DD Council Connection - December 2017

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

DD Council Connection is a way for the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to introduce to you our 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:

Grantee Spotlight: Surveying Assistive Technology Services in Ohio

Assistive technology is a product, equipment, or system that improves learning, working, and daily living for people with disabilities. Examples of assistive technology include:

  • Communication devices
  • Mobility devices, such as walkers and wheelchairs
  • Applications (apps) for smart phone/pad technology
  • Self-care devices, such as adapted spoons and drinking cups
  • Hardware and software to use computers, such as screen reading software or a mouth stick or head pointer to touch the computer screen

Advancements and new developments are rapidly happening in assistive technology, providing more opportunities for people with disabilities to fully engage in life.

The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), with funding through the Assistive Technology & Communication Committee of the Ohio DD Council, is currently the grantee for two of Council’s assistive technology projects. OCALI has expertise and resources through its Assistive Technology & Accessible Educational Materials Center (AT & AEM) to conduct the work on these grants. According to OCALI, “The AT & AEM Center is a centralized, responsive resource center that empowers individuals with disabilities by providing accessible educational materials, access to assistive technologies and highly specialized technical assistance and professional development support.”

The goal of one project is to find best practices and solutions within Ohio’s county board of developmental disabilities system to improve the local availability and use of assistive technology by Ohioans with disabilities. Through this grant, OCALI will survey all 88 county boards on how they currently provide assistive technology supports, assess the data collected, and make recommendations to the Ohio DD Council for changes in assistive technology policies. The intent is to improve the identification, assessment, funding, and ongoing training processes of the county board system when providing assistive technology supports.

OCALI’s second project will identify assistive technology lending programs in Ohio. The purpose of this project is to gather the information and then develop a comprehensive list of assistive technology lending programs/libraries, including details about the services each provides. At the completion of the project, OCALI will provide recommendations on how to offer this information in a central location to make it easier for Ohioans with developmental disabilities to more easily explore assistive technology options.

Both grants will conclude in 2018. The information gained from these grants will guide the Assistive Technology & Communication Committee on the critical areas to focus on for future grant projects.

For more information

Learn more about the Assistive Technology grants, and other Council grants here: ddc.ohio.gov/Grants/Current-Projects

Assistive Technology of Ohio Shares Success of Telepresence Robot Lease Program

Reprinted with permission from AT Ohio

There are students in Ohio who, for various reasons, are not able to physically attend school. Assistive Technology of Ohio (AT Ohio) now offers a way to help students get back into the classroom through the use of telepresence robots.

The robots are operated from home (or anywhere with wi-fi) via an iPad, smart phone or computer. Through these robots, students can beam into the classroom to watch and listen to what is going on. Students are also able to move about the classroom and the school as necessary.

Through this program, AT Ohio is able to help students keep up to date with their schoolwork while remaining in contact with their teachers, friends and fellow students. The robots are located within the school and can be leased for the duration of the school year. The current lease rate is $85 per month.

This program is now available to children receiving services through Nationwide Children's Hospital.

For more information

See how a student in a central Ohio high school uses a robot to participate in class and visit his friends, thanks to a “Double Robot” provided by AT Ohio through its Device Lending Library. Watch his story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpLi4BjN1p0

Visit AT Ohio’s website at atohio.org or contact atohio@osu.edu.

Self-Advocate Speaks in Washington DC about Ohio's STABLE Accounts

Self-advocate Michael Ham recently spoke at a Congressional Briefing on ABLE accounts that occurred in Washington DC with support from the Ohio DD Council. Specifically, Ham discussed how Ohio‘s STABLE account benefits him as he saves for and invests in his future. Doug Jackson, Deputy Director of Ohio’s STABLE Accounts, said that Ham did a great job representing people with disabilities who can benefit from STABLE accounts.

Earnings on savings in a STABLE Account are tax-deferred and tax-free when used to pay for qualified expenses. Having a STABLE Account allows people with disabilities to save money while not risking the loss of financial benefits, such as Medicaid or Social Security Income (SSI).

For more information

Learn more about STABLE Accounts here: www.stableaccount.com

Take the Project Open House Survey

The University of Toledo’s College of Education is conducting a survey for parents and providers to finding inclusive childcare for young children with disabilities.

Deadline to take the survey is February 28, 2018.

For more information

Read more about Project Open House here: ddc.ohio.gov/Portals/0/project-open-house-flyer.pdf

The research project is funded by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, and is conducted by Dr. Laurie Dinnebeil and Dr. William McInerney at the University of Toledo.

Happy Holidays from Ohio DD Council!

All of us at Ohio DD Council wish you, your family and friends the Happiest Holidays and a wonderful 2018!

Happy Holidays from the Ohio DD Council