January/February 2009 Volume 3, Number 1
INK AWARE mourns Groesbeck’s passing “You don’t need a lot of words in Butte. When you say, ‘He’s a good guy,’ that speaks volumes, and my friend George was a good guy. ... I would like to think that maybe George has gone out in front of us to warm up the room, put together a band, tune up the instruments, maybe have one or two, and when we get there we’ll be among friends.” — Gov. Brian Schweitzer
George Groesbeck 1970-2008
The boundless and warm, but fragile heart of George Gordon Groesbeck stopped beating as friends and family gathered by his side Sunday evening, Dec. 7, 2008, at St. James Healthcare in Butte. Born in Butte on April 21, 1970, George was a two-term representative to the Montana House of Representa-
tives from House Dist. 74, elected to serve his third term this year. George was the human resources director for AWARE Inc. and taught freshman writing classes at Montana Tech. George knew that the love of his parents, Jan March and George Groesbeck, is what gave him the confidence to be all that he could be. From his grandmother, Eileen Davis, he learned what it meant to be filled with the love of life. From his grandparents, the Quillings, he learned his love of the outdoors and the spirit of competition. His best Christmas memory was the year he and his sister, Jana, got a steel See George on Page 3
Corporate Congress sets AWARE’s 2009 agenda By Tim Pray
he 24 delegates of the 2008 Corporate Congress left Fairmont Hot Springs on Friday, Dec. 5, having passed 20 measures that will define AWARE’s direction over the course of the next year. When the delegates arrived at the resort for the beginning of the session, they carried with them more than 30 bills, their suggestions for the improvement of AWARE’s services based upon survey information, discussions with their colleagues and the direct input of See Congress on Page 7
Note to staff and friends
— Page 2
Facilitator Mary-Graham Rasco and delegate Dave Caldwell help Shawna Schaar through a computer problem. Photo by Tim Pray
AWARE preparing legislative agenda — Page 8
Social Justice focus of TASH — Page 10
People First officers elected — Page 12
ShrinkWrap with Dr. Lourie — Page 16
Arrow pointed mostly up in 2008 agenda — the majority of which will still be carried through this year’s session in Helena. In the same piece, you’ll find our priorities: issues that we would like to see addressed and issues that affect all of us and, most importantly, the people we serve.
Dear Staff and Friends, It’s hard to look back at 2008 without feeling a great sense of accomplishment and, unfortunately, loss. We significantly increased the level and breadth of services that we offer throughout the state; the Candlelight Community Living Initiative, the beginning of a more dynamic employment network for people with disabilities, the launch of Apostrophe magazine, and the implementation of Applied Behavioral Analysis methods brought to us from leaders in Larry Noonan the field. We were honored to have almost every high profile leader of Montana on both a state and national level present at several of our events this year. One of which—the open house/anniversary party for Pam and Lyle Whitmore in Bozeman—was a celebration in and of itself, regardless of those in attendance. It was a celebration of progress, determination, and the amazing things that can occur when a group of strangers decide to act on the behalf of people who need help, solely because it is the right thing to do.
In this issue you’ll also find a breakdown of recommendations that were presented to me, the Board of Directors, Dr. Len Lantz, our medical director, and Dr. Ira Lourie, our chief medical consultant, by Corporate Congress delegates. AWARE representatives from every corner of the state and every service entered the 2008 Corporate Congress session with more than 30 bills. Each bill had the strength to stand on its own and represented the input of colleagues, community stakeholders, AWARE customers and families. By the end of the session, though, delegates had revised, cut, combined, and overhauled the bills until there were 20. The final bills represent the closest we will come as an organization to printing out a list of New Year’s resolutions. Last year, we took very seriously the measures that came out of Corporate Congress, and an entire team of mid-level managers was formed to execute them over the course of the year. We have been largely successful in implementing those suggestions, and I’m excited to get to work on this year’s points.
We suffered the loss of George Groesbeck, whose obituary can be found in this issue of Ink. The professional void he leaves is significant, although that was — and is — hardly at the center of the sorrow for those who knew him. Regardless of the personal or professional situation at hand, George wore a smile that spoke volumes to his sincerity and love of people. At his funeral, the Rev. Tom Haffey said something to the effect that George was perfectly suited to be running the human resources department at AWARE. Being around people was what George was best at, and we will miss him.
You’ll read a story about the state’s effort to centralize youth psychiatric residential services. The state recently abandoned the idea for a number of Lawrence P. Noonan, CEO Geri L. Wyant, CFO Jeffrey Folsom, COO Mike Schulte, CHO Board of Directors John Haffey, President John O’Donnell, Vice President Al Smith Teresa Marshall Cheryl Zobenica Keith Colbo
George’s legislative agenda concerned itself with a number of issues that directly affect the work we do, and in this issue of Ink, you can read through that
Editing and layout: Jim Tracy Staff writers: Tim Pray Bryan Noonan
AWARE Ink is published bimonthly by AWARE, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization at 205 E. Park Ave., Anaconda, MT 59711. Copyright ©2008, AWARE, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this newsletter may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher. Please send correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We saw amazing advances in every facet of the work that we do as an organization in 2008, and 2009 shows no signs of letting up. New friendships, new communities, new choices for people…our slogan “the right services, to the right people, at the right time” demands that we pay attention to and understand the people around us. We have a reputation for doing just that, and I’m looking forward to strengthening it throughout the next year.
reasons. We were happy to offer our expertise on the matter of serving children previously being served out of state, but perhaps the idea of one, massive facility to house dozens of children at one time is reactionary, and there’s no way to know whether children are best served in such a situation. We do know there are a number of children—and their families—who are not being served in the least restrictive manner possible, and that being close to home and the support it offers makes a difference in the lives of families and their children. However the state wants to address the problem, we are happy to be a part of the solution.
Happy New Year.
George... blade sled. On Christmas Eve, he saw the sled tracks along with footprints of either Santa Claus or his father, in the snow. When he told his mother, she asked him to please not tell Jana his suspicions regarding Santa. The absolute lights of his life are his two daughters, Brooklyn and Sofia. Brookie, or “Fuzzy,” was his buddy, helper and brilliant butterfly. They loved to read stories, do puzzles and shoot hoops. He tried to teach her focus, and she tried to teach him patience. He saw his own gentle temperament in younger daughter, Sofia, or “Sofs.” With so much creativity in the family, he thought Sofs might have the spirit of the muse. Every feeling, and mostly enormous joy, comes immediately to her face. Brooke and Sofia brought out the best in him and he knew it. George was an accomplished musician, moving from classical cello in high school to kick-ass jammin’ rock ’n’ roll guitar after graduating from Butte High School and Carroll College. He loved the music of his Jerrys — Garcia and Joseph. George loved to fish and could catch a fish just about anywhere, but the talent he was most thankful for was his natural ability to play golf. His game was still improving and all his pals lined up to be his partner. George’s work with AWARE and in the Legislature was about helping people. George was an excellent listener, and respected everyone’s point of view. He was a genuine and humble humanitarian who touched the lives of many. If the richness of a life is measured by the richness of friends, George was a wealthy man.
George Groesbeck with Sen. Jon Tester at an event in Bozeman last summer. Photo by Jim Tracy
George leaves behind Sara, mother of Brooke and Sofia Groesbeck; his mother, Jan (Jim) March of Colstrip; father, George (Joanne) Groesbeck of Butte; grandmother, Eileen Davis of Butte; sister, Jana (Chad) Mussard of Green River, Wyo.; nephews, other family members and good friends too numerous to mention. Liturgy of the Resurrection was celebrated in St. Ann’s Catholic Church. Entombment of ashes followed in Mountain View Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Brooklyn and Sofia’s Education Fund, c/o EdTech Federal Credit Union, 1555 Harrison Ave., Butte, MT 59701. 3
Michelle Dolan Judy Armbruster
Jessie Sabo Jamie Knott
Corporate Congress 2008 Delegates 14 4 4
CORPORATE CONGRESS BILLS By Tim Pray
was combined with a bill of the same name from the 2007 session. It is her hope that further emphasis can be placed on complete benefits parity between administration and work services employees.
