"News and Announcements" provides information about the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council) and other disability-related information. For more latest news and updates from the Ohio DD Council, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can also download a list of links to all of our social media sites and newsletters.
July 17, 2018: Our former and current Council members are strong advocates in the community; and we always like to share what they are doing in their own community to advocate for people with developmental disabilities.
Michael Richards is Appointed to County Board on DD
One of our new members, Michael Richards, was named as a board member to the Highland County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Richards becomes another self-advocate to be appointed to a board. What makes this even more special is that this appointment marks the first time someone with a developmental disability has served in this capacity on the Highland County Board.
“We always encourage our members to get involved in their local DD boards because most do not have a person with a disability sitting and representing the interests and advocating for issues that also affect people with disabilities in their county,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of Ohio DD Council. “We are excited about Michael’s new appointment, and we know that he is a great addition to the county board and will bring a great wealth of knowledge to make Highland County more inclusive.”
Read an article about Michael's appointment from the Times Gazette here: Torch passed on at Highland County Board of DD
Former Council Chair Featured on Podcast on Disability and Employment
Women In Government released a new podcast on disability and employment called “Employer Perspectives for Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities”. The third in a series, the episode features Mark Seifarth, past chair of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, Maryland Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes, Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey and Kathy Burris of CVS Health.
Moderator Sheree Sample-Hughes led the panel in talking about effective employer policies and practices for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing qualified individuals with disabilities.
One of the points Seifarth made was about the importance of having people with disabilities at the table when making policy recommendations and decisions on how to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
“In the disability community, it’s nothing about us without us. And, you have all these folks that sit down and decide they’re going to figure out how to hire people with disabilities and nobody with a disability is sitting at the table,” said Seifarth. “There’s a problem with that. That’s like trying to build a building and not hiring and not having anyone at the table that knows how to build a building. So, we really need to look at all those ways you can include people with disabilities in all sections, in all functions as you’re going down the line.”
Listen to the entire podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/user-548999638-454857255/women-in-government-podcast-episode3
Or read a transcript of the podcast here: http://www.womeningovernment.org/sites/default/files/documents/pub-policy/WIG%20Podcast%20Ep%203-%20Employer%20Perspectives.pdf
The podcasts are part of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED) initiative to help state legislators effectively address policy barriers that may hinder the employment of people with disabilities. Through these collaborations SEED is dedicated to ensuring that state policymakers have the tools and resources they need to develop policies related to disability-inclusive workforce development.
Grant Spotlight: OCALI Supports Schools to Ensure Post-Secondary Success
July 10, 2018: Through the Ohio DD Council, OCALI, or the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence, received a grant titled “Realizing Employment First for Youth: Evidence Based Practices and Predictors of Adult Success.”
The pilot program called “What Works for Work”, studied how evidence-based practices and predictors that supported school-based teams help achieve post-secondary success – or life after high school - for students with developmental disabilities.
The grant support school-based teams, “find successful methods that would improve transitions into employment, independent living skills and community living,” said Madeline Rosenshein, OCALI consultant and grantee.
Through research focused on transition youth, it was found that certain evidence-based practices and predictors, if implemented during the school years, can improve adult outcomes, which includes employment.
The practices created structured processes for a student to find success. Methods such as chaining (linking steps towards an outcome); prompting; and using mobile technology were proving to be successful for the students.
From September to June, OCALI hosted four whole-day sessions for teachers to learn the curriculums to help their students succeed while in school, and how to achieve success after leaving high school.
“The curriculum provided tools for the school-based teams to see the needs of the student and how to define them, and also focus on the most important need first, which differs for each student,” added Rosenshein. “Additionally, this also empowers our students because we are focusing on their individual need and working with them directly to be successful.”
The curriculum also provided more ways and methods for interventions due to the evidence-based format.
Through this grant, OCALI has also been able to provide a broader understanding of how improved transition outcomes are an integral part of school improvement and positive behavior supports.
Ohio becomes Technology First state for Ohioans with developmental disabilities
May 24, 2018: Past and present members of the Ohio DD Council, along with many others in the disability community, were invited to attend an event at the Statehouse to witness Gov. John Kasich sign an executive order naming Ohio a "Technology First" state. This order recognizes and calls for the need for improving access to technology for people with developmental disabilities in order to live, work, and attend school more independently within their communities.
The executive order establishes a Technology First Council to bring together state agencies, providers, people with disabilities and other stakeholders. The Technology First Council will have six months to complete its assessment and provide recommendations. The overall goal is to ensure technology will be considered as part of all service and support plans for people with disabilities.
