DD Council Connection - January 2019

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:


Recommendations Aim to Expand Access to Supportive Technology

In January, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) released the Ohio Technology First Council's final report, "Looking Toward the Future." The report provides state policy recommendations to encourage people with developmental disabilities to use and access assistive/supportive technology to live independently and safely in the community.

The Technology First Council met monthly from July - December 2018, with the goal of finding ways to encourage the use of supportive technology and how to identify best practices, effective partnerships and additional options for people to gain access to technology. The final report provides nine benchmarks including recommended strategies to achieve each benchmark.Cover of the Technology First Recommendations report

One of the benchmarks recommends increasing that all 88 counties will increase the number of people with developmental disabilities accessing remote support and/or assistive technology through the Individual Options, Level One and Self-Empowered Life Funding waivers. A recommended strategy for this benchmark is for, “DODD, the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (emphasis added), Nisonger Center, and the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) [to] promote the use of Ohio technology lending libraries.”

With this recommended strategy in mind, and as the Ohio DD Council moves forward with funding new technology-related grants, DD Council will continue to work collaboratively with the Technology First Initiative, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and other agencies and organizations to support the improvement of assistive technology services to Ohioans with developmental disabilities.

Links to more information:


Nisonger Receives Funding from DD Council for Remote Support Grants

Logo of The Ohio State University Nisonger CenterThe Ohio DD Council awarded a $100,000 grant to The Ohio State University Nisonger Center to increase the recipients of Nisonger's 2018 Remote Support Grant. With Council's funding, five additional Ohio county boards of developmental disabilities and Councils of Governments (COGs) were awarded $20,000 each to expand the use of remote support in their counties. The five projects, which began work in January 2019, are:

  • Ashland County Board of DD, in collaboration with Wayne County Board of DD
  • Knox County Board of DD, in collaboration with Coshocton County Board of DD
  • Medina County Board of DD
  • Richland County Board of DD*
  • Southern Ohio COG, in collaboration with Fayette, Highland, Jackson, Pickaway, and Ross county boards of DD

* Read an article from The Bellville Star about the Richland County Board of DD and their plans for the grant award at https://www.thebellvillestar.com/news/18112/richland-newhope-grant-will-support-remote-workers.

According to Jordan Wagner, Coordinator of the Technology Project at the Nisonger Center, "The ongoing workforce crisis often leaves county boards of developmental disabilities and providers without sufficient staff to fill vacant positions. Ohio is now a Technology First state and the grants offer to advance this mandate by harnessing the benefits of technology to mitigate the workforce crisis and promote independence among individuals with developmental disabilities."

In September, the Nisonger Center, in collaboration with and funding support from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), awarded eight $20,000 grants to the following counties:

  • Clearwater COG, in collaboration with Crawford, Erie, Hancock, Huron, Marion, Morrow, Ottowa, Seneca, and Wyandot county boards of DD
  • Fairfield County Board of DD, in collaboration with Licking and Perry county boards of DD
  • Franklin County Board of DD
  • Mid-East Ohio Regional Council COG, in collaboration with Belmont, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, and Noble county boards of DD
  • Portage County Board of DD
  • Southwestern Ohio COG, in collaboration with Butler, Clermont, and Hamilton County Boards of DD
  • West Central Ohio Network COG, in collaboration with Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Hardin, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Preble, Shelby, and Union county boards of DD
  • Wood County Board of DD

With the addition of Council's funding, 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties will use this funding to improve and expand the use of remote support for Ohioans with developmental disabilities. The Ohio DD Council is pleased to be able to support Nisonger and DODD's efforts to increase remote support throughout the state of Ohio. Results of this project will be available in the summer of 2019.


New Year, New Council Members!

Picture of new DD Council member Pamela GreenPamela Green (pictured to the right), CEO of Easterseals serving greater Cincinnati (Easterseals GC), was appointed to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council by former Governor John Kasich before his tenure ended earlier this month.

Green joins the Council as an agency leader of a private, non-profit organization that works on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities. Employment and economic opportunities have always been a passion for Green. She started her career leading temporary employment services, and her employment journey brought her to work for Easterseals GC.

“I came to Easterseals because of its mission of connecting individuals to employment,” said Green, who has been with the organization since 2003. “Through my work, I became an advocate and have been proud to make positive changes for community employment for people with disabilities.” She was appointed CEO in 2011.

In her role, she managed 14 different Project SEARCH sites. Project SEARCH is a nationwide high school transition program that prepares students with disabilities to be gainfully employed after high school through competitive internships.

Her work also sought to transition three sheltered workshops to more community-integrated models. She opened a social enterprise which hired the individuals who previously participated in the sheltered workshop program, as well as participants from other Easterseals programs serving veterans and low income families. The enterprise focuses on assembling specimen collection kits for clinical trials across North America.

Another integrated program is Work and Grow, which allows individuals with disabilities to work for competitive wages, and then move into community employment.

And now, as an Ohio DD Council member, she hopes to bring more attention to employment.

“Easterseals serves people with disabilities and those affected by poverty,” said Green. “And the Council is such a unique and important avenue that I hope to be able to bring attention to the intersection of disability and poverty.”

Green was appointed November 16, 2018 to the Ohio DD Council, and will serve a three-year term.

“We welcome Pamela with her extensive knowledge of the needs and abilities of those with disabilities,” said Ohio DD Council Chairperson Joanna Spargo. “Her professional experience as well as her strong advocacy for people with developmental disabilities is invaluable as the Council continues to foster full community inclusion of those with developmental disabilities in Ohio.”

Other Member Appointments and Reappointments

In addition, on December 18, 2018, Gov. Kasich made the following additional appointments and reappointments:

Rachel A. Rice of Franklin (Warren Co.) was appointed to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for a term beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2021. More information about Rachel will be available in the February newsletter.

Blaine P. O’Leary of Sidney (Shelby Co.) and Dara D. Walburn of Athens (Athens Co.) have been reappointed to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for terms beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2021.

Are you interested in applying to become a member of the Ohio DD Council?


Sheryl Mattney Discusses the Importance of Diversity through Outreach

Sheryl Mattney, the technical assistance director of the National Association of Council on Developmental Disabilities, visited the Ohio DD Council in December to discuss the history and role of the national DD Council network, and the Council members' responsibilities during their tenure. She focused on the importance and responsibility of Council to conduct outreach activities to the unserved and underserved groups within the developmental disabilities population. The unserved and underserved includes, but is not limited to, populations from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, disadvantaged individuals with limited English proficiency, individuals from underserved geographic areas (rural or Urban), and specific groups of individuals within the population of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Sheryl talks about the importance of Council’s work including diversity through outreach activities in a video taken at the December meeting. She stresses how diversity enhances Council’s mission to make the state more inclusive for people with developmental disabilities by not only having a diverse group of members, but also by seeking diverse organizations to apply for grants.

See Ohio DD Council’s Outreach section for more information.

Watch Sheryl's video on DD Council's YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR43ZH2-0sg or click on the video below.