Representatives to the 2008 Corporate Congress entered the session with more than 30 bills. By the time the session convened, 20 remained to be passed and presented to CEO Larry Noonan and AWARE’s Board of Directors. Over the session’s three days, delegates representing AWARE services and districts debated and revised one another’s work. Following is a breakdown of the bills presented to the Board of Directors on Friday, Dec. 5. The reader may notice that several representatives’ bills do not appear in this final list. During the work sessions, several bills were consolidated with others in the interest of presenting a manageable number of measures on the session’s final day.
Lorna Stutz and Dave Caldwell, both returning delegates representing Adult Services: Residential, and Billings, respectively, penned a bill entitled the “Consumer Jobs in the Community “ act. Stutz and Caldwell recommend that AWARE make a corporate-wide effort to increase the number of jobs – and the level of awareness of those jobs – for people with disabilities throughout the state. There are several ways to go about this, they suggest. They recommend that AWARE work services supervisors go to the Job Services or like agencies to let them know about people using AWARE services who are ready and willing to work. Secondly, they recommend that AWARE use its current space (offices, warehouses, etc.) to expand work services. Finally, Stutz and Caldwell recommend that AWARE create a job coach position for communities that don’t have this support available. The person filling this position would seek employment opportunities throughout the community, provide transportation if needed and be available for one-on-one support.
Stacy Fortner, a second-term Corporate Congress delegate representing the Missoula/Kalispell district, presented two bills, the first of which is entitled the “Community Advertising and Volunteering” Act. In it, Fortner suggests a further effort on advertising for services and AWARE as an organization being more involved within the various communities of the state. To do so, she suggests, AWARE may find opportunities to sponsor or co-sponsor events in each community — events that address important issues to families in that community. She goes on to suggest that AWARE publications make space for “happy ads” that would help to inform communities of the accomplishments of individuals and services throughout the state. Fortner would like to utilize AWARE’s current public relations staff to locate and coordinate events in each community, such as mental health screening days, county fairs and speaking engagements. Fortner’s second bill, the “Team Days” Act, recommends implementing staff celebrations several times a year, including luncheons throughout the state to recognize the work of AWARE staff and encouraging supervisors to find formal ways of recognizing spectacular work by employees.
LeAnn Westgard entered the 2008 Corporate Congress session serving her first term as the representative of Adult Targeted Case Management. Her bill, the “Friendship-building Act” addresses the fact that – within the targeted case management area of services – many adults do not have much family support or friends outside of AWARE. A personal ads section in AWARE publications – Westgard says – could go a long way in filling those voids. Jamie Knott, serving her second term as the Support Services representative, entered the 2008 session with two bills, the first of which is entitled the “Improve Client and Family Attendance at Scheduled Appointments” act. With this bill, Knott expresses her and her constituency’s concern regarding the number of clients and families who do not show up for scheduled appointments. To try and alleviate the situation, Knott suggests investing more time in investigating the reasons) people are missing their appointments and working collaboratively with them to implement strategies that will improve attendance at scheduled meetings.
Mona Fergerson, also in her second term representing Galen, presented a bill entitled the “Construction of a Physical Enhancement Building” act. In the bill, Fergerson suggests that AWARE begin investigating the possibility of the construction of a physical education building on the Galen Campus that could be used by those living there as well as people using Anaconda’s services. The importance of physical education, Fergerson says, cannot be overlooked, and plays a crucial role in behavioral issues. Further, with six months out of any given year being hindered by snow and ice, a state of the art physical education building complete with fitness and game equipment will go a long way to ensure that those long and dark days are made a little bit brighter through healthy activity.
Knott’s second bill, the “Quality Assurance/Training Act,” suggests there is a need for - and an interest in - increasing the number of times that support staff meet for trainings. Knott feels that AWARE employees have expressed an interest in attending more face-to-face meetings to collaborate on helpful resources that each office is aware of, meet new employees within the service, find ways to improve the service and discuss issues of concern. This bill addresses specific training issues directly related to AWARE’s support services but also includes suggestions like using the new video technology for administrative training. Finally, Knott’s bill seeks to demystify the billing process for those working in
Michelle Dolan entered the 2008 Corporate Congress session serving her first term as the representative of Adult Services: Work/Day. Her bill, the “Consumer Benefits Act”
Bills continued on Page 6 5
recommends reviewing all the paperwork that is required of AWARE customers and removing redundancy, simplifying materials, and reviewing how frequently paperwork is required. Further, Schmeck recommends reviewing the Child and Family Outcomes assessment and simplifying it to become a more manageable and accurate tool for the families served by AWARE.
support services, again recommending billing-specific trainings for staff. Kelly McGrath, who entered her second term as the Butte/Dillon district representative advocated for her bill – the “Increase Resources Available to Each Community” act. The bill was written by McGrath as a way to broaden the resources AWARE is able to make available to families throughout the state. Specifically, McGrath recommends the development of resource library in each community. Further, she feels that the development of a referral process specific to a community’s resources (Salvation Army, Food Share, LEAP) will help provide deeper access to necessities such as winter gear, food, and energy assistance for AWARE customers.
Joseph Schlegel is another delegate in his first term as a Corporate Congress representative, representing AWARE’s youth residential programs. His bill, the “Social Skills and Self Esteem Act” highlights – based on Schlegel’s experience working in homes in addition to the experience of his colleagues around the state – the importance of social skillbuilding for young people. The bill recommends that AWARE provide residents with the opportunity to experience a greater number of social engagements throughout the state. It will go a long way, Schlegel says, towards the normalization that we as an organization feel is so important.
Ed Hennelly is serving his second term as the representative to Transportation Services. His bill, the “Mechanical Support Act” stresses the importance of further mechanical support for the transportation fleet in Butte. With the increased ridership, Hennelly says, it becomes increasingly difficult to take a vehicle out of commission for an extended period of time, even if just for routine maintenance. Hennelly feels that having a full-time mechanic on site would prevent the unnecessary lapse in service time.
Janis Zeier and Blanca Markwordt, both in their first year as representatives of Administration and Administrative Field Services, respectively, combined their bills to form the “Utilization of Technology Act.” Their bill recommends that AWARE make full use of the technological advances of the past year — advances such as the new web site and videoconferencing equipment. Suggestions include: e-mailing all AWARE users to inform them of all new employees and departed employees, posting all mental health forms on the web site, ensuring that all teams are using the most current and updated forms, and maintaining training updates on the web site.
Jenna Ebner, also returning from the 2007 session, serves as the Early Head Start representative. She sponsored the “Parent Involvement” act. Ebner’s bill stresses the importance of early intervention, a cornerstone of Early Head Start. Part of that, says Ebner, is keeping parents as involved as possible throughout their child’s education and progress. Ebner suggests through her bill that AWARE create more specific activities at the Early Head Start center that involve parents and families.
Jessie Sabo entered her first term as the representative for the Candlelight Community Living Initiative with a bill entitled the “Behavioral Plan Implementation Act.” In this bill, Sabo suggests that Candlelight staff accompany residents to school to ensure that behavioral plans are being followed.
