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ReachOut e-Diversity Newsletter - December 2015 Edition

An Electronic Publication of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

You can download the PDF version of this newsletter which includes pictures. And be sure to join the ReachOut e-Diversity News e-mail list to receive notifications when new editions are available. 

In this issue:

It is the policy of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to use person-first language in items written by staff. Items reprinted or quoted exactly as they originally appear may not reflect this policy.

The purpose of Reach Out e-Diversity newsletter is to promote interagency collaboration and coordination that result in agencies providing culturally competent services to the unserved/underserved populations in Ohio. Reach Out e-Diversity News is produced by The Outcomes Management Group, Ltd. This product is funded all or in part by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council.


Outreach to Un- and Underserved People A Journey of Personal Growth

By Michael Schroeder, Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addition Services

I grew up differently than most. My father was in the Army Air Corps/Air Force until I was a senior in college. We moved every few years, sometimes changing schools several times in a year. I changed schools 13 times before high school, but did attend one high school for 4 years. In addition, my mother was a British “war bride”, who came to this country by ship during war time, in a naval convoy.

I was born in Wisconsin, in my father’s home town, Fond du Lac. Shortly after that, we moved to Minneapolis, then my father was recalled to the military and we lived in Munich, Germany, in 1948, not long after the war, and my father was doing weather forecasts in Berlin for the Airlift. I started school in a German Kindergarten, taught in German, as there were no ‘base schools”, He must have made it home at times, as I had a sister born in Munich in 1950.

Then, we were relocated, and my dad was in London. Housing was short in post-war London, much of which had been destroyed by the blitz. My mom, sister, and I stayed with my mom’s family in rural South Wales, and I went to the school she had attended. When my dad found housing in the London area, we moved and I went to school there.

So, now, here I was, 5 years old, in my third school, and the first one had been taught in German. The next two were taught in English which was not the same type my dad spoke, but was what my mother spoke.

If you are wondering why I am starting this reflecting on my early childhood schooling, it is because, in those times, I was the “other”. I don’t recall being discriminated against, nor being stigmatized, but I had a lot of “catching up” to do, linguistically and socially.

My parents both worked hard to instill a sense of fairness and justice in us. I remember, as a high school freshman, my father giving us “the eye” and marching us out of my grandparents’ church, when the pastor warned, from the pulpit, about the danger of electing a Catholic (John Kennedy) as president and having the Pope in the White House. Earlier, I learned that my father, a rock-ribbed Republican, supported Stevenson over Eisenhower because Eisenhower had snubbed a Jewish USAF officer. He said that he could never support a bigot.

I am also a child of the 1960’s. In that turbulent decade, I graduated from high school (1963) and college (1967), and served in the Army, spending a year in Vietnam in a combat unit. I participated in voter-registration efforts in the South. I marched from Selma to Montgomery. I taught reading at Resurrection City while on pass from Ft. Belvoir.

I believe that the most profound influence on my sense of a need for fairness and social justice is that I am a Christian. My faith requires that you “do unto others as I would have them do unto you. (Luke 6:31)” It also requires me to reach out to people whom the world has left behind one door or another.

The Ohio DD Council’s Outreach to the Un- and Under-Served Committee seeks to find people whose service needs have not been adequately met, or have not been offered in a way that is culturally competent, therefore making the service unavailable to them. The law requires that all DD Councils reach out to populations that are un- or under-served, but, in Ohio, we require applicants to 1) identify the population, 2) describe the methods they will use in reaching out to them, and 3) report back on the success of their efforts.

I have been a member of the Outreach Committee since it was started, and it has been my privilege to learn from Carolyn Knight, the first committee chair and now Executive Director, and from Ken Latham, whose gift of hospitality has helped him invite un- and under-served groups to join in our efforts. I am also grateful to Fatica Ayers for her assistance over the years in assuring that the planning efforts reflect these values.

ODDC has been successful in joining together with groups serving Somali immigrants, Appalachian victims of domestic abuse, Asian-Americans, settled in Hispanic migrant workers, Amish, people with Sickle-Cell traits, African-Americans with ASD, and others. We learned, when outreach materials were being developed, that there was no concept of intellectual disability among Cambodians. We have learned how to become culturally competent in rural Appalachia, and among populations with little or no documentation.

