DD Council Connection - March 2021

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:

Council Celebrates DD Awareness Month

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. It’s a month to celebrate, educate and inform people about developmental disabilities. During March, the Ohio DD Council took the opportunity to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, the Developmental Disabilities Awareness and Advocacy Day event occurred virtually. This annual event is funded by a grant from the Ohio DD Council to the Ohio Provider Resource Association. 

More than 700 participants tuned in to hear from DODD Director Jeff Davis, Ohio Tech Ambassadors, and keynote speaker Dr. Kara Ayers from the University of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Governor Mike DeWine opened the virtual ceremony with a welcome video. Additionally, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague provided recorded comments recognizing DD Awareness Month. The event was once again masterfully led by Shari Cooper. More than 100 virtual legislative meetings took place following the opening ceremonies. Check out the DD Awareness & Advocacy Facebook page to view the live video from the event. 

Season 2 of Ohio DD Talks, a monthly podcast from the Ohio DD Council, launched this month. In the spirit of DD Awareness month, the episode talks about the importance of the advocacy work done by and for Ohioans with DD. With self-advocates Shari Cooper and Nathan Turner, the episode explores what advocacy actually means and how someone can get started. Check out the episode here: What Does Advocacy Really Mean? 

And remember, we want to hear your stories for Ohio DD Talks. Take some time to fill out our submission form and you might be featured on an episode!

Be a Changemaker - Join the Ohio DD Council!

Want to make a difference for Ohio's disability community? Join the Ohio DD Council! The Ohio DD Council is recruiting new membership for the following categories:

  • Individual with a developmental disability,
  • Parent or guardian of a child with a developmental disability, and
  • An immediate relative or guardian of an institutionalized or previously institutionalized individual with a developmental disability or an individual with a developmental disability who resides or previously resided in an institution.

Deadline to apply is April 18, 2021. If you are interested in becoming a member, go to our website to the New Member Application page for more information and to find out how to apply.

Ohio Employment First Announces 2021 Transformation Series

Ohio Employment First’s Provider Transformation Summit is changing in 2021 to the Provider Transformation Series – a collection of resources and online events that assist providers, county boards, families, individuals, and others to think about and move from facility to community-minded supports.  

The 2021 Provider Transformation Series will allow people to participate based on their individual and organizational needs. It provides an opportunity for stakeholders to gather and share ideas, strategies and practices that will assist them as they move through the systems change process and help improve person-centered planning, community membership, and employment opportunities for individuals across Ohio.

The 2021 series features two great offerings:Employment First logo

For more information on the Transformation Series, visit Ohio Employment First’s website.

FCC Launches Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Announcement from the Administration for Community Living

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.Logo for the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

A household is eligible if one member of the household:

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline program;
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers' existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

The program has been authorized by the FCC, but the start date has not yet been established. The FCC is working to make the benefit available as quickly as possible. Please continue to check the program webpage for updates.

DODD to Hold Town Hall Meetings on Level 1 and SELF Waiver Programs

Attention people with developmental disabilities, families and guardians! The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) is partnering with advocacy and family organizations to host town hall opportunities to provide feedback about improving and simplifying the Level 1 and SELF waivers. 

Meetings will be held throughout April. Dates, time and registration information can be found in the Virtual Town hall section of the DODD Waiver Simplification and Improvement webpage. 

In addition, the Waiver Simplification and Improvement Feedback Survey is still available as another option for people with disabilities and their families to provide feedback.