Judy Armbruster – in her second term representing Anaconda – sponsored the “People First Language Act.” The bill incorporates legislation from around the country, as well as community-based initiatives from People First chapters that stress the importance of addressing the person before the disability. In the bill, Armbruster suggests that – instead of the phrase, “Joe is a consumer,” AWARE should refer to Joe as “Joe.” She goes on to suggest that if there is a case in which a large number of people must be referred to, that group should be “people with disabilities” as opposed to disabled people or DD people. In specific reference to people receiving AWARE services, the word “consumer” should be stricken from the vernacular and replaced with the person’s full name, Armbruster wrote. She finishes the bill by stating that this people first language should be applicable to all official AWARE documents, meetings and verbal references.
Eileen Dey, serving her second term as the Eastern Montana representative, wrote a bill entitled the “Case Manager Petty Cash” Act. In the bill, Dey suggests that case managers for both youth and adults have access to a petty cash fund that would allow for small-scale social outings that enhance the one-on-one experience. Carey Hamrick joined the 2008 Corporate Congress as the AWARE Comprehensive School and Community-based Treatment services representative. He arrived to the session with two bills, the first of which is titled the “Clinician Professional Testing Resources Act.” In the bill, Hamrick addresses his desire to see AWARE use the most advanced testing and assessment equipment available. The equipment, most often coming in the form of software, would be made available to all clinicians through AWARE’s web site by a secure means.
Brittany Schmeck — entering the 2008 Corporate Congress session in her first term — represents Youth Case Management. Her bill, the “Reduction of Paperwork for Clients” act addresses the concern that there is an excess of paperwork that both clients and service providers are required to complete. Based on information from surveys she distributed, Schmeck notes that clients and the workforce have become frustrated, overwhelmed and confused filling out so many different forms on a consistent basis. She
In his second bill, the “Communication Awareness Act,” Hamrick stresses the importance of consistency in communication between services. He recommends that service administrator re-evaluate current policies and procedures, ensuring that AWARE has an effective communication plan.
AWARE’s 2008 Unconditional Care Award winners, from left to right: Pandi Highland, Carol Holzer, Kim Goodman, Bill Hill, Pam Haxby-Cote, Jacob Henderson, Larry Noonan, David Munson, Melissa Mitchell, Peter Bovingdon, Renae Jones, Jen Langlois, Kalen Zier, Jessie Sabo, Tabitha Utz, Sandy Walker. Not pictured: Emily Pray, Stephen Addington, Melinda Edwards. Photo by Kenton Rowe
Congress... the adults, children and families who buy the services. Every bill had been written thoughtfully and carefully, although each delegate knew full well that he or she would be required to defend it from being cut, as only 20 of them would be presented to AWARE’s Board of Directors, CEO Larry Noonan, medical director Dr. Len Lantz and chief medical consultant Dr. Ira Lourie on Friday morning. The bills varied in subject, although each centered on the ways in which AWARE can improve how services are delivered. Some focused on more involvement within the communities of the state, while some focused on more micro-level solutions like new methods of assessment for clinical staff. A primer on the 2008 bills can be found on pages 5 and 6. The 2008 delegates – half of whom are serving their first term – were broken into three committees on the first morning of the session: workforce, community and service, based on the common themes of their bills. Each committee was staffed by three members of the leadership team, a collection of service administrators and project directors who – for the majority of the year – are tasked with implementing the measures passed at CorSee Congress on Page 22 7
Judy Armbruster, Anaconda representative, listens intently during bill reading at Corporate Congress 2008. Photo by Tim Pray
Child psychiatry highlights legislative agenda AWARE offers expertise in teleconferencing By Bryan Noonan AWARE has prepared a corporate agenda for the 61st session of the Montana Legislature. The 2009 session convenes at noon on Jan. 5. Chief Operating Officer Jeff Folsom will be acting as the corporation’s “person available for questions and information.” Issues he hopes to address this session include placement of Montana youth in out-of-state facilities, child psychiatry and Kids Management Authorities, or KMA’s. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported to the Law and Justice Interim Committee last summer that an estimated 187 young people are forced to leave the state each year to receive mental health services. The department later adjusted the number to 40 youth at any given time. Out-of-state placement AWARE feels strongly that no child should be sent out of state to receive services that can be obtained in Montana. After the estimates of out-of-state placement were reported, AWARE offered to bring 50 of those kids back to Montana for placement here as soon as possible. Little has been done so far to respond to that offer. “Out-of-state placements are often described as ‘highly specialized units,’” Folsom said. “Except for rare exceptions, they do not provide services that are available or could be made available in Montana.” The late George Groesbeck,
who served as AWARE’s human resources director and represented House District 74 in the Legislature, requested a bill to be drafted covering that issue. AWARE will also watch progress on another mental health issue. A recent study of Montana’s mental health system emphasized the need for more psychiatric professionals in the state and suggested that tele-psychiatry might offer a solution. The study recommended that Montana State Hospital provide tele-psychiatry across the state. In the meantime, AWARE has set up a network of seven sites for video-conferencing and telecommunication. Folsom said the company would lobby for money to help further take advantage of the technology and would offer to help other companies develop teleconferencing capabilities. Kids Management Authorities recently requested $2.5 million in state funding as they move away from federal grant funds. “The initial purpose of KMA’s 8
was to establish a system of care across Montana utilizing wraparound philosophy to address the needs of our most difficult to serve youth,” Folsom said. That doesn’t seem to be happening, however. AWARE’s position, Folsom explained, is that before KMAs receive funding they need to make clear how they will deliver services to youth and families, and move away from the idea of establishing full-time equivalent positions and infrastructure within the government. “In no event would we support expansion of an effort in which we see little to no value,” he said. Maternal and Child Health This year AWARE will work closely with Steve Yeakel, a lobbyist for Montana Council for Maternal and Child Health. Folsom is vice president of the Council. Lawrence “Pat” Noonan II, AWARE’S service administrator for Comprehensive School and Community Treatment, will be serving his freshman year in the House, representing District 73 of Silver Bow County. He has been assigned to two committees, Health and Human Services and Business and Labor. Noonan has a proposed draft bill that would expand reimbursements providers receive for Medicaid travel. AWARE provides more than 200,000 rides a year at an estimated cost of $1.21 per mile. Medicaid reimburses only $0.22 per mile driven for non-emergency appointments and other unavoidable travel. That is “not worth the paper and time for billing it,” said
Mike Schulte, AWARE’s chief habilitation officer and transportation director. Because of the low reimbursement, AWARE currently doesn’t bill for mileage. “They need to take into account everyone’s overhead,” Schulte said. “Not every provider, or passenger, falls into the same category.” He explained that AWARE is reimbursed at the same rate as providers with volunteer drivers and vehicles smaller than AWARE buses. AWARE hopes to see this reimbursement rise to at least what state employees receive for their non-emergency travel — $0.585 per mile. “We would really only use it for doctor appointments located out of town,” Schulte said. AWARE also has a former employee in the Legislature. House District 74 Arthur J. Noonan, former director of the AWARE Foundation and current executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, was elected by the Butte-Silver Bow County Commission on Dec. 17 to fill the seat of House District 74 held by the late George Groesbeck. Noonan, brother of AWARE CEO Larry Noonan, told commissioners he and Groesbeck were close friends and that he wanted to carry Groesbeck’s bills in the 2009 session. “I have looked at it (his legislative agenda) closely,” Noonan said. “I helped him develop some of it actually.” Complaining is good for you as long as you’re not complaining to the person you’re complaining about. — Lynn Johnston (1947 ), For Better or For Worse
Groesbeck had 21 draft bill in process, mostly about energy and special needs issues. Because Noonan was a legislator last session, with his appointment the Democrats will not lose a chairmanship. That, Noonan explained, “is how you get bills passed.” AWARE CEO Larry Noonan said he is confident heading into the session that the corporation’s expectations will be met. “All of our requests are reasonable, and pose good common sense solutions to current issues in Montana health and human services,” he said. AWARE wants to see other issues pursued as well, including increased funding to early childhood services. Recently the state has been developing and expanding youth group homes for children under the age of 10. AWARE would like the state to increase efforts in creating intensive in-home and therapeutic foster care services to keep these children in homes in communities. The Children’s Mental Health Bureau has requested $250,000 to expand psychiatric residential treatment facilities, or PTRFs. This program is designed for children 6 to 16. AWARE is suggesting that the grants focus more on children 6 to 10, since an increased number of children in this age group are being placed in residential facilities including out of state. AWARE will seek a clarification of I-155, the Healthy Montana Kids Plan, pertaining to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and the expanded Medicaid program. AWARE has concerns about the difference in benefit plans when beneficiaries are transferred from CHIP to Medicaid. Finally, AWARE believes that 9
