DD Council Connection - November 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:

Governor appoints new members to Ohio DD Council

Governor Mike DeWine recently appointed six new members to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. The terms of the new members began November 12, 2021 and will end December 31, 2023.

The new appointees from across Ohio fill several open positions on the Council. They include:

  • JaVan Brown (Franklin County)
  • Molly Dible (Hancock County)
  •  Kari Dykes Jones (Franklin County)
  • Isabel Ganz (Hamilton County)
  • Monica McCain (Lucas County)
  • Timothy Newell (Clark County)

In addition, the Governor re-appointed Matthew Harrison (Darke County) and Rhonda Rich (Miami County) for another Council term.

“We are always pleased to welcome new members to the Ohio DD Council who bring new perspectives from their own experiences and from the communities they live in. Their input and work on Council will help us in our commitment of self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities throughout Ohio,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of the Ohio DD Council.

The Ohio DD Council is one of a national network of state councils, which are federally designated through the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. The Council has over 30 members of which 60 percent represent people with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities. The remaining members include representatives from state agencies, non-profit organizations and agencies providing services to people with developmental disabilities.

SAVE THE DATE for the 2022 DD Awareness & Advocacy Day!

Logo for the DD Awareness and Advocacy Day showing the Ohio StatehouseMark your calendars! The annual DD Awareness and Advocacy Day is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

People with disabilities and their family members are their own best advocates when it comes to educating members of the general public and policymakers. Advancements in public policy are due to advocacy by individuals with disabilities.

The DD Awareness and Advocacy Day is an organized event at the Ohio Statehouse for people with disabilities and family members and others. The event will be on the Internet for those who cannot attend in person. Speakers will be invited to talk about different disability issues. Everyone who comes to the Statehouse and wants to talk with their legislator will have a meeting scheduled for them. 

Registration will be announced at a later date. Meanwhile, YOU can help the planners of the event. Do you have thoughts on what should happen at next year's event? Topics to cover? Suggested speakers? Other ideas? Please take a quick survey to help planners as they prepare for the event. Fill out the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CV5D5X8. The survey will end on Friday, December 3, 2021.

Celebrate National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month. It is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. It offers an opportunity to raise awareness of caregiving issues, educate communities, and increase support for caregivers.

The Ohio DD Council commends family caregivers who are working hard to keep their loved ones safe at home and in the community. The latest article in our blog, DD Council Digest, talks about the history and purpose of this national observance and provides links to valuable resources for families.

Read our blog article on National Family Caregivers Month.

Barriers persist to get funding for technology

Michael Denlinger, chair of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (ODDC), recently found himself in a predicament many of us have experienced – his computer died. Often this is simply a work issue resolved by an IT department or a social inconvenience. For Denlinger, it was a major life fail.

Photo of Ohio DD Council Member Michael DenlingerDenlinger, who has cerebral palsy, relies on his computer for every bit of his daily communication with the outside world. With funds tight and the unavailability of a computer that could be adapted to his particular needs, Denlinger turned to the ODDC for help.

Council staff looked into available options, but were limited to loaning him a laptop that he could use during his tenure of being a Council member. And the laptop could only be used for Council business. “I always need my computer,” said Denlinger. “It helps me be a more effective Council member. If I can’t get assistance with this, what is it like for anyone else with disabilities? We need to do better for people with disabilities.”

While currently using a loaner computer from his sister, Denlinger turned to the Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services (HCDDS) for assistance. Ryan Braun, Director of Community Relations at HCDDS explained, “Unfortunately working to find the right technology and funding sources such as Medicaid is often frustratingly slow and complicated. But for many people without a Medicaid waiver, they don’t even have that option. That’s why we’re working locally to build a comprehensive plan on behalf of all people we serve. Michael’s early challenges are helping us to prepare for a better process moving forward.”

Focusing on the positive, Denlinger said, “If this was going to happen to anyone, it’s good that this happened to me so I can shed a light on the issue.” Denlinger’s main concern is needing a computer to help do his advocacy work for a young man he works with. “I talk with him daily via the computer and social media. Not having a computer makes it harder for me to help him.”

In the meantime, Denglinger will receive another loaner computer from the Assistive Technology of Ohio (AT Ohio) Device Library. According to Bill Darling, Director of AT Ohio, AT Ohio runs a library full of assistive technology devices made for people with disabilities. “The majority of the people who use our library do so as a way to learn about the different types of technologies that are on the market, so they can make an informed purchase. It is also perfectly acceptable to use the AT Ohio Device Library if you are in a situation where your technology is broken down and you need a device to "fill in" while your original device is being fixed,” said Darling. “Additionally, if you are ordering a device (or trying to get one approved on a waiver), you can check out that device from our library and use it while you wait for your new device to arrive. Our Library is often used for continuity of service purposes.” You can find out more about AT Ohio’ Device Library on their website at https://atohio.org/.

“Michael's experience has shown us first-hand that obstacles continue to exist for people with disabilities when it comes to getting technology devices,” said ODDC Executive Director Carolyn Knight. “Ohio is considered a Technology First state, but clearly there needs to be more work done to ensure that this becomes a seamless process. We at Council will continue to advocate on behalf of people like Michael who continue to have issues with getting the technology they need to live independent and productive lives.”

Logo for the Art & Soul Exhibit

Calling all artists! Submissions open for Art & Soul Exhibit

One of Ohio’s most compelling fine art exhibits; Art & Soul is a juried art exhibit celebrating the creativity and talent of Ohio artists with developmental disabilities, one of the few exhibits of its kind in Ohio.

The exhibit is seeking submissions from artists by December 20, 2021. Find out how to submit your entry and other information about the exhibit on the Art & Soul website. Judging will take place on January 6, 2022.

DODD waiver provider and ICF search tool

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) has released new provider search tools as a replacement and upgrade for the existing search tool currently available to Ohioans. The intention of this new search tool is that it is accurate, up-to-date, and easy for people to use.

The ability to easily export a customized list of providers, such as to a printed document, will simplify the search process for individuals, families, and county boards. It is available on the DataOhio website.

By using the “visualize” tab, Ohioans can search for home and community-based waiver service providers and intermediate care facility (ICF) providers. Users can enter their location information and then type of service that they are looking for and the search will bring back a map of providers meeting their requirements. Users will also be able to export a list out of the system. Data is sourced from DODD's provider and licensure systems.

For more information, visit the DataOhio website.