MAPs Frequently Asked Questions

Overview Questions

MAPs is a new program that will support Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities to create a vision for their lives and increase their independence at home, at work, and in the community.  MAPs will provide services to:

  • Transition-age youth during their last three years of high school
  • Individuals who have already left high school
  • Individuals who are waiting for services from—or may apply in the future for—the Employment and Community First CHOICES program

MAPs is for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to increase their independence at home, at work, and in the community. In particular, MAPs participants will focus on:

  • Developing independent living skills
  • Creating networks with people, places, and activities in their community
  • Creating travel routes and getting around the community more independently, getting a job and growing professionally
  • Using Enabling Technology to increase independence in all areas of life

Enrollment for the MAPs program will focus on:

  • High school students during the three years leading up to their graduation, whether they are planning to graduate at 18 or 22
  • Young adults who have recently left the school system
  • People who are waiting for Employment and Community First CHOICES waiver services

The foundation of the MAPs program is a person-centered Virtual Community Resource Map. Participants will work with a specially trained MAPs innovation coordinator (case manager) and MAPs provider to create a map of their community and identify the people, places, and activities that are important to them. This map will be created and accessed on someone’s mobile device, either a phone or a tablet. They will then create goals for each area of their life and decide which of the MAPs services will help them accomplish those goals. Someone can participate in the MAPs program for up to three years with a budget of up to $20,000 each year. The MAPs services are:

  • Community Navigator
  • Independence Coaching
  • Employment Innovation
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Enabling Technology

Community Navigator

The Community Navigator service is foundational to the MAPs program. People will use this service to create their Virtual Community Resource Map, learn how to get around more independently, and use mobile technology to support their goals. The Community Navigator service will also help people expand their connections with people, places, and activities in their community.

Independence Coaching

This service helps people strengthen their independent living skills by focusing on areas like home safety, personal health and hygiene, and budgeting. There is also a strong focus on using smart home technologies to support people’s independence goals at home.

Employment Innovation

The focus of the Employment Innovation service is helping people get jobs in the community and advance in their career. People can use this service to explore their strengths and skills, identify possible career paths, interview for jobs, and figure out what supports they need to be as independent and successful as possible in the workplace. For those who want to be entrepreneurs, this service can also be used to plan and start a business.

Peer Mentoring

People often learn best by connecting with others who have similar life experiences, interests, and goals. The MAPs program will employ people with IDD as “peer mentors,” who can serve as experienced and trusted advisers. MAPs participants will then have the opportunity to form relationships with a peer mentor over the course of the program. They will get to know each other, and the mentor will help the MAPs participant as they create their pathway, learn new skills, overcome challenges, and meet their goals.

Enabling Technology

There is a strong focus on Enabling Technology in each of the MAPs areas: home, work, and community. Participants will explore different technologies and how these technologies can help them increase independence and achieve their goals in each area. MAPs participants and other people in their circle of support (roommates, friends, family, etc.) will receive training and coaching on using the technology. People will also have the option of receiving remote support technology through the MAPs program. Remote supports mean someone uses Enabling Technology to receive real-time support from someone who is not physically with them to solve a problem or provide extra assistance when it is needed or requested by the person. This can include support staff, coaches, friends, family members, and other people in their network.

DIDD is planning to begin enrollment and launch the MAPs program in November 2022.  MAPs services will be introduced in a phased approach to each region of Tennessee.  Based on the results of an interest survey, MAPs services will be implemented in the middle Tennessee region during winter 2022, in the east Tennessee region in early 2023, and in the west Tennessee region in the spring of 2023.

Please refer to the MAPs webpage and stay tuned for more information.

Yes, someone can be enrolled in MAPs while attending an Inclusive Higher Education program or other post-secondary education program.

MAPs is a time-limited (maximum of 3 years), state-funded program designed to help people learn to use tools and skills that can increase their independence at home, at work, and in the community. Each MAPs service can include the use of Enabling Technology to increase independent skills.  While the Employment and Community First CHOICES program provides a wide array of service and support options, including 24/7 residential supports, the MAPs program will focus on training and tools that may reduce someone’s need for intensive or long-term supports, with the goal of creating a pathway to a more independent life. While MAPs is designed to be an alternative to Medicaid-funded long-term supports and services (e.g., ECF CHOICES), some people may choose to enroll in long-term supports and services after participating in MAPs.

No. Because some of the services as provided by the ECF CHOICES program and the MAPs program are similar in nature, and because it is the intent of the state to maximize all funding and services to reach as many people as possible, these two programs cannot cooccur.  However, it is possible for a person receiving MAPs services to leave and enter ECF CHOICES (subject to availability and qualification for enrollment) or for a person to leave the ECF CHOICES program to receive MAPs programming.   

Yes. Because the services in the MAPs program and the Family Support Program are not similar in nature but, in fact, may be complementary, these supports can co-occur for members.  

Participation and completion of the MAPs program is completely voluntary, and members can disenroll at any time through their assigned Case Management supports.  It should be noted, if a member disenrolls, and re-admission would be necessary, re-enrollment may not be guaranteed.  