How to compose e-mail to someone you don’t know
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material. Users will find information to assist with any writing project, whether it’s a simple letter or a complicated report. Here’s The OWL on writing an email: There are a few important points to remember when composing email, particularly when the e-mail’s recipient is a superior and/or someone who does not know you. Be sure to include a meaningful subject line; this helps clarify what your message is about and may also help the recipient prioritize reading your e-mail Just like a written letter, be sure to open your e-mail with a greeting like Dear Dr. Jones, or Ms. Smith: Use standard spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. THERE’S NOTHING WORSE THAN AN E-MAIL SCREAMING A MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS. Write clear, short paragraphs and be direct and to the point; professionals and academics alike see their e-mail accounts as business. Don’t write unnecessarily long e-mails or otherwise waste the recipient’s time Be friendly and cordial, but don’t try to joke around (jokes and witty remarks may be inappropriate and, more commonly, may not come off appropriately in e-mail). Visit the OWL at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ owl/
“Customer” Grant Logsdon and Hope Leet Dittmeier of Realizations in Louisville, Ky., enjoy a laugh during their presentation at the 2008 TASH Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in early December. Photo by Jim Tracy
National conference focuses on social justice The theme of this year’s gathering was Social Justice in the 21st Century, a fitting tag-line since TASH is a civil rights organization of people with mental disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities and other conditions that make full integration a challenge. Folks we met from Florida to Alaska, and from other countries, including Canada, Turkey, Poland, China and the Netherlands, are trying to live up to that mission. At TASH, we learned about PBS, LRE and SRV. Don’t know what those acronyms mean? We didn’t either until we asked. PBS means positive behavior supports. LRE translates to least restrictive environment. SRV is social role valorization, or “the application of what science can tell us about the enablement, establishment, enhancement, maintenance, and/or defense of valued social roles for people.” That’s the language of disabilities professionals. Getting their point of view at the conference was valuable but not nearly as meaningful as hearing directly from the people the acronyms apply to – Jose from Southern California, for instance, or Grant from Louisville, Ky., or Brad from Kent, Wash. Jose, an outgoing guy with an upbeat attitude, is achieving TASH’s goals of self-determination, human dignity and independence after decades of failure caused by the system. After bouncing from home to home, including a stay at a state development center and “blowing out” of a lot of
By Jim Tracy
or four days in early December, Apostrophe staff — and by extension AWARE — listened, took notes, asked questions and made new friends at the 2008 TASH Conference in Nashville, Tenn. TASH is an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals “fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm.” The annual conference brings together university researchers and grade school teachers, service providers and people receiving support, disability rights lawyers and the government agencies they sometimes battle. We heard references to “person-centered planning,” “self-determination,” “money follows the person” and “nothing about us without us.” Those phrases sum up, in a way, what TASH is all about. Since it was founded in 1975, TASH has stood against separatism, stigmatization, abuse and neglect and promoted full inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. “TASH believes that no one with a disability should be forced to live, work or learn in a segregated setting; that all individuals deserve the right to direct their own lives.” Its mission “is to eliminate physical and social obstacles that prevent equity, diversity and quality of life.” 10
programs and living arrangements, Jose now has his own apartment with roommates. And he has the key. He enjoys a lifestyle he never could have imagined 10 years ago. He feels he has control over decisions about his life and he’s proud of what he’s accomplished. Twenty-six-year-old Grant Logsdon has a disability called cerebral palsy. “But that does not define who I am as a person nor does it hinder what I can accomplish as an individual,” he says. He’s a positive individual and enjoys life to the fullest. He has spoken at four national public speaking conferences with KY-SPIN (Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network) – a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting programs that enable persons with disabilities and their families to enhance their quality of life. Grant doesn’t just associate himself with people who have disabilities. “I surround myself with people who are capable of living a normal life,” he says. “This allows me to function in a positive way and make progress in my everyday life. I enjoy activities just as you do.” Brad Jones of Kent, Wash., worked his way out of group homes and people controlling his life and now enjoys the peace and tranquility of his own home and sharing it with close friends.
Brad Jones’s journey included eight years in an institution, four years in a group home, and various other unsatisfactory living arrangements before finally settling in his own apartment where he lives with support from Mary Romer, Don Shouse and other folks at Total Living Concept in Kent, Wash. TLC believes that if support folks make a promise to the state or to an individual, they want to make sure they keep it. They have kept their promise to Brad. Using facilitated communication, he has learned how to lead, and to teach support staff how to follow. If you don’t think he’s in control, consider this: twice, out of frustration, he fired all of his support staff. Now, at last, he has peace and the home he’s always wanted – a modern, comfortable apartment with lots of light and room … and peace. Brad’s apartment fits his (or anybody’s) definition of home: “a place consisting of walls that both include certain people and possessions and exclude, temporarily or permanently, certain other people or things. The physical location of this place and how it appears are important aspects and nothing defines home like the sense of self it provides us. “We define who comes into our home, how long they stay and what they do while they are there. It is the one place where we have the most influence over our lives. We often refer to this as being the keeper of the threshold. This, to us, is the central defining point of home. From this flow other, important aspects: the sense of refuge and renewal provided by home; the ability to relax and be ourselves more completely than most anywhere else; the ability to engage in intimate relationships with others of our choice; the simple opportunity to be alone and cherish our privacy; and, the ability, by our invitation to others, to offer them hospitality.” We heard other stories of triumph and met people who are taking control of their lives or helping others do the same: Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network; disability rights lawyers Mark Partin of Connecticut and Dohn Hoyle of Michigan; Rebecca Salon, an adviser to Project Action in Washington, D.C., and Project Action member Ricardo Thornton, the subject of a 60 Minutes interview and a made-for-television move titled Profoundly Normal; Barbara Coleman and self-advocate Brad Williams of the Baldwin Enrichment Center in Milledgeville, Ga.; Carrie Raabe, a self-advocate from the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff; and Hope Johnson of Nashville, an expert on the Plan to Achieve Self Support, or PASS. To learn more about TASH and the conference, visit the web site: TASH.org. Or ask Dan McClafferty, Bryan Noonan or Jim Tracy.
We also met the people who support Jose, Grant and Brad and are helping them fulfill their dreams. Scott Shepard of Avenues Supported Living Services in Valencia, Calif., stuck with Jose even through a disastrous first attempt at living on his own. He also helped him achieve one of his major goals: Jose was sworn in as a naturalized citizen on April 4, 1999. He’s treated with respect, he has choices, he works every other day, and he has things to look forward to. Grant Logsdon lists among his allies Hope Leet Dittmeier, founder of Realizations in Louisville, Ky. Dittmeier, an advocate for people with disabilities since 1983, has pioneered person-centered, customized support in the Kentucky and Indiana region. She says Realizations asks this question of each customer (that’s their word): “What is the diamond you have that needs to shine?” Realizations creates “custom solutions” for individuals like Grant who want independence. Customers live in typical apartments, condos and houses in the Louisville area. Some people live alone; others have a supportive roommate. “We are here to do things with you – not to you, not for you,” Dittmeier says. She looks at her staff as cheerleaders for their customers. The cheer? “I know you can do this even if you think you can’t.” Dittmeier would say Grant is following Realizations’ suggestion to be “sensibly unrealistic.”
