DD Council Connection - November 2018

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:

Transportation Equity: Working Together to Address Barriers

By Katherine Foley, Director, Services for Independent Living

Matthew Horwitz, Deputy Civil Chief, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of OhioMatthew Horwitz, Deputy Civil Chief, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio

Individuals with disabilities, their family members and service providers know first-hand that access to affordable, reliable, accessible and safe transportation is key to community inclusion. If you don’t drive, this means that you may not be able to keep a job, go to the doctor, shop for yourself, attend family functions or do any of the community things many people take for granted.

Addressing barriers to transportation is a community issue. Indeed, most stakeholders in the human services field, surveys and discussion groups have consistently identified lack of transportation options as a paramount issue to be addressed. It is clear that while people talk about transportation barriers in groups of like-minded individuals, they do not make any efforts to reach out to others who were also interested in transportation but held different perspectives. What they do not realize is that a transportation win for one group is a win for multiple groups.

Transportation issues on the system change level are best addressed collectively rather than individually. For example, if one part of the state increases the service area for accessible mainline transportation, that action not only helps a person who uses a wheelchair but also  benefits a senior who has difficulty navigating steps and a mother with a young child using a stroller.

Panel of people at the Transportation ForumRep. Doug Green; Ryan McManus, SHARE; Alyssa Chenault, Smart Columbus; Olivia Hook, ODOT speak during a panel session

With this in mind, an Ohio Transportation Equity Forum was held on October 23, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio.  The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council supported this work through a grant to Services for Independent Living. The Forum brought together public and private transportation providers; riders with disabilities and their family members; agencies serving the aging and disability populations; state government representatives; college students, legislators; systems change/policy advocates; and others to discuss promising programs, policy and strategies which will make the issue of transportation move forward in a positive direction in Ohio.

Kicking off the day was Matthew Horwitz, Deputy Civil Chief, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. He discussed transportation accessibility and barriers from the perspective of the U.S. Department of Justice. A key take-away from his presentation is that the U.S. Department of Justice rarely hears complaints from riders with disabilities.

Horwitz encourages people to contact the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, if they feel there is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint. The contact information is found at www.ada.gov or call 1-800-514-0301.

The Ohio Disability Transportation Coalition was the planning committee for this event.  The coalition meets quarterly to discuss strategies to increase transportation options for persons with disabilities.  For more information on the coalition, contact Kathy Foley at kfoley@sil-oh.org or 216-731-1529.

Self-Advocates Fellowship Opens

Logo of SARTAC and the words Self Advocacy and BeyondThe Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) is offering paid fellowships for self-advocates with developmental disabilities. The SARTAC Fellowship program is a year-long opportunity for self-advocates to develop and grow their skills as leaders in the self-advocacy movement.

Fellows will work about six hours each week with a supporting host organization on policy issues or a project that can help develop their leadership skills. They will receive $5,000 to complete their projects. Six people will be chosen to be fellows. This opportunity is open to people with developmental disabilities across the United States.

To apply, complete the online form by December 20, 2018, 8 PM (EST).

For more information about the fellowship program, visit http://selfadvocacyinfo.org/fellows/.

DD Council’s AT Grants Support Ohio’s Tech First Initiative

The Ohio DD Council released two reports with recommendations to help increase awareness of and access to assistive technology for Ohioans with disabilities. The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), with funding from the Ohio DD Council, used its expertise and resources through OCALI’s Assistive Technology & Accessible Educational Materials Center (AT & AEM) to conduct the work on the grants that provided the information for the reports.

Covers of the reports from OCALIAssessing Ohio’s County Boards of Developmental Disabilities

OCALI’s charge for this project was to find best practices and solutions when providing support for assistive technology within Ohio’s county boards of developmental disabilities system. The intent was to identify barriers and find ways to improve the identification, assessment, funding and ongoing training processes of the county board system when providing assistive technology supports to people with developmental disabilities.

