DD Council Connection - October 2017

logo of dd council connection newsletter bannerWelcome to the October 2017 edition of the DD Council Connection newsletter!

DD Council Connection is a way for the Ohio DD Council to introduce to you our amazing Council members, grantees, staff and entire statewide community of self-advocates and others who work tirelessly on behalf of people with disabilities and their families. We hope you enjoy this e-newsletter. Please share your thoughts, story ideas and calendar submissions with us at DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov.

This month's articles include:

Ohio DD Council Recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council) recognizes October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an annual awareness campaign that educates the general public about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

As an Employment First state, Ohio believes community employment should be the first option for all working age adults and transition-age youth with developmental disabilities. Ohio’s Employment First is a “philosophy of service that presumes that all Ohioans with significant disabilities can and should have opportunities to work in the community.”

“Ohio DD Council is proud to recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Carolyn Knight, executive director. "We want to spread the important message that people with disabilities bring fresh perspectives and notable contributions to the workplace.”

To support employment, Ohio DD Council has awarded three separate employment grants to demonstrate new employment supports and services; increase employer engagement; and expand the implementation of evidence-based practices in schools leading to an increase in job outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. These initiatives are a part of Ohio DD Council’s Five-Year Plan.

"Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs," said US Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. "Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation."

The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

For more information

To learn about the Ohio Employment First Taskforce Common Principles, visit www.ohioemploymentfirst.org.

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in NDEAM and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/ndeam.

Council Member Spotlight: Linda Kunick

After she made it a goal to be appointed to the Ohio DD Council, Linda Kunick is completing six years of service. She found her voice to advocate for people with developmental disabilities by finding the power within herself – a message she takes to all the advocates she meets. Meet Dara by clicking on the video below:

Want to apply to become a member?

If you are interested in applying for appointment to the Ohio DD Council, visit ddc.ohio.gov/Council-Members/New-Member-Application.

Grantee Spotlight: Sustaining & Expanding Accessible and Affordable Transportation for People with Disabilities Anytime

As a part of its Community Living goal in the Five Year Plan, Ohio DD Council awarded Hocking, Athens, Perry Community Action Program a grant that will provide people with disabilities and their families increased access to services and supports that promote: leadership, accessibility, respect, safety, independence, outreach, equality, inclusion, health, work opportunities and community.

By year two of the project, there will be accessible and affordable transportation services for people with disabilities whenever needed/wanted, regardless of time of day, and if accessible and affordable transportation isn’t available it will be created or expanded.

As the demand for public transit increases and budgets shrink, the Ohio Department of Transportation has developed a strategy to bring the most efficient and cost-effective improvements to transit riders and taxpayers alike.

Travel trends show that there is a definite rise in the need for convenient, affordable public transportation to jobs, medical appointments, shopping and recreational activities. Our transit agencies are struggling to fund these existing services, let alone meet the increased demand.

Through the grant, the Council will seek the following short-term outcomes: (Initial changes in participants’ knowledge, attitudes and skills. These are necessary steps toward the ultimate outcome.)

  • Increased number of people accessing transportation information.
  • Increased information provided to key policy makers/legislators regarding transportation issues.

Additionally, the following long-term outcomes will seek desired changes or improvements in targeted behaviors and/or system performance:

  • By December 2018, there will be regional or statewide accessible and affordable transportation service.
  • By December 2018, 800 more individuals with disabilities will have access to affordable and accessible transportation.
What else is the Ohio DD Council funding? 

See a complete list of current projects at http://ddc.ohio.gov/Grants/Current-Projects.

Ohio DD Council and DODD host Ohio Family Town Hall on Technology

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council) hosted the Ohio Family Town Hall on Technology on Oct. 20 at the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The forum allowed for people with developmental disabilities and their families to discuss their personal experiences using technology to promote independence, while connecting people with information about assistive technology and remote support services.

“This was an opportunity to hear from the public about what is going well with technological services, what could be improved, and what services need increased access,” said Kyle Corbin, service development manager for the Ohio Technology Project.

During the open forum section of the event, attendees shared:

  • how technology has improved their lives or the lives of family members
  • what types of changes might be beneficial in technology services
  • any issues with access

The objective of the forum was to allow DODD and the DD Council make informed decisions about the direction of technology services, and providing the community what it wants and needs.

DODD Director John Martin also discussed the department’s efforts to expand technology across the State. Participants also heard updates on the latest in assistive technology and remote support services, also known as remote monitoring. Ohio DD Council's Executive Director also discussed the projects and activities that Council and its grantees are doing to assess and improve assistive technology service delivery in Ohio.

For those who could not attend the event, the video can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2xowGsH