“Do all the good you can, and make as little fuss about it as possible.” – Charles Dickens
At left, Hank Semenow marks his ballot with assistance from People First of Anaconda adviser Lisa Kopp. Judy Armbruster, below left, was elected to the People First Senate. Heather Arnaud, below right, considers the slate of candidates on her ballot. On the facing page, top left, re-elected People First President Tony Shea, and Aimee Roberson, right, mark their ballots. In the bottom photo Jack Duffield works with Adrian Whiteman on his ballot. Photos by Jim Tracy.
Every vote counts People First of Anaconda re-elected Anthony â€œTonyâ€? Shea president in balloting Tuesday, Dec. 2, at Hearthstone. The 20-member organization elected Amy Cozby, vice president; Candi Morrison, treasurer; Kelly Murray, secretary; and Russell Carstens, sergeant at arms. Judy Armbruster and Candi Morrison were elected senators, with Kelly Murray as alternate.
Armbruster and Morrison will represent the Anaconda Chapter of People First at the annual Senate in September. People First is a self-governing, self-directing, self-advocacy organization. It is about people with disabilities working together and helping each other take charge of their lives. It teaches people with disabilities how to make decisions and choices that make them more independent.
NEWS BRIEFS action. The act also expands the definition to include communication and reading. The Boston Globe reports that some celebrities This not only increases opportunity for people with turned out for a special screening of “The Child King.” disabilities it also opens a door for businesses to tap The movie, made by brothers Jeff and Frank Kerr, into a mostly untapped market. With the design and stars Special Olympic athlete Peter Johnson. In this marketing of more accessible products and services, story Peter leads his little brother on a journey to find businesses can take advantage of a “$200 billion marSanta Claus. Proceeds go to the Child King Foundation, a recent- ket of consumers eager to spend on technologies that will improve their lives.” ly founded organization that supports children with Microsoft is one company that has established a developmental disabilities. Copies of the movie are befoothold in workplace assistive technologies and is ing sold on the foundation web site. Celebrities making looking to expand and include new scenarios of adapan appearance in the movie include comedian Lenny tive technologies. “Either way,” Business Week reports, Clarke and former football players Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas. The movie premiere drew a large crowd. “they’ve all had a hand in opening the market for technologies that are making life more playful and producBoston Globe (Dec. 18, 2008) tive for people with disabilities. Mark Shanahan and Paysha Rhone Business Week (Dec. 23, 2008) Suzanne Robitaille
‘The Child King’ premieres in Boston
Housing choice in New Jersey expanding for people with disabilities
In New Jersey, with recent revisions made to the state Council on Affordable Housing regulations and a plummeting housing market, people with disabilities are finding it easier to find low-cost housing. “In today’s market,” Michele Wernsing, the director of Our House, explains, “when we identify a house that fits our residents’ needs, we face little competition, and scant opposition.” In one recent purchase in Berkeley Heights, Our House was the only bidder for a five-bedroom ranch for $700,000. Berkeley Heights is a well-established neighborhood with most homes valued at upwards of $1 million. This is just one example of many recent purchases by Our House and other organizations in New Jersey. New York Times (Nov. 28, 2008) Antoinette Martin
Adaptive technology market growing President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act in September to go into effect January 1. The act will expand on the original 1990 law to include more disabilities that affect “one or more major life activity.” This amendment clarifies that a major life activity is more than just work. It’s travel, fun, and social inter-
Students with disabilities finding acceptance at Wisconsin university A new dormitory on UW-Whitewater campus far exceeds legal mandates for disability access, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. This much-needed improvement will accommodate an increase in students with disabilities. The increase is due to the school’s mission to provide support and services for students with disabilities. This population spreads beyond physical disabilities to include students with autism and attention deficit disorder, among other disabilities. UW-Whitewater is one of a handful of universities nationwide that have made working with students with disabilities a priority. “We do things kind of in a bigger way,” says Elizabeth Watson, director of the Center for Students with Disabilities. Watson estimates that the number of disabled students at UW-Whitewater is around 11 percent, and she hopes the percentage will continue to grow. Peter Lohr, a student with cerebral palsy who recently transferred to UW-Whitewater believes that because there is a large population of people with disabilities, the school is very accepting. “Here it’s like, you have a disability, so what?” Wisconsin State Journal (Dec. 10, 2008) Deborah Ziff 14
School suspends teacher for class vote Eunice Kennedy Shriver wins exiling child with Asperger’s Syndrome Sports Illustrated Legacy award A Florida teacher who let her kindergarten vote on whether an autistic child could remain in class has been suspended, according to a Fox News report. The county school board voted unanimously to suspend the teacher without pay for one year. Alex, a 5-year-old student diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, lost a class vote 14 to 2 after being sent to the principal’s office twice for disciplinary problems. Hundreds of parents of autistic children signed a petition to get the teacher fired for tactics that seemed to mirror the reality show “Survivor.” Alex’s parents claimed he was punished for symptoms of his disability, such as humming and eating his homework. Alex didn’t return to school after the incident. Fox News (Nov. 19, 2008) Associated Press
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, has been awarded Sports Illustrated’s inaugural Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award. The award recognizes those who have, over their lifetime, demonstrated the ideals of sportsmanship. Shriver was praised for transforming a population, and working every day to bring dignity and opportunity to people with intellectual disabilities. Forty years ago Shriver marched at the first Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Chicago and recited the words that are still the Special Olympics athlete’s oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Sports Illustrated December 12, 2008
BSW moves to new Butte Location
A national coalition is calling on the Obama administration and the nation’s top mental health officials to institute widespread reform in America’s mental health treatment system. The coalition wants standards, regulations and expectations raised substantially. Funding of a pilot program to train and demonstrate best practices in psychiatric emergency, inpatient and community-based care has been requested. This call was triggered after a 50-year-old man choked to death on his medication while nearby workers played cards and watched TV. “This is just one example of the dangerous dysfunction of the public mental health system,” said Dan Fisher, M.D., and member of the National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Organizations. “The death of Steven Sabock at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, N.C., is only one tragedy in the tragic history of the American public mental health system — a system that the 2003 report of the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health described as ‘in shambles.’” The National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Organizations are working to ensure that people with mental illness have a voice in the development and implementation of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels. To find out more go to their web site at www.ncmhcso. org. Press release (Dec. 3, 2008)
Mental health advocacy groups demand reform, higher standards
Butte-based BSW has finished its year-long journey of relocating. The non-profit will be located at 845 S. Wyoming St. behind Steele’s Furniture and Appliance. BSW has moved into an old beer warehouse that was previously used to store products for Thompson Distributing. Before the purchase, BSW was spread throughout town with locations on Galena and South Montana. Now it’s all under one roof. “That’s huge for us,” said John Pahut, director of BSW. Before the move, he said, BSW had to cook food at one location and deliver it to the others. This was becoming more difficult as attendance increased over the years. The new location will give the organization more space and ease overcrowding in the day services program. BSW employees work in manufacturing, shredding, mailing and marketing. They also prepare more than 100 lunches a day for adults with developmental disabilities and employ 5560 in vocational work. BSW also has contracts with U.S. military services to prepare boot liners, neckties and map cases. In its manufacturing area, the company makes picnic tables, wooden crates, birdhouses and much more. Montana Standard (Nov. 18, 2008) Tim Trainor If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. — Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
— Compiled by Bryan Noonan 15
When OOPS Means Something Good