We have worked to make our Council look more like Ohio. In partnership with the Nominating Committee, we have assisted in getting the word about Council vacancies out to people served by the Outreach efforts, in providing preference to under-represented geographic and cultural areas of the state, and in providing training for Council members and grantees on cultural competency and the need to reach out.

I have served on this Council, as a representative of my state agency, since 1988. It has been one of the high points of my career, and, having served, most recently, as the Chair of Outreach, has been one of my greatest pleasures in state government.

It has allowed me to be a part of a continuing moral struggle to provide a more level playing field for the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all Ohioans, regardless of disability, regardless of family of origin, regardless of creed, regardless of color. It is my prayer that these efforts continue.

Editors Note

THANKS for serving unselfishly! December 2015 is Mike’s last meeting with the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, it is the month that he retires from state service with The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Council Membership of 27 years. Mike, you will be missed.

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LifeTown Offers Life Skills Training

LifeTown, located in the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center (New Albany, OH), is a realistic indoor “city” designed specifically for young people with disabilities to have fun while practicing important life skills through role-play. It was developed in consultation with parents and children with special needs, therapists, educators and professionals.

Students benefit with each visit to LifeTown where they can reinforce classroom lessons with “hands on” experiences. They learn in a supportive, positive and structured environment. When the kids arrive for their monthly visit, they receive wallets, $12 and a worksheet of errands to run. Through targeted lessons the students learn and practice important life skills. Lessons are customized for every student’s learning needs. Students learn safety skills by walking through the “city” with working traffic lights and a volunteer safety officer. Older students learn employment skills through job exploration, job interviews, and on the job training.

Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann and his wife, Esther, have led the program since its inception, eight years ago. The town operates every weekday morning when school is in. Thirteen Columbus-area school districts now send 2,500 students per year.

This year, LifeTown received a $90,000 grant, Community Connectors, from the Ohio Department of Education. The goal of the grant is to help older students with mild to moderate disabilities move smoothly from school to the work world. Ninetyfour students have been paired with 86 adult mentors, all of whom have been recruited since early July. To keep the mentorship program growing and the town running every day requires a constant supply of outside help — about 20 volunteers a day. Beyond the 86 mentors, LifeTown has a bank of 800 volunteers. Corporations including L Brands, DSW, Cardinal Health, Wendy’s and Nationwide Insurance regularly send teams of employees to help.

There is abundant anecdotal evidence that students who have participated in LifeTown’s life skills instruction have generalized skills they learned at LifeTown to community settings. For example, parents have reported that their sons or daughters are more comfortable in visiting physicians and dentists, and show an increase interest in personal hygiene. Teachers have reported that students’ awareness of traffic and safety has greatly improved.

In the unsolicited words of a special education teacher:

“I have to tell you, that my students who are now leaving had a terrific experience these past few years at LifeTown. They ‘graduated’ from LifeTown and went into the real towns [local businesses, professional offices, entertainment venues, and city sites]. They were successful trips because of our experiences at LifeTown. Students also learned social skills which they were able to transfer to the real world. They acquired the core of independence and selfconfidence, which enabled them to be community participants in appropriate ways.”

A Glance at LifeTown

Library: Students can check out a book or magazine from the Life Town Library and relax on a bench in the LifeTown Park. They can use the library computer to conduct research on a topic of interest such as a pet that they saw in the Pet Shop. They can print out the information to take home and share with their friends and family as they discuss their visit to Life Town.

The LifeTown Library will occasionally host a guest reader on a book that is intentionally selected for the students visiting Life Town on that day. Computers are available for research.

Pet Shop: The Pet Shop is fully stocked with fish, birds and animals to touch such as hamsters, gerbils and rabbits. The students can feed the animals, learn about the animals, and even hold the animals during their visit to the Pet Shop. Students typically enjoy making several visits to the Pet Shop during their lesson.

Bank: Students can enhance their financial literacy during their visit to Life Town’s by learning how to deposit funds and withdraw funds.

Hair Salon: Students learn about personal hygiene and grooming and how to make and keep an appointment for a hair styling or a “minimanicure” at the hair salon by calling in advance or stopping in to schedule an appointment during their visit to LifeTown.

