DD Council Connection - March 2020

logo of dd council connection newsletter bannerDD 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 event calendar submissions with us at DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov.

This month's articles include:

COVID-19 Pandemic: How are you doing?

The past few weeks have certainly been a whirlwind of change and uncertainty due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). Governor DeWine’s daily updates have all been filled with new information and many changes. With all this in mind, we at the Ohio DD Council wanted to share information with you as to how Council is continuing to operate and to provide you with a few resources that are specific to people with developmental disabilities.

Currently, Ohio DD Council staff are teleworking from home. We are checking email and voicemail regularly on weekdays, and continue to work on projects, grants and other tasks just as if we were at the office. If you need to reach us, send an email to DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov or call our main line at 614-466-5205 and 800-766-7426. If you need to contact a specific staff person, refer to our Staff and Contact Information page. 

More importantly, how are you doing? Are you having any issues with your supports or services since this crisis began? Do you have stories to share about what’s happening in your community, both good and not-so-good? Let us know by sending an email to DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov or calling our main line at 614-466-5205 and 800-766-7426. We are available to support you as much as possible. We wish you safety and good health. Coronavirus Information from the Ohio Department of Health

COVID-19 Resources

The following are some helpful resources for you about COVID-19. You can also find this information on our website here: COVID-19: Resources for People with Developmental Disabilities. Our website will be updated with new information and resources as they become available.

Ohio Department of Health: This is the primary source of information about COVID-19. Visit their website at http://coronavirus.ohio.gov/ or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

DODD COVID-19 Resources and Support: Information from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities DODD with communications and links to helpful resources that will advise people with disabilities, their families, service providers, direct support professionals, county boards of developmental disabilities, and the community at large.

Plain Language Information about COVID-19: This online booklet provides easy-to-understand information for people with developmental disabilities about the virus, including prevention tips and answers to common questions. It is available in English and Spanish. The Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) partnered with the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council and the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities to create this booklet.

Plain Language Video: The Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services created a three-minute video that provides information in plain language for people with disabilities about staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Mental Health Resources

Times of crisis can be hard on everyone. If you are concerned about your own mental health or a family member's mental health, reach out for help. Here are some mental health assistance resources:

Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services: The Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (ODMHAS) has information on their website on how to find support, including the use of telehealth services from your phone, tablet or computer.

Ohio Crisis Text Line: To use this, text the word "4HOPE" to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor within 5 minutes. This service is available 24/7. 

OhioMHAS Help Line: Call 1-877-275-6364. This line is available  from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday.

Rep. Erica Crawley Visits Ohio DD Council

Representative Erica Crawley (D - 26th District) visited the Ohio DD Council at its March council meeting on Thursday, March 5, 2020 in Worthington. A freshman, or first time lawmaker, Crawley was elected into the state legislature in the 2018 midterm elections.

“I thought that I had lived an experience that gave me a different perspective on policies, and I could possibly fill a void that was in the legislature,” said Crawley, the lawyer and veteran, on her decision to run when Heather Bishop resigned from the Ohio Statehouse.

Crawley spoke before Council members at the March Five-Year Planning Meeting. She began by talking about the challenges she faced while growing up and how they shaped her into the leader she is now. As she continues her work in the state legislature, she aims to expand her work with the disability community across her district and Ohio. She has been involved with the Franklin CGroup picture of Council members with Rep. Erica Crawleyounty Board on Developmental Disabilities, and then one of her constituents, Eric Duffy, invited her to a chapter meeting for the National Federation of the Blind.

“I was hearing stories about parents who were experiencing having their children taken away out of their custody or taken because they weren't even able to bring their baby home because somebody made the determination that they weren't a fit parent due to their blindness,” recalls Crawley. Through her research she found that other states were looking at or implementing the same legislation.

“We saw the same things happen with people who are quadriplegic, who might have been in a car accident, as a fit parent prior to their accident but then something happened. And they met with a disability and then had their rights challenged and have had children taken away. Even people who have developmental disabilities or have IQ challenges have had their rights challenged just because of something that is no fault of their own,” she said.

Crawley’s mission is also to always be in touch with her constituents, or as she calls them, her neighbors. She reminded DD Council members that it's important for people to be involved in government — to have their voice be heard.

“I was elected by a group of individuals who sent me to the Statehouse, and I like to believe in their best interest. I don't know what their interests are if they don't tell me. This piece of legislation came to my attention because someone in my district has seen other people be impacted. And so, this is his legislation. We do it together. And if there's nobody knocking on the doors of my colleagues, then my colleagues don't necessarily take me seriously or they don't see it as a real problem,” said Crawley.

Council in The Community: Rochelle Hall-Rollins

Pictures of participants of the panel discussionOhio DD Council member Rochelle Hall-Rollins recently participated as a panelist on the “Change Makers Forum” panel discussion. This was a part of the Ohio Statewide Founders Day celebration activities hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Akron Alumnae Chapter.

A primary goal of the organization is to encourage social actions in communities across the nation. For the panel discussion, the planning committee wanted to make women across the state of Ohio aware of how important it is to get involved and commit to elected political and appointed governor positions.

Hall-Rollins was chosen for the panel because of her appointment to Council by former Governor Kasich. She spoke on how important it is to be at the table and not just in the room to help make a difference to help people who might not ever get services that one rightfully deserves.

Learn more about Rochelle by watching a video of her as she talks about the importance of being a member of the Ohio DD Council.

Thank You for Responding to our Five Year Plan Survey!

Logo of Five Year State Plan for the Ohio DD Council

Members of the Ohio DD Council and Staff wish to thank everyone who completed the Ohio DD Council's Five Year State Plan survey that was released in September 2019! Over a period of four months, the Council received responses from  more than 1,500 Ohioans with disabilities, families, professionals and other stakeholders from 84 counties about what issues matter to them.
This feedback is integral to the Council as it begins to put together its state plan.

“We are thankful that people took the time to complete this survey and shared what is important to them,” said Paul Jarvis, liaison officer for the Council. “The information from the survey  will allow the Council to plan grants and projects based on the issues that survey participants identified.” 

According to survey responses, Ohioans with disabilities are focused on transportation, getting trained service providers, and employment. Other important issues included increasing the availability of home and community based services and housing.

Self-advocates, family members and professionals also weighed in on the, “Three biggest needs for families being able to assist their family member with a disability.” Priorities identified for families included: understanding how to get services; increasing the availability of community-based services; and having assistance with daily caregiving. 

“No other Council in the country has done a survey as extensive as ours,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director. “We will be pulling valuable information out of these responses for years to come.”

The Council will be using the survey results to develop a 5-Year-Plan on Developmental Disabilities by December of 2020 and will begin accepting public input on the plan in early 2021.

The Council will be announcing complete survey results later this year.

STABLE Account Seeks Ambassadors

Picture of young girl and the words STABLE AccountThe STABLE Program provides savings and investment opportunities to individuals with disabilities without risk of losing means-tested benefits. This includes benefits such as SSI and Medicaid.

The STABLE account is now seeking individuals who want to be STABLE Account Ambassadors! An ambassador would work in their city, county, or region to help spread the word on STABLE Accounts. The work can be done at the Ambassador’s time and pace.

To learn more, send an email to Nicholas.Hancart@tos.ohio.gov.