I have written about in previous ShrinkwRap articles. I felt so good about what had happened that I wanted to honor all of the AWARE employees who had particiBy Dr. Ira Lourie pated in an OOPS staffing by inviting s plans were developed for them to the banquet and having them this year’s 2008 Corporate stand to be recognized. Congress, I was asked to I wanted to demonstrate what a large present a few short remarks at the dinpercentage of the staff had indeed particiner. Similar to last year, my charge was pated in OOPS. I thought this was a great to usher in the presentation of the yearly idea that would be met with open arms.... AWARE awards. how better to show off. Rather, I was met I thought quite a bit as how I was with a denial. Why, you might ask, would going to do this. Last year I was given such an honorable agency-promoting the same task, and I talked about our request be denied? new OOPS process, which I hope you all Well, the reason it was denied spoke know stands for Out-Of-State Placement to how well we had actually done the last Dr. Ira Lourie Staffings. year. It was denied because if we invited all I introduced this concept as a new part of the OOPS participants to come to Corporate Congress of our Unconditional Care Commission (UCC) philosotwo things would have happened. First, there would be phy in which we as AWARE have made the commitment nobody left to man our child and family oriented proto meeting the needs of the individuals whom we serve grams around the state and secondly, there would be no by doing whatever it takes. room at the banquet for anybody else! OOPS was aimed primarily at the population of A pat on the back individuals and their families served by our Children’s Case Management and Therapeutic Family Care proI did get a chance to recognize those staff who were grams, with the primary purpose being to stem the flow at the banquet and ask them to stand. And even I was of children to residential programs, at times many miles amazed by how large a percentage of the audience was away from their families and communities, often outside standing to accept a well-deserved hand. At this time, I of Montana to Texas and other states. I ended my talk would like to recognize all of those OOPS participants with the phrase, “At AWARE when we say OOPS, we are who weren’t at the banquet. I guess asking them to stand really saying ‘Just say no to Texas!’” up wouldn’t be particularly effective at this point, but I Going full blast would like each of them to give themselves a pat on the back and accept in their hearts the applause they would Well, OOPS has been going full blast over the last have gotten if they had been there. year. We have staffed over 40 situations in which youth One person who was there deserves special recogniwere at risk of being placed out of state, and to date only tion, and indeed she got it when she was awarded one two of those children have ended up in out-of-state placeof AWARE’s highest honors, the Unconditional Care ment after an OOPS staffing (and one of those children Employee of the Year Award. Pandi Highland has been has already returned). the heart and soul of OOPS. Without her, staffing would What I wanted to talk about now is how excited and never take place. Not only does she organize and schedenergized I feel by the success of OOPS, some of which ule staff, she cajoles them from around the state to par-
youth services (although there was representation from Adult Services). It is now time for the UCC to again convene to work with our adult services and add their input to the process, so that we can elucidate just how UCC principles need to be viewed for that population. In hearing from our consumer delegates at this Corporate Congress, it is clear that they will probably have their own interpretation of what unconditional care means for them. This is also true for AWARE administrative staff, one of whom was awarded the “We Are Agents of Change” Award for this year. The final new direction would be to focus on expanding our UCC principles to a greater number of our community partners. As we work to keep children in their communities and with their families, we very often run up against other individuals outside of AWARE working with these same children and families who don’t agree with us and are eager to place children in institutional care. Sometimes it is the child’s family itself who is requesting (at times demanding) this level of treatment. Often our OOPS meetings are spent discussing ways to bring our community partners along with our thinking.
ticipate, often when they are not directly involved in the care of that particular child and family. Then, she organizes the recommendations that come out of the staffing and arranges for appropriate followup, often by one of our administrators, usually our Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Folsom and our Medical Director, Dr. Len Lantz. Pandi received a standing ovation, and each of you who were not there to do so should give her this recognition the next time you see her, even though she might be bugging you to do something you don’t really want to. Cases that got away I went on to talk about what I think should be next for OOPS. The first thing relates to our failures ... two cases that got away from us. We need to examine what went wrong and what we can do better next time to avoid failure. It is too easy to pat ourselves on the back and say how good we are that only one got away. But if we are true to our UCC values, we must strive to never have a child go out of state for care. This leads to our second next direction. It may be time to expand the focus of OOPS from out-of-state placement avoidance, to avoidance of all placements that are more restrictive than absolutely necessary. Now I understand that there is no gold standard for what makes a placement appropriate and each professional has his or her own set of definitions. I myself believe that no child needs treatment in a placement more restrictive than a group home or therapeutic foster care. Others are more tolerant of some institutional residential alternatives ... some might even deem AWARE’s intensive group home at Galen to be such a program. The part of AWARE that works with individuals with developmental disabilities has for a long time reflected the prevailing spirit of that world in which institutionalization is seen as a crime and that all individuals deserve the right to live in a community. Now we must all get ourselves to that point. In light of this, the third new direction would be to expand OOPS beyond the youth services part of AWARE into our other service areas and to focus on other populations within the AWARE system of services. It has become clear to me that the entire developmental process for the UCC principles was done within our
Community-based plan The way we usually approach this is to recognize all of the needs of a specific child, his or her family and community that our partners feel need to be addressed in residential care and then develop a community-based plan addressing all concerns. At times, this is not that difficult to do when we just take the time to make it happen. Once we can spread our Unconditional Care philosophy to the rest of the community, including families, it will make our job much easier. And, it might even make OOPS staffings unnecessary. While I assigned each of these new directions a number, they do not have to be done in any particular order. We should branch out in all of these directions at once. We need more people to stand up and be like Pandi and the other AWARE award-winning employees in their devotion to the UCC principles and their application to all of the individuals and families we serve. Then all of us will have the opportunity to say OOPS more often and feel good about good we have done. Dr. Ira Lourie of Hagerstown, Md., serves as AWARE’s senior medical consultant. He is the author of Everything is Normal Until Proven Otherwise.
State ditches plans for new youth psychiatric facility
cause they cannot guarantee payment for bed here would also be an he state has days.” abandoned plans increased risk for youth to The Court Administo build a psychiatric trator argued that it did residential treatment fabe pushed deeper into the not have authority to cility for young people. commit the funds alAfter taking sugcriminal justice system if the located to 22 individual gestions last fall from judicial districts for that AWARE and two other only available secure in-state purpose. private agencies, the As of October, the Montana departments of beds were offered through agency had only five juCorrections and Public veniles placed in residenCorrections. Health and Human Sertial treatment facilities. It vices and the Office of said it planned to conthe Court Administrator tinue to work with existing in-state facilities to meet have given up on a proposal to build an 8-to-10-bed most of its needs. youth psychiatric residential treatment facility. By Jim Tracy
Medicaid as a source of funding The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, would have had to guarantee beds with general fund dollars, whether a bed was filled or empty. It would have been unable to use Medicaid funds to secure those beds. Statistics provided by the department show that three young people can be treated using Medicaid as a source of funding for every child who is reimbursed with money from the state’s general fund. Some youngsters now living in out-of-state facilities also have specialized treatment needs that probably cannot not be appropriately met by a single provider. The Department of Corrections determined that without the partnership of one or more agencies, it would have been cost prohibitive to pursue the request for proposals for a new facility on its own. “The feasibility of funding this type of program would only be possible with 20-30 beds, and DOC did not need that number of beds alone,” Matteucci reported. “There would also be an increased risk for youth to be pushed deeper into the criminal justice system if the only available secure in-state beds were offered through Corrections.” DPHHS officials felt that preliminary discussions with in-state providers had been promising and planned to continue to work with the other two state agencies and in-state providers “to develop further treatment options.”