Application & Case Management

The first step to enroll in MAPs is to complete an “Enrollment Application”, which can be found on the DIDD MAPs website when enrollment begins.  Applicants will provide demographic and contact information that will be necessary to determine eligibility for MAPs, including documentation confirming an applicant’s Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability.  Here are the steps needed for enrollment:

Step 1:  Complete MAPs Enrollment Application

Step 2:  When requested, submit documents verifying Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability

Step 3:  Await eligibility determination

Step 4:  DIDD will contact you notifying you of determination

Step 5:  Innovation Coordination (Case Management) Services will begin



Intellectual Disability: According to the state’s definition, intellectual disability means substantial limitations in functioning as shown by:

  • Significantly sub-average intellectual functioning that exists concurrently with related limitations in two (2) or more of the following adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work
  • An IQ of 70 or below
  • Occurrence before the age of 18

Developmental Disability: According to the state’s definition, developmental disability is:

  • Attributable to a mental or physical impairment
  • Likely to continue indefinitely
  • Results in substantial functional limitations in three (3) or more of the following life activities:
    • Self-care
    • Communication
    • Learning
    • Mobility
    • Self-direction
    • Capacity for independent living
    • Economic self-sufficiency.
  • Occurs before age of 22

Examples of documents that may be used to qualify for MAPs include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical records that show the person’s diagnosis of intellectual or developmental disability
  • An IQ evaluation with diagnosis of intellectual disability
  • School records identifying the diagnosis (e.g., IEP or other assessments)
  • Therapy notes/assessments completed by a clinician identifying intellectual or developmental disability
  • Social Security Administration documents that list a diagnosis of intellectual or developmental disability

NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list. There may be other documents that help demonstrate MAPs eligibility.

Enabling Technology

Enabling Technology is a person-centered technology solution and service driven by personal outcomes, preferences, and priorities towards desired levels of independence. People participating in the MAPs program will be able to utilize Enabling Technology as resources and tools to support accessibility and skill development towards sustainable independence at home, in the community, or at their workplace. These Enabling Technology solutions can include but not limited to; remote support technology systems using smart home technologies to support people’s safety and independence at home; mobile devices and applications for community navigation, accessing public transportation, and finding community resources; and employment software and applications for exploration and discovery of new job opportunities. 

All Enabling Technology solutions and services are person-centered and recommended according to each person’s specific outcomes, preferences, and priorities towards desired levels of independence. Each person participating in MAPs will have access to a pre-programmed mobile device (smartphone), including cellular access paid for by the program. The mobile device, software, and applications provide access to:

  • Virtual community resource maps created by the person;
  • Wayfinding applications for community navigation and finding accessible transportation;
  • Scheduling and task prompting applications for completing goals and outcomes;
  • Communication applications for immediate remote support;
  • Other applications to build necessary independent living skills such as medication management, health, and safety.  

Yes. Persons supported participating in MAPs who do not have a smartphone will be provided a fully funded smartphone device and payments towards all data plans.  Persons supported will use this smart device to develop and implement the Virtual Community Resource Map and applicable travel training applications. At the conclusion of the MAPs program, the person supported will be able to keep the smartphone but will assume responsibility for any future costs associated with the device.

Yes, you can choose to use a personal smartphone or tablet with MAPs services.  However, if you use your own device, all costs associated with cellular access or data plans would remain the responsibility of the person supported.

Employment Innovation

Employment Innovation refers to the employment services people will be receiving in MAPs. The MAPs Employment Innovation services will emphasize the use of technology as tools to help people explore work options, receive job supports, like remote job coaching, and be used as a tool to truly excel in their chosen career path.

Pre-Employment Innovation services will emphasize the use of technology to help people learn about work, discover their employment-related skills, interests, and strengths, and identify job openings in one’s community. Specifically, there are several software applications that has been trialed by DIDD and been shown to be effective ways to explore jobs.

No, working is not a requirement to participate in MAPs; however, tools, skills and training opportunities are deliberately geared toward sustainable independence. Given that paid employment is a cornerstone of sustained independence, it is the expectation that this outcome will be a natural desire for many participating in the program. 

People are to be referred to VR services during Pre-Employment Innovation services. MAPs Pre-Employment Innovation services will continue throughout this referral process; therefore, there should be no disruption in services while people are awaiting VR to respond to their referral.

Travel Training

Travel Training is comprehensive instruction to learn how to navigate in one’s community. Travel Training in MAPs will utilize technology to support independent travel and build one’s skills and confidence when traveling. Working in collaboration with the Virtual Community Resource Mapping embedded within this program, MAPs seeks to provide both expanded understanding of someone’s surrounding community and the skills to access resources, professional and leisure, more independently. 

People will be responsible for their own transportation costs; however, support will be provided to identify the most cost-effective means of travel.

Peer Mentoring

A large portion of the program will include identifying a peer mentor that will be available to assist the individual in their transition into these services and through the program.  The benefits of having someone who has lived experiences are tremendous and it is anticipated that this support will provide an extra layer of community integration for the member.  Peer mentoring is designed to empower individuals to exercise choices to maintain and/or increase their independence.  

Yes, peer mentors will receive compensation for their supports.  

Provider Questions

It is anticipated that MAPS will require a ramping up period to support all anticipated members.  As a result, initial MAPs providers will have a demonstrated experience with a combination of leadership and certification in the following areas:

  • Employment 1st
  • Enabling Technology
  • Technology 1st Accreditation (Shift)
  • Person-Centered Thinking, Planning and Practices

It is anticipated that many of the initial providers will be existing waiver providers, however, as more individuals enroll within the program and more organizations reach demonstrated experience, leadership, and certification in the above-mentioned pillars of transformation, additional providers will be encouraged to participate.  

Not all these certifications are required, however, considering the expectation that Enabling Technology will be such a large component of this program, this demonstrated experience, leadership and/or certification is heavily valued for consideration. We would encourage all providers to pursue each of the pillars of transformation and members of the DIDD Division of Innovation can be called upon to provide information to providers on how to gather information about these pillars.