Theater: Students can visit the Life Town Theater to watch a movie or television show. The marquis and showing times can be customized for the visiting group. The feature can be selected by LifeTown or supplied by the visiting group. Two showings are usually offered per lesson.

Friendship Workshop: The Friendship Workshop is a special arts and crafts workshop where children will gather to learn and practice a wide variety of art techniques. Reservations for the Friendship Workshop are made in advance of a visit.

Pedestrian Safety Program: Students can practice pedestrian safety in a controlled environment. A volunteer serves as a safety officer.

Medical Center: Students can make appointments with the LifeTown Doctor or Dentist to learn healthy practices. The Dentist will discuss good brushing practices and oral hygiene. He or she will also explain the tools and equipment in the office. The Doctor will measure a child’s height and weight and present basic health and nutrition information. LifeTown staff will insure that children understand that all medical concerns should be discussed with the child’s personal Doctor or Dentist.

Life Town Park: Students can relax in the LifeTown park and enhance their financial literacy skills by purchasing a variety of items, including snacks, from the minimarket and kiosks.

For More Information

LifeTown Columbus, 6220 E. Dublin Granville Road, New Albany, Ohio 43054; Phone: 614-939-0765; www.lifetowncolumbus.org

Become a Volunteer Mentor and make a real difference in the life of a child! Click here: <a href="http://www.lifetowncolumbus.org/pdf/LifeTown-Mentor- Flyer.pdf">http://www.lifetowncolumbus.org/pdf/LifeTown-Mentor-Flyer.pdf

Did You Know?

Life skills instruction is a necessary and critical element of an appropriate education for students with disabilities.

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Ohio Autism Group Launches New Online Video-Training Program

By Rita Price, Reprint from November 18, 2015 (Columbus, Dispatch)

A new, online video-training program aims to help families, agency workers, in-home aides — anyone who interacts with a person who has autism — gain the skills they need to support kids and young adults on the spectrum.

The state-funded project, launched today, is the first of its kind in the nation, said Shawn Henry, executive director of OCALI, the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence.

“I think that’s what parents are dying for — to have their children understood,” Henry said.

Out” e-Diversity newsletter is to promote interagency collaboration and coordination that result in agencies providing culturally competent services to the unserved/underserved populations in Ohio Reach Out e-Diversity News is produced by The Outcomes Management Group, Ltd. This product is funded all or in part by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. It is the policy of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to use person-first language in items written by staff. Items reprinted or quoted exactly as they originally appear may not reflect this policy. Join Our E-mail List Read, Pass on to Friends, Family Members, Colleagues & Constituents December 2015 Edition | Volume 9, Issue 6 Ohio Autism Group Launches New Online Video-Training Program By Rita Price Reprint from November 18, 2015 (Columbus, Dispatch) A new, online video-training program aims to help families, agency workers, in-home aides — anyone who interacts with a person who has autism — gain the skills they need to support kids and young adults on the spectrum. The state-funded project, launched today, is the first of its kind in the nation, said Shawn Henry, executive director of OCALI, the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. “I think that’s what parents are dying for — to have their children understood,” Henry said. or work with individuals on the autism spectrum from early childhood to young adulthood. ASD Strategies in Action was developed in consultation with a panel of internationally renowned experts, the training provides practical information and skills from multiple research-based approaches. It also offers a certification process for those who help people with autism.

Users can click on everything from a 90-minute overview to 15 hours of detailed coursework, with certification available for each section completed. It’s free to Ohioans; out-of-state users pay for a subscription.

John Martin, director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, said the training is not mandatory for disability-services providers. But he expects that agencies serving people with autism will want employees to gain certification, as will many families who hire therapists and caregivers.

“We think there will be lots of interest on its own,” Martin said. “Without the use of requirements, we think we’ll see lots of use.”

At the same time, the program has “real utility in terms of the general public,” Martin said. Its basic components could help grandparents, law-enforcement officers, librarians and others who might want more knowledge about the increasingly common condition, he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 68 children has been identified with an autism-spectrum disorder.

The origins of the autism-training project were contained in the last biennial budget, which sought to define and tighten credentials for people practicing as behavior analysts.