AWARE learned of the decision on Nov. 14 after responding in September to a state request for information as a possible bidder for the facility. Also responding were Acadia of Montana, based in Butte, and Nexus, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. The information they submitted included suggestions about partnering with neighboring states, questions about the costs for improving infrastructure and estimated costs per day of care. The three state agencies involved in the decision whether to build the facility considered that information but backed out after a series of discussions and memo exchanges. It would cost too much According to a summary prepared by Deb Matteucci, behavioral health program facilitator, both Health and Human Services and Corrections determined it would cost too much to build a psychiatric facility on the scale envisioned last summer by the Department of Corrections. Steve Gibson, administrator of the Youth Services Division of the Department of Corrections, told the Legislature’s Law and Justice Interim Committee in April that the state would have to spend $4.4 million to $5 million to build a new facility and another $2 million to $3 million each year to run it. The Office of the Court Administrator said it could not join the other two in a request for proposals “be18
stone County, and Acadia in Butte-Silver Bow. Those private providers may reject “very difficult or aggressive youth” or they may not choose to accept a youth at the lower Medicaid rate, which happens routinely. Last January, the state reported that 63 youth involved in the juvenile justice system were placed out of Montana: 53 by youth probation and seven by youth corrections from either Pine Hills or Riverside. Three were placed from parole. “The youth in these placements have a variety of diagnoses and not all would require hospital-level psychiatric treatment,” according to the staff report. The cost for out-of-state treatment ranged from $160 a day for 43 children sent to Normative Services therapeutic group home in Wyoming to $954 a day for one child admitted to St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, N.D. One of the options for legislative action would have been a state-contracted or state-operated residential treatment facility or center in Montana for youth with mental illness. Montana hasn’t had such an option since the state closed its youth psychiatric hospital at Warm Springs in 1991 and several years later shut down a newer facility operated by Rivendell Behavioral Health Services in Billings. That facility is now a women’s prison. Since the children’s facility closed, the state has been deporting — in effect — children who become involved in the juvenile justice system or children deemed untreatable.
At the time of the meeting, DPHHS said it had insufficient demand to guarantee 8 to 10 beds yearly. The decision ends — at least for now — discussion of building a separate facility for youth with serious mental illness or emotional disturbance who need secure placement because of contact with law enforcement and the courts. In 2007, the state paid out $9.9 million in Medicaid dollars to out-of-state hospitals, treatment centers and therapeutic group homes for 211 Montana kids who were deemed untreatable here. Of those kids, 26 ended up in the criminal justice system and were ordered by the courts to undergo treatment out of state. The other 185 — all Medicaid eligible and all rejected for treatment by in-state providers — were placed out of state by the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Children end up at out-of-state facilities for a variety of reasons. One is the lack of options in Montana. Another is the law. State law prohibits mentally ill juvenile offenders from being placed in a youth correctional facility. Adults with serious mental illness who pose a danger to themselves or others may be committed to the state hospital at Warm Springs for treatment or diverted to a crisis center (if available), but Montana has no state-contracted or state-operated secure residential treatment facility for juvenile offenders. Consequently, the state relies on private providers of residential treatment: Shodair in Lewis and Clark County, Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Yellow-
Simple pleasures, like being curious, can lead to a healthier life Simple pleasures, like learning to play the guitar and paying attention to your surroundings, can lead to better health, according to British scientists.
family, friends, colleagues and neighbors will enrich your life and bring you support Be active — Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness
Researchers at the government think tank, Foresight, have devised a five-day program of social and personal activities that can improve mental wellbeing.
Be curious — Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you
In its “Mental Capital and Wellbeing” report, compiled by more than 400 scientists, Foresight proposes a campaign modeled on a nutrition initiative that encourages behavior that will make people feel better about themselves.
Learn — Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence Give — Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding.
Here are Foresight’s steps to happiness: Connect — Developing relationships with
Book Marks Book Marks Each issue of AWARE Ink includes a collection of books, articles, documents, texts, and even movies recommended by staff, covering a range of topics related to the work we do. This issue features titles suggested by Jim Tracy from the 2008 TASH Conference in Nashville, Tenn. Christmas in Purgatory Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan August 1966 Society took giant steps in the second half of the 20th century in its attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities. Rejection, isolation and abuse — common just 50 years ago — have given way, over the last 50 years in the United States and many other parts of the world, to acceptance and integration. People with disabilities who would have been warehoused in institutions in the 1950s and ’60s now live in their own homes, work at meaningful jobs and contribute in valuable ways to their communities. It hasn’t always been so, of course. To appreciate how far we’ve come (and we still have miles to go) we have to understand where we’ve been. A good reference point is Christmas in Purgatory — A Photographic Essay on Mental Retardation by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan, published in August 1966. Blatt, a professor at Syracuse University, and Kaplan, a freelance photographer, toured five institutions for the intellectually disabled in four Eastern states in mid-1960s. “There is a hell on earth, and in America there is a special inferno,” Blatt wrote in the introduction to the book. “We were visitors there during Christmas, 1965.” The places they visited shared a common architecture — massive, impenetrable buildings with bars on
the windows and locks — many locks — on the doors. Blatt observed and took mental notes while Kaplan, using a camera hidden in his belt, snapped pictures. Blatt’s report on the filth, neglect and abuse he observed, and Kaplan’s grainy photos shocked the nation and prompted a series of lawsuits that resulted in people with developmental disabilities moving out of institutions and into the community. “Our ‘Christmas in Purgatory’ brought us to the depths of despair,” Blatt wrote. “We now have a deep sorrow, one that will not abate until the American people are aware of—and do something about—the treatment of the severely mentally retarded in our state institutions. We have again been caused to realize that ‘Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.’ It is fitting that this book—our purgatory in black and white —was written on the 700th anniversary of the birth of Dante.” Because institutions continue to exist, it’s worth our time to consider how they once operated. Not very long ago. Christmas in Purgatory, now out of print, is available as a PDF at http://www.mnddc.org/parallels2/pdf/ Xmas-Purgatory.pdf. Or send an e-mail to jtracy@ aware-inc.org. Safely Home — A Profile of a Futures Planning Group Betty Atherton and Julie Shaw Cole The Advocado Press, 2008 Raymond’s family wanted for him what any family wants for a loved one — success, fulfillment, happiness. Safely Home tells the story of how Raymond and his family beat the odds and made his dreams become real using a new concepts in futures planning and supported living. Betty, Raymond’s mother, was up against the wall of her son’s disabilities. She tried every likely organiza-
tions and agency in her community (Louisville, Ky.), but none responded to her repeated pleas for support. Then she found Jo Ann Boyle who had new ideas — and new ways to realize them. Boyle’s technique of “blankpaper planning” offered a fresh view of Raymond’s potential and brought new hopes and dreams for Raymond and his family. Safely Home describes how they began to see that Raymond could change his life in ways they had never allowed themselves to even consider. They began to see him as a human being rather than a bundle of problems. Key was the futures planning group — family, friends, neighbors and local and statewide professionals in the disability field, who flowed in and out of a loosely organized circle as they were needed or as they felt able to contribute. All of them were there at Raymond’s invitation not because an agency decided who should be involved. Safely Home describes how they met — formally and informally over more than a decade — to help Raymond plan his own future. The book includes chapters with practical advice on choice, funding and support, including a description of Raymond’s “ideal support person.” Among the qualities of such a person is tenacity — “not giving up when things don’t work the first time.” Futures planning doesn’t ignore disability. It simply shifts the emphasis to a search for capacity in the person — the ability or power to do something. Safely Home is available from The Advocado Press in Louisville, Ky., www.advocadopress.org.