Director John Martin of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities thanked the Governor for supporting the Department's ongoing efforts to improve remote supports through the use of ever-evolving technology. Director Martin also recognized the Ohio DD Council and The Arc of Ohio for their projects and initiatives in recent years to support the use of technology by people with disabilities. Click here to read more about DD Council's grant projects that focus on assistive technology.
Among those in attendance at the signing were current Council member Marci Straughter (pictured to the left while posing with Milo the talking robot). Marci is also chair of DD Council's Technology & Communication Committee. Robert Shumak, former Council member and the previous chair of the Technology & Communication Committee, was also present. It was during Robert's term on Council that the Assistive Technology Committee was originally established. Also at the signing were Executive Director Carolyn Knight and Kim Crishbaum, Council's Technology & Communication Committee staff person.
For details about Ohio's Technology First initiative, click here to read the signed Executive Order.
Read other coverage about Ohio's Technology First Initiative:
The importance - and problem - of transportation for Ohioans with disabilities
The Ohio DD Council is constantly revisiting the issues of transportation through research done by its grantees. The need for reliable and accessible transportation for Ohioans with disabilities is never ending. For example, the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center (GRC), through a grant from the Ohio DD Council, studied the question of access to transportation for Ohioans with disabilities. The GRC reported its findings in a report that was published in July 2017. Overall, the study found that obtaining safe, affordable, and appropriate transportation options can be very difficult for Ohioans with disabilities. For a quick look at the key findings, read the Ohio DD Council's Transportation Study Impact Sheet. The study’s results point to the need for further research, including an examination of the feasibility and effectiveness of proposed improvements and innovations. For more information, read the complete report here: Transportation Challenges for Ohioans with Disabilities.
Currently, the Ohio DD Council is funding a grant called, Sustaining & Expanding Accessible and Affordable Transportation for People with Disabilities Anytime. The grantee seeks to find ways to offer accessible and affordable transportation services for people with disabilities whenever needed, regardless of time of day or location. The grant also is researching solutions for what can be done when accessible and affordable transportation isn’t available. You can read more about the grant here: http://ddc.ohio.gov/Grants/Current-Projects/access-afford-trans
What is your opinion about transportation?
As the Ohio DD Council continues to work through its grantees and partners on ways to improve transportation, we encourage Ohioans with disabilities to provide input whenever possible. What will transportation look like in the future? What are your needs? What do you think will be the needs of people with disabilities in the years to come?
Currently, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) would like your input by taking a survey about the future of transportation. The responses from the survey will assist ODOT in updating Ohio's long-range transportation plan, called Access Ohio 2045.
Please take some time to complete ODOT's survey here so that they hear about the needs of Ohioans with disabilities: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Ohio-transportation-trends
Governor John Kasich Appoints New Chair to Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council
April 9, 2018 (Columbus, OH) – Governor John Kasich has appointed Joanna Spargo as the new chairperson to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council). Spargo, of North Canton, OH, begins her service to promote equal opportunities for the statewide disability community.
Ohio DD Council Chair
The Malone University alumna started her work in the disability field right after college. As a social worker, she started helping people with developmental disabilities move into apartments in the local community. She built her career with REM Ohio, and now is the executive director of the State-wide provider agency that offers an array of services for people with disabilities, job seekers facing employment challenges, and individuals with other complex needs.
Leading a provider agency, Spargo wants to bring attention to the Direct Support Provider (DSP) crisis in Ohio. Understanding and bringing value to DSPs is one of the many things she would like to achieve while on the Council.
Adding to her many roles, Spargo is also a mother of two children, one who has disabilities. Becoming a parent opened up a new world for Spargo, which empowers her advocacy even more for parents of children with disabilities.
“It’s a whole different world and parents are navigating this alone,” she said. “This experience with my son brought to light many issues that parents go through, and how we can support them in various areas such as healthcare, education, and more.”
Through her diverse roles and experience, she hopes to support Ohio DD Council’s great work, but also continue to enhance collaboration and outreach to areas that are in need of services. She wants to use this platform to make sure underserved and unserved communities are also heard and represented well.
“We want to tap into our Council’s resources and reach across Ohio to those underserved and unserved areas. What connections do our members, advocates, or families have and how can we work together to make sure everyone’s voice is heard?”
There is amazing energy in the Council, and we are going to continue collaborating to see how we can keep expanding our impact across the State,” added Spargo.
“We welcome Joanna with her extensive knowledge of the needs and abilities of those with disabilities,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of Ohio DD Council. “Her professional experience as well as her strong advocacy for her children is invaluable as the Council continues to foster full community inclusion of those with developmental disabilities in Ohio.”