So many of the different services that people need sound like other types of services. And while some of those, like rehabilitation, are a little more familiar to the general public, others aren’t. Most people haven’t heard of habilitation services until they need them. Although these types of services sound like others, they’re really in a category all their own.

Rehabilitation Defined

Rehabilitation means rebuilding or relearning skills that were lost. These are skills that you or a family member lost because of some sort of illness or problem. After someone breaks a bone, for instance, they spend weeks healing in a cast. Once the cast is removed, the limb must be rehabilitated in order to regain strength and range of motion. Any type of rehabilitation is about rebuilding something that you knew or could do before.

Habilitation Defined

Habilitation sounds very similar to rehabilitation, but it’s markedly different. Whereas rehabilitation focuses on relearning something that was once known, habilitation involves learning and mastering brand-new skills, particularly if the person learning those skills is developmentally disabled. These skills might involve motor skills, specific tasks, or even communication skills.

The Differences Are Big

No matter how similar these two types of assistance sound, they’re vastly different. People in need of residential habilitation services often need assistance learning to manage activities of daily living. These activities, also called ADLs, are skills such as getting dressed on their own, bathing, brushing teeth, and more. There may be other types of skills the someone would need help with, too, such as communicating with other people or learning how to navigate social situations.

RHS Can Be a Tremendous Lifeline

RHS might be a lifeline for someone with developmental disabilities. With these skills, someone with autism or other developmental disabilities might be able to live in a halfway house or in their own apartment at some point. These are steps that might not have been possible at all on any level before. But with the help and patience of residential habilitation staff, it just might be possible for someone you love to live with roommates and have a job.

Understanding what habilitation services are all about is an important part of making sure the people who need those services are able to access them. It’s easy to misunderstand what different services do, especially when they sound incredibly similar. But once you do know, you can help others to figure it out, too.


If you are considering residential habilitation in Carmel, IN, please call the caring staff at RSI Cares. Serving Greater Indianapolis Area. Call for Immediate Info & Assistance: 317-471-0750.