Winning card designs feature Christmas trees Art students in Kari Hoscheid’s class at Galen School submitted designs for this year’s AWARE Inc. holiday card. AWARE staff selected cards designed by Alex O. (at right) and Kadden C. (above). They each received $25 for their work. AWARE sent some 500 cards with their designs to customers and friends. The cards had this message inside:
So I say a silent prayer For creatures great and small Peace on earth, goodwill to men Is the greatest gift of all. The Greatest Gift of All — John Jarvis
We apprehend our god in the alternate voids and fullness of a cathedral; in the space that separates the salient fractures of a picture; in the living geometry of a flower, a seashell, and animal; in the pauses and intervals between the notes of music, in their differences of tones and sonority; and finally, on the plane of conduct, in the love and gentleness, the confidence and humility, which give beauty to the relationships between human beings. — Aldous Huxley You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot build character by taking away man’s initiative. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves. — Abraham Lincoln
Shawn Hansen. The band played popular porate Congress, jazz numbers for a among other things. crowd of approximately The instructions for 250 guests. the staff were made The guests – friends very simple. of AWARE, legislators Under no circumand staff – mingled for stances were they to an hour before Gov. direct the discussion Brian Schweitzer adof the committee or dressed the crowd. His inject their professpeech focused primarsional opinions. ily on the changes that They were there the country and, in only as reference turn, Montana could points, potential exexpect with the new perts in the subject presidential adminismatter, or gofers tration. Towards the to fill up the comend of the speech, mittee’s water and though, he offered coffee if needed. his thanks to those in From mid-mornattendance for supporting on Wednesday, ing the work by those after welcoming helping the “last and remarks from CEO the least” in the state. Noonan, the comFollowing the govermittees set about nor’s speech and dintheir work of revisGov. Brian Schweitzer speaks at the Corporate Congress Awards banquet. Photo ner, Dr. Ira Lourie gave ing, debating and by Kenton Rowe a talk entitled “OOPS, adapting their bills. I’ve Made Somebody Notes were written on easels, typed into computers Angry.” At the 2007 banquet, Dr. Lourie, in a speech and scribbled on legal pads; the formation of newer, titled “Say No to Texas,” talked about the ongoing combined bills took shape all around the large conferproblem of out-of-state placement of children from ence room. Montana.The 2008 speech was an update to the OOPS On the second day of the session the bills were shufprogram that focuses on keeping those children close fled. The workforce committee saw and amended the to home and serving them near the supports offered by bills of the community and service committees, and so their families and communities. on. This allowed for each bill to be viewed by differFollowing Dr. Lourie’s speech, CFO Geri Wyant ent eyes, and with the short amount of time given to presented the 2008 Unconditional Care Awards (a rundo so, the amendments and cuts were at times ruthless. down of the award winners can be found on Page 7). Several bills that were not protected by being comThe 10 principles of unconditional care for which the bined with others were cut completely, but not without awards are based guided both the night’s talking points heated protest from their authors during an hours-long and, for that matter, the work of the 2008 delegation, floor debate. By the end of the second day, 20 bills so it was fitting to have a chance for the organization remained from the original 30. The delegates and staff and everyone else in attendance to recognize the deterleft the day’s session exhausted and eager for a couple mination and selfless work of those around the state. hours’ rest before the banquet held the same evening. For the final morning of the 2008 Corporate ConThe 2008 Unconditional Care Awards banquet gress session the delegates presented the final 20 bills began on a lively note with entertainment provided by to AWARE’s Board of Directors, CEO Larry Noonan, the Anaconda High School Stage Band, directed by
Congress Continued on Page 24
COMING EVENTS Jan. 6 Griz Dip Planning Meeting – Missoula For details, contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls, 1-800-242-6876 email@example.com Jan. 12 The Vocational Profile: for teams that will be implementing customized employment with students and other job seekers. To attend, call the Rural Institute (406) 243-5467, or send email address to firstname.lastname@example.org 1 – 3 p.m.
Feb. 7 Penguin Plunge — Whitefish For details, contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls at 1-800-242-6876 email@example.com
Jan. 15 Winter Games Management Meeting — Whitefish For details, contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls, 1-800-242-6876 firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 14 Sweetheart Passion Plunge — Helena For details contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls at 1-800-242-6876 email@example.com
Jan. 15 Glacier Area AMT Meeting — Kalispell For details, contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls, 1-800-242-6876 firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 16 President’s Plunge — Bozeman, MT For details contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls at 1-800-242-6876 email@example.com
Jan. 21 Statewide Independent Living Council Wingate Inn, 2007 N. Oakes, Helena Contact Julie Clay (406) 444-4175 firstname.lastname@example.org 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Feb. 17 Customized Planning Meeting for teams that will be implementing customized employment with students and other job seekers. To attend, call the Rural Institute (406) 243-5467, or send email address to email@example.com 1 – 3 p.m.
Jan. 21-March 11 TASH Webinar, Asset Building for Individuals with Disability To attend go to http://www.tash.org/index.html
Feb. 19 Governors Committee on Telecommunications Access Quarterly Meeting Wilderness Room, 2401 Colonial Dr., Helena Contact Person, Connie Phelps (406) 444-1335 10 a.m.
Feb. 8 Statewide Independent Living Council Wingate Inn, 2007 N. Oaks, Helena Contact Person, Mike Hermanson (406) 444-4175, mhermanson@ mt.gov 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jan. 26-27 PHHV Reassment Project Cogswell Building rooms 207 & 209, Helena Contact Mark Squires (406) 444-2660 firstname.lastname@example.org 8:30 a.m.
Feb. 20 Health Care for Health Care Workers Work Group DPHHS Cogswell Room C205-207, Helena Contact Person, Abby Hulme (406) 444-4564 email@example.com 1 – 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 10th Annual Super Grizzly Dip — Missoula, MT For details contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls, 1-800242-6876 firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 21 Pintler Polar Plunge — Anaconda For details contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls at 1-800-242-6876 email@example.com
Feb. 2 Adult DD Service Providers – Who are they and what do they do? To attend, call the Rural Institute (406) 243-5467, or send email address to firstname.lastname@example.org 1 - 2:30 p.m.
Feb. 22-24 State Winter Games — Whitefish For details, contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls at 1-800-242-6876 email@example.com
Feb. 2 - March 10 TASH Webinar, Inclusive Educations: Strategies for Success To attend. go to http://www.tash.org/index.html
March 7 LETR Kickoff Conference — Grouse Mountain Lodge, Whitefish For details, contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls at 1-800-242-6876 firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 6 to 13 World Winter Games — Boise, Idaho For details, contact Special Olympics Montana, Great Falls at 1-800-242-6876 email@example.com
— Compiled by Bryan Noonan
Dave Caldwell, Billings representative, presents his bill to fellow delegates, CEO Larry Noonan, members of the board, Dr. Ira Lourie and medical director Dr. Len Lantz. Photo by Tim Pray
Congress... medical director Dr. Len Lantz and chief medical consultant Dr. Ira Lourie. One by one, the author(s) of the bills read them to the assembled group and took feedback. At no point, though, was a bill rejected by a member of the board, Noonan, Lantz or Lourie. The leadership team, led by director of staff management Leighanne Fogerty, will now be charged with taking the 20 measures and implementing them throughout the course of the upcoming year. In 2007, 23 measures were passed on the final day of the
Corporate Congress session, and the majority of them have been implemented. Major changes such as the purchase of more than 100 new computers and the implementation of the video-conferencing equipment are products of Corporate Congress recommendations. By looking through the recommendations of the 2008 Corporate Congress, a good sense of the upcoming yearâ€™s organizational plan can be had, offering a level of transparency that is seldom seen in organizations of AWAREâ€™s size.
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