“The psychology board wanted to make sure that the folks who are writing the plans for people with autism had adequate training and credentials,” Martin said. “There just wasn’t clarity in statute about the formal development of treatment plans, who was qualified to do that and who isn’t.”

The legislation spelled out the requirements for someone to be a certified Ohio behavior analyst and also directed state agencies to work with OCALI to create a certification program for others who work with people with autism.

Henry said supporters hope the online training also can help curb some of the employee turnover within agencies that serve children and young adults with autism.

OCALI’s Melissa Bacon, who has a 15-year-old daughter with autism, said that in-home help is often hard for families to keep.

“We went through babysitters like water, because they didn’t understand her behaviors,” Bacon said. “It we could have had someone sit down and say, ‘Please, watch this,’ it might have saved a lot of turmoil.”

OCALI unveiled the online program at its annual conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Participants could stop by a display exhibit and see how it works. The program includes real-people videos, interviews, expert commentary, strategies for communication and behavioralintervention practices.

Henry said the idea is “to engage users from the moment they log in.”

Bacon said she hopes the program can lift some of the mystery of autism-spectrum disorder.

“A child with autism does not look any different from any other child,” she said. “So there’s a lack of understanding about why a child is behaving the way that they are.”

Visit: https://autismcertificationcenter.org/

Did You Know?

Many Faces of Autism is a free course that will introduce you to characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and dispel common misconcepti ons through the experiences and perspectives of individuals on the autism spectrum. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, neighbor, co-worker, teacher, bus driver, or librarian, you will find valuable insights and information in this 90-minute course.

OCALI provides a variety of tools, technologies, resources, and supports that are changing lives in Ohio and across the globe. OCALI serves more than 200,000 customers in every country in the world.

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Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools: A Secondary Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection 2011–2012

By Lauren Morando Rhim, Jesse Gumz, and Kelly Henderson

The findings from a report released by the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (October, 2015) indicate a robust comparison between traditional public schools and charter schools. Information gathered by the U.S. Department of Education in its 2011-2012 civil rights data was analyzed to leverage data for the purpose of informing the ongoing dialogue related to access and provision of services to students with disabilities in the growing charter sector.

Enrollment What proportion of students enrolled in traditional and charter schools have a disability for which they receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504)?

  • On average, students who receive special education support and related services made up 10.42% of total enrollment in charter schools, whereas traditional public schools had 12.55% of their total enrollment made up by students who received special education services.
  • Students who qualify for Section 504 support made up 1.53% of all students at traditional public schools and 1.52% of all students in charter schools. There are four states in which the average enrollment percentage is higher by more than 1% in charter schools: ID, OH, MD, and VA.

Placement Where do students with disabilities spend their day?

Charter schools place relatively more students with disabilities in more inclusive settings (within regular education classrooms) than do traditional public schools. More specifically, charter schools place relatively more students with disabilities in high inclusion settings (i.e., 80% or more of the day in the regular education classroom) and relatively fewer students with disabilities in lower inclusion settings (i.e., 79% or less of the day in the regular education classroom).

  • 84% of students with disabilities in charter schools were in the general education classroom for 80% or more of the day compared to 67% of students with disabilities in traditional public schools.
  • 10% of students with disabilities in charter schools were in the regular education classroom between 40% and 79% of the day compared to 19% of students with disabilities in traditional public schools.
  • 4% of students with disabilities in charter schools were in the regular education classroom for 39% or less of the day, compared to 12% of students with disabilities in traditional public schools.

Suspension and Expulsion

What percentage of the student population has been suspended or expelled from school?

  • Charter schools suspend a greater proportion of students overall, but in terms of suspension rates for students with disabilities, charter schools and traditional public schools are similar.
  • A greater proportion of all students are suspended by charter schools than traditional public schools (7.40% vs. 6.88%).
  • In both charter and traditional schools, students with disabilities are suspended at a rate higher than the average suspension rate for all students (13.45% of students with disabilities vs. 7.40% of all students in charter schools and 13.40% of students with disabilities vs. 6.88% of all students in traditional public schools).
  • In both types of schools, approximately 13.4- 13.5% of the students with disabilities had been given at least one suspension.
  • Both charters and traditional public schools expel students with disabilities at a rate higher than students without disabilities, but charter schools expel students with disabilities at a slightly higher rate than traditional public schools.
  • In both charter and traditional schools, students with disabilities are expelled at a rate higher than the average expulsion rate for all students (0.55% of students with disabilities vs. 0.25% of all students in charter schools and 0.46% of students with disabilities vs. 0.23% of all students in traditional public schools).
  • Charter schools expel students with disabilities at a slightly higher rate than traditional public schools do (0.55% vs. 0.46%).