OCALI surveyed all 88 county boards on how each currently provides assistive technology supports, and then interviewed five select county boards to assess what each saw as barriers and supports for their ability to provide assistive technology. OCALI assessed the data collected and made recommendations for changes in assistive technology policies. Read the final report here: Assessing Assistive Technology Service Delivery in the Ohio County Board of Developmental Disabilities System

Surveying Ohio’s Assistive Technology Lending Programs

In its second project, OCALI identified assistive technology lending programs throughout Ohio. The purpose of the project was to gather the information and then develop a comprehensive list of assistive technology lending programs/libraries, including details about the services each provides. OCALI’s final report provided a list of the programs in many different formats, including an online interactive map. The report also provided recommendations on how to publicize this information to make it easier for Ohioans with developmental disabilities explore assistive technology options. Read the final report here: Identification of Assistive Technology Lending Programs in Ohio

Ohio’s Technology First Initiative

The reports and findings by OCALI were reported to the newly established Ohio Technology First Council. The Technology First Council was created under an executive order signed by Gov. John Kasich in May 2018. Under the executive order, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) is charged with working through the Technology First Council and with county boards of developmental disabilities to ensure technology is considered as part of all service and support plans for people with developmental disabilities.

Ohio's Technology First Council began meeting in the summer of 2018 and will complete its work in December 2018. At that time, it will make recommendations to develop state policy encouraging the use of supportive technology and will identify best practices, effective partnerships and additional options needed to assist people in gaining access to technology.

In addition, a new Assistive Technology rule from DODD will become effective in early 2019 that will require county boards to cover the cost and maintenance of equipment used for remote supports and assistive technology service delivery.

Carolyn Knight, Ohio DD Council’s executive director, is a member of the Technology First Council. As the Ohio DD Council moves forward with funding new technology-related grants, it will continue to work collaboratively with the Technology First Council and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to support the improvement of assistive technology services to Ohioans with developmental disabilities.

You can learn more about the Ohio Technology First Council, and other DODD technology initiatives here: http://dodd.ohio.gov/IndividualFamilies/Pages/TechnologyFirst.aspx

Council Member Spotlight: Brandon White

Being a member of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council not only helps Council to achieve its goals, but also helps Council members learn how to be stronger advocates and to stay informed about issues that affect people with developmental disabilities. Our current and former Council members are strong advocates in the community, and we always like to share what they are doing in their own community to advocate for people with developmental disabilities.

This month, we would like to introduce you to Brandon White. Click on the video below to hear what Brandon has to say about being a Council member.

For more videos and articles about our members, visit the Council Members in Action page.

Grantee Gathering Brings Together DD Council Initiatives

Picture of Dr. Hicks at DD Council's Grantee GatheringOn October 31, 2018, the Ohio DD Council hosted a Grantee Gathering in Columbus, bringing together organizations that partner with the DD Council to advance its mission for people with developmental disabilities in Ohio.

The meeting began with introductions where each grantee took five minutes to talk about their project. Of the many that attended, several presented a more detailed summary of their work, bringing a comprehensive understanding to the many initiatives that the Ohio DD Council funds across the State.

Picture of a presenter for Transportation Equity at the Grantee GatheringKatherine Foley spoke about her work on transportation equity, and Dr. Patricia Larkins-Hicks shared the insight her team has received from publishing the ReachOut e-Diversity Newsletter as a part of Council’s outreach efforts to the unserved and underserved populations.

Additionally, Dana Charlton spoke about the work being done by self-advocates through the grant, Empowering Self-Advocates.

In their work to identify and reach out to 50 African American women with disabilities in Ohio, Cassandra Archie shared about the Triple Jeopardy Project that supports women to participate in network activities to collectively inform policy, identify barriers to supports and services and demand action.

Staff from Council were on hand to answer questions and provide information about Council's grantee requirements, such as doing outreach to the unserved and underserved and conducting consumer satisfaction surveys. Grantees also learned about Council's annual external evaluations of projects. 

The attendees were given time to network with each other, staff, and Council's members. You can learn more about projects funded by the Ohio DD Council on our Current Projects page.