DD Council Connection - March 2022

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:


Grantee Highlight: Building Capacity for Assistive Technology Service Delivery in Ohio

Technology is a part of nearly everyone’s life. For people with developmental disabilities, technology can be a game-changer in how they can live more independently and be a part of their community. A grant project funded by the Ohio DD Council, Building Capacity of Assistive Technology Ohio, went to the next level of how to improve services provided by county boards of developmental disabilities to assist individuals to explore and discover technology that may help them in their daily activities. The grantee for this project was the AT & AEM Center powered by OCALI. 

The goal of this project was to build the capacity of Service Support Administrators (SSAs) and other county board of developmental disabilities personnel to assess and implement assistive technology (AT) services and supports so that more Ohioans with developmental disabilities will learn about and get AT to assists them in leading more independent and self-determined lives.

OACLI ATIM Assistive Technology Internet Modules Free, Online Professional DevelopmentThis project built upon work done on a prior project by the AT & AEM Center that assessed all county boards on their awareness and ability to provide AT assessments. The current project did a follow-up survey to the county boards about their training needs. Focus groups were them held to gather information on current situations and problems to address. 

Once the information was compiled, the AT & AEM Center offered training to work on key items including how the AT system works, how to determine needs and what is offered beyond support modifications for equipment. Nearly 50 people attended trainings. In addition, four new Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM) were developed, offering case studies, instruction videos, glossaries and more for persons with disabilities. These modules are also used by educators, families and other professionals. In addition, several current modules that are focused on students were revised to include adults with disabilities. These free ATIM modules are found on the ATIM website

The project also provided a way for SSAs to become certified assistive technology professionals (ATPs) through RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America). This is a national standard of job-based knowledge and experience.

“It was great to have the support of all the county boards. We need to raise awareness of assistive technology and remote support. There are lots of opportunities now,” said Jan Rogers, Program Director of the AT & AEM Center at OCALI.

Through the grant’s activities, several SSAs were certified by RESNA and a core group of SSAs from the training were identified as having the leadership skills to be AT resource experts for other county boards of developmental disabilities.

"Council is extremely pleased with OCALI’s commitment to ensure the success of this project. Many SSAs are now committed to continuing to learn and to reach out to other SSAs throughout the state after the grant ends, with support from OCALI. Most importantly, people with disabilities and families are benefiting from this project because SSAs are now better equipped to assist individuals to live more independently within their communities by the use of assistive technology," said Kim Shoaf, Ohio DD Council, who provided oversight of the grant.


Be The Change logo looks like a globe with different colors and different icons of daily live activities with an icon of the state of Ohio in the middleDid you attend the DD Advocacy & Awareness Day? Take a survey!

If you attended DD Advocacy & Awareness Day, please take a survey about the event. If you were unable to participate, you can still watch the program online at the event’s Facebook Page or the Ohio Channel

And remember - Be The Change!


Council Member Shares DD Council’s Projects with Community

Ohio DD Council member, Matt Harrison, was one of the guest speakers at “A Night in Hollywood,” a social event organized by the Supply Chain Management class at Greenville High School. 

Now in its seventh year, the event celebrates the class’ success in donating 5,500 volunteer hours and $10,000 for Special Olympics Ohio. Harrison took the opportunity at the event to talk about the Ohio DD Council’s projects and invited those in attendance to share their thoughts on improving Darke County’s work with and for people with disabilities.

Harrison is in his second term with the DD Council and represents Darke County. You can read more about the event from the Daily Advocate Early Bird News.


Share Your Thoughts

The Ohio Advocacy Taskforce is gathering information on what people in Ohio think about the state of advocacy. Please take their survey to help shape advocacy efforts, and provide a better understanding of the needs in each community and across the state.  The deadline to take the survey is March 31, 2022. Take the Ohio Advocacy Taskforce Survey

The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) is also conducting a survey to better understand what matters most to older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, and their families and caregivers. The Ohio State Plan on Aging Needs Assessment survey will guide ODA as they plan for future programs and services for Ohioans. Take the Ohio Department of Aging Survey


Logo of a hand and a house with the words Smart Home Discovery PlaceSmart Home Discovery Place: Tour Technology Solutions

“Try it before you buy it” is the great opportunity offered at the Smart Home Discovery Place (SHDP) at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center. The goal of the SHDP is to increase the awareness and understanding about smart home technologies and other related resources for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD), their family members as well as providers who support them. These technologies may be a viable solution for people with I/DD’s everyday support needs and may help them to live with greater independence.

Transformed into a mock-home environment, this one-bedroom apartment space, complete with furnishings and appliances, provides a unique opportunity to explore and discover the benefits offered by cutting-edge and innovative technologies and how these technologies can enhance one’s independence, self-determination, and overall quality of life.

Located on The Ohio State University’s campus, the SHDP is open for free tours either in-person or virtually in two formats:

  • Tailored tours offer personalized insights into ways that technology options may support someone to do more on their own and need less help from others.
  • Group tours provide an overview of technology options. In this tour, technology solution demonstrations show how they might support people with developmental disabilities to cook, complete complicated tasks independently, use sensors in the home to promote safety and accountability from members of their support team, etc.

You can schedule a tour online.

The SHDP is a collaborative project between the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and The Ohio State University Nisonger Center.


Employment First 10 Year Anniversary logoCelebrating 10 Years of Employment First in Ohio

The Employment First Initiative began in 2012 with a goal to promote employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities who want to enter the workforce. This March marks the 10th anniversary of this initiative. The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) has been sharing success stories throughout the month to show how far Ohio has come and is dedicated to continuing to make improvements for meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities. DODD Director Hauck shared this message to celebrate the Employment First Initiative.