DD Council Connection - December 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:


Thank you, Director Martin!

Picture of Jo Spargo, John Martin, and Carolyn Knight2019 is almost here, and with it, many new changes in the State of Ohio. We will welcome a new Governor and a new administration. And with that, a new Director at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD).

Director John Martin visited the Ohio DD Council at its last meeting of 2018 as he wraps up a successful, decades-long tenure working on behalf of Ohioans with disabilities.

In his visit, he commended the work of Council members and recounted all that DODD has been able to accomplish for people with disabilities.

Some notables included:

  • 1,000 people moved out of ICFs (intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities) and into community settings
  • 24,000+ people received services through Medicaid Waivers
  • 3,000+ people with developmental disabilities are now working
  • Ohio became the first “Technology First” state in the country

We thank Director John Martin for his tireless work on behalf of individuals with disabilities in Ohio and wish him well on his retirement.


Mark Seifarth Receives Synergy Award

Picture of Mark Seifarth receiving the Synergy Award from Dana Charlton.Mark Seifarth, former Ohio DD Council Chairperson, was in for more than he bargained for while presenting as part of a panel of speakers during DD Council’s December meeting. Much to his surprise, Dana Charlton, executive director of the Ohio Self Determination Association (OSDA) showed up at the end of the panel discussion to present Mark with this year’s Synergy Award. Those considered for the award are people or organizations who demonstrate a strong commitment to collaboration across systems and stakeholders.

“[Mark Seifarth] is someone who champions inclusion, and we are honored to present this award to Mark for his work for the disability community,” said Charlton.

Carolyn Knight, Ohio DD Council’s executive director said, “I’ve known Mark for many years and have seen the incredible work he has done advocating for the rights of people with developmental disabilities. Mark served on our Council for two terms and is our immediate-past chairperson. His leadership in that capacity helped to empower our members and further Council’s goals.”

Steve Oster, representing PAR, and Dana Charlton, representing OSDA decide and present the Synergy Award which is named after an annual conference, called the Synergy Conference. This conference is “a single conference recognizing that the power of one is multiplicative when people and organizations partner together to promote a common interest,” said Charlton. For more information about the Synergy Conference, go to https://www.synergyohio.org/.

Congratulations, Mark!


Governor Kasich Announces Council Member Appointments

Governor John Kasich has appointed new members to the Ohio DD Council who will serve on the Council in various roles that support individuals with developmental disabilities in Ohio. 

New Members:

Pamela Green, CEO, Easter Seals Cincinnati, private nonprofit organization which serves persons with a developmental disability, Hamilton County

Rachel A. Rice, self advocate, Warren County

Re-appointed Members:

Blaine P. O’Leary, self advocate, Shelby County

Dara D. Walburn, self advocate, Athens County

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit our New Member Application section for more information.


Take a Virtual Tour of AT Ohio’s Lending Library

Picture of people attending the AT Ohio office in the assistive technology devices room.Did you miss the Grand Re-Opening of Assistive Technology of Ohio's (AT Ohio) office? Do you want to see what AT Ohio has to offer? Now you can sign up for a “Telepresence Tour” of AT Ohio! They have telepresence robots at their office and would love to show you around.

AT Ohio will take you on a quick tour of their library and demonstration areas as you control the robot from your iPad, smartphone, computer or other tablet. See the latest in assistive technology – without leaving your home or office!

For more information or to set up a time for a virtual tour, contact Bill Darling at darling.12osu.edu or 614-292-7721.


Happy Holidays from Ohio DD Council!

From all of us at the Ohio DD Council, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Graphic of holiday decorations and the words Happy Holidays from all of us at the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council