Specialized charter schools

How relevant are specialized charter schools (defined as charter schools with 25% or more enrollment by students with disabilities that self-identify as “special education schools” and/or schools that report that 50% or more of their students qualify for special education)? Such schools serve students across the entire disability spectrum. NCSECS verified the existence of 115 charter schools that focused primarily or entirely on students with disabilities. Of these 115, only 99 had enrollment data available within the CRDC.

  • About 57% of specialized charter schools served students with a variety of disabilities, as opposed to a single disability type, or a specific focus on two or more disabilities
  • There were 49 schools that specialized in a single disability category (e.g., Autism or Deaf-blindness).
  • Enrollment trends at specialized charter schools indicate much higher proportions of students with disabilities — 77% on average — compared to the national average of 12.4%. The average proportion of students with disabilities is lower in specialized charter schools than it is in specialized traditional public schools: 77% vs. 84%.

Discussion

The CRDC data confirm an ongoing enrollment gap of students with disabilities in charter schools relative to traditional public schools but when compared to prior research, appear to indicate that the gap is decreasing. For instance, the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) found that in 2008-2009, the percentage of students with disabilities enrolled in charter schools compared to traditional public schools was 7.7% to 11.3%, respectively. Based on data reported by the GAO in 2009-2010, 8.2% of all students enrolled at charter schools were students with disabilities, compared to 11.2% observed in traditional public schools. Our secondary analysis of 2011-2012 data found those proportions have changed to 10.42% and 12.55%, respectively. The gap in percentages has been dropping over time: 3.6%, 3%, and most recently 2.13%. There remains significant variation at the state level, and presumably also within states themselves.

Once students with disabilities enroll in charter schools, the CRDC confirms perceptions that charter schools are serving students in less restrictive settings (i.e., they spend a greater proportion of their day in the regular education classroom with their peers). However, these descriptive data do not shed light on whether charter schools are serving students with the same level of needs in different settings or if charter schools are serving students with different needs. Additional research examining enrollment trends by disability type is required to more thoroughly understand the implications of the service provision data.

The discipline data confirm that students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined in both types of schools but appear to challenge perceptions that charter schools discipline students with disabilities notably more than traditional district schools. Regardless of school type, the discipline data are disconcerting given the significant protections in place and the longterm negative impact of discipline on at-risk-students.

Finally, the data related to specialized charter schools, long a concern of special education advocates given implications for efforts to educate students in the least restrictive environment, confirm that these schools are a small niche of the broader charter sector but apparently less segregated (i.e., fewer schools are 100% students with disabilities) than similar schools in the traditional system.

In the aggregate, the data from the CRDC confirm that students with disabilities are enrolling in charter schools, but there appears to be evidence there is room to improve access. Moving forward, the goal should be to ensure that charter schools not only welcome students with disabilities in line with federal civil right statutes but that they also operate robust programs that enable all students to succeed, including students with a diverse array of disabilities.

Did You Know?

Florida, Ohio, and Texas are the three states with the highest number of specialized charter schools. It should be noted that in Ohio, the Summit Academy network in the state accounts for 27 of that state’s 34 specialized charter schools. In Ohio, the schools are focused on two or more disabilities (the Summit Academy network, which comprises the majority of Ohio’s specialized charter schools, mentions Autism and Specific Learning Disabilities in particular as areas of priority).

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Happy Holidays!

A warm wish to you for a wonderful hoilday season and hopeful New Year from all of us on the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council Outreach Committee!

Michael Schroeder, Chair
Neil Castilow
Doug Frank
Linda Kunick
Paula Rabidoux
Roxanne Richardson
Ilka Riddle
Mark Seifarth
Robert Shuemak
Marci Straughter
Kimberly Stults
Kenneth Latham, Staff
Carolyn Knight, Executive Director

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