DD Council Connection - March 2018

logo of dd council connection newsletter bannerWelcome to the March 2018 edition of the DD Council Connection newsletter!

DD Council Connection is a way for the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to introduce to you our Council members, provide updates on the work we do and the grant projects we manage, and inform you on the activities and initiatives of Ohio's community of self-advocates and others who work on behalf of people with disabilities and their families. We hope you enjoy this e-newsletter. Please share your thoughts, story ideas and calendar submissions with us at DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov.

This month's articles include:


Ohio DD Awareness and Advocacy Day Another Huge Success

More than 400 advocates, family members, professionals and other stakeholders in Ohio’s developmental disabilities system packed the Ohio Statehouse on March 7, 2018 to “Celebrate CommUNITY” as part of the annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

L to R: Tim Snedecker, Paula Stair and Loni Slone, all from Newark, were quick to wear the event t-shirt after checking in
at the registration desk. (Photo Credit: Kyle McKay)

Three people posing for a picture at the event.

The program, held every year in March, is a chance for advocates to bring public awareness about issues like transportation, employment, access to direct support providers, and health care. The event is also an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to meet with legislators and staff to share their story and to advocate for public policy change.

Featured speakers this year included self-advocates Christine Brown, Wallace Peck, and Logan Detwiler. Director John Martin, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, addressed the crowd and motivational speaker and Direct Support Provider Josh Anderson wowed the crowd with his personal story. Shari Cooper, herself a person with a disability, returned as emcee of the program, her 6th year in the role.

Jeff Davis, director of government relations for the Ohio Provider Resource Association, said the whole day is a chance for individuals with disabilities to shine.

Once again, the Statehouse Atrium was filled to capacity, with many folks standing in the wings, when the program started at 10:00 a.m. (Photo Credit: Kyle McKay)

Picture of the crowd at the Statehouse for the event.

“Our focus, from day one, was to create an event that featured people with disabilities, and enabled them to participate fully,” said Davis. “From the many evaluations we’ve received to date, it’s clear that this approach resonates in our community.”

Davis said that registration for the event topped out at 550 people, but with no-shows and at-the-door registration, the final attendance count was 449. The event was also streamed live on the Ohio Channel, and had received 178 views. 

Paul Jarvis, liaison officer for the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, said one of the goals of the event is to get people to meet with their state legislators and to share their story. More than 300 people who attended the day opted to meet with their state representative and senator.

“I’ve had several different legislators tell me how valuable this day is to them,” Jarvis said. “The ability of our advocates to talk about their lives and personal experiences adds not only a face to our issues, but a name too.”

Planning for the DD Awareness and Advocacy Day started in July of 2017 and included support from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, the Ohio Self Determination Association, and People First of Ohio. Funding for the event is provided through a grant from the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to the Ohio Provider Resource Association.


Council Member Spotlight: Rochelle Hall-Rollins

Rochelle Hall-Rollins, a parent advocate from Holland, Ohio discusses how the Ohio DD Council has helped her become a better advocate for her daughter and those in her community.

Click on the video below to learn more about Rochelle. 

Visit Ohio DD Council's YouTube channel to watch more videos about Council and its members.


DD Council Welcomes New Chair, New Members

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is pleased to announce Joanna Spargo, executive director of REM Ohio has been appointed as Council Chair, succeeding Mark Seifarth after his two-year term.

Spargo leads REM Ohio, a provider organization from Akron, Ohio, that serves adults and children with disabilities. She also sits on the Council as a parent of a child with a developmental disability.

In addition to Spargo, Governor John Kasich also appointed the following individuals to Ohio DD Council for terms beginning February 12, 2018, and ending December 31, 2020:

  • Brenda Brandon of Oak Harbor (Ottawa County)
  • Morgan E. Gattermeyer of Hamilton (Butler County)
  • Rhonda J. Rich of Troy (Miami County)
  • Michael E. Denlinger of Cincinnati (Hamilton County)
  • Matt A. Harrison of Greenville (Darke County)
  • Michael E. Richards of Greenfield (Highland County)

“We are excited to welcome these new Council members from areas of Ohio which four counties will be represented on Council for the first time,” said executive director Carolyn Knight. “Additionally, the appointment of Joanna Spargo as chair will bring a great insight to our Council as she is not only a parent, but leads one of Ohio’s provider associations.”

Congratulations to everyone!


The Future is Now! Series Kicks Off in Hamilton County

Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services is pleased to present The Future is Now, a free multi-part series designed to help older caregivers and their family members make plans for the future. Throughout the series, families get help to create a letter of intent. A letter of intent is a non-legal document that captures family desires and goals for the future. Creating a letter of intent can help families gain peace of mind that comes with having a plan.

logo for the Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities ServicesEach session offers an opportunity to learn about important topics to create the letter of intent, such as:

  • Naming hopes, dreams, and worries for the future;
  • Strengthening and expanding personal networks of friends and supporters;
  • Identifying the desired future living arrangements; and
  • Making the most of public benefits over the lifespan.
Who can attend?

These sessions are designed for families that include a member with a disability whose caregiver is age 60 or older. All members of the family are encouraged to attend, including caregivers, the family member with a disability, siblings, and close family friends.

What happens during the sessions?

Sessions will be hosted by a family member and a person with a disability who have had training and experience planning for the future. Participation will be limited to ten families.

Breakout sessions, co-led by an advocacy team will be offered for the family members with a disability. Caregivers will have their own session. An expert speaker will present on specific topics during each session. Family members will have a chance to ask questions and interact with one another.

When and where are the sessions?

You have three options to choose from:

  • Option 1: Two Saturdays (April 14 and 21) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Starfire, 5030 Oaklawn Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45227
  • Option 2: Four Thursdays (June 7, 14, 21, and 28) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Starfire, 5030 Oaklawn Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45227
  • Option 3: Two Saturdays (September 15 and 22) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Community Matters, 2104 St. Michael Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45204
How to register

To register, contact Dawn at 513-559-6814 or dawn.freudenberg@hamiltondds.org.

Download the event flyer here: The Future Is Now - Future Planning Sessions for Families with an Older Caregiver

This project is funded by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill or Rights Act.