the best it can possibly be. I can honestly say that, from all of my angles, GoodLife is doing just that. 

There’s no better way to learn about the GoodLife than to hear from the people living it. Get a behind-the-scenes view from Nicole Kanaman, a behavior analyst, KU Ph.D. student, and PFTM home provider about what sets GoodLife apart when it comes to redefining what’s possible for seniors and people with developmental disabilities.