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July/August 2009 Volume 3, Number 4

INK The Right the Right the Right Time!

Fiscal operations manager to tackle internal audits


awn Ingersoll, AWARE’s new fiscal operations manager, moved into her office in the administration building on East Park Avenue in Anaconda in June. It’s located, fittingly, in the center of the first floor, just steps away from the day-to-day operations she’ll be managing: accounts payable, accounts receivable and the front desk. She’ll also oversee AWARE’s medical records department at Galen. “I also will be assisting Geri (Wyant) with financial and accounting information,” Ingersoll said. “And don’t forget the one aspect that can sometimes turn out to be a whole new job description.... ‘and any other tasks assigned by your supervisor.’” Just a week into her new position, Ingersoll was busy learning how AWARE operates while meeting new people and getting adjusted to the job. “I do like the job,” she said. “I think it will present challenges as well as rewards. With only two and a half days into the job, I think that the people in these departments are dedicated and committed to providing quality results, and I’m confident that we’ll have a positive working relationship going forward.” Once Ingersoll is settled in, she and CFO Wyant will work together on financial planning and administration for the corporation. Part of that will involve refining procedures for routine internal audits, one of Ingersoll’s areas of expertise. See Fiscal Operations Page 3

Dawn Ingersoll is looking forward to challenges of managing fiscal operations.

Service Corps loan program pays off for AWARE staff By Jim Tracy

A staff psychiatrist and two AWARE clinicians

have taken advantage of a national program that helped cover the cost of their post-graduate education and made health-care professionals available to rural communities at the same time. Psychiatrist Dr. Len Lantz of Helena, Bryan Curry, a youth counselor at Galen, and Connie Burnett, an Early Head Start counselor in Dillon, each participated


Note to staff and friends

— Page 2

Transportation director hired — Page 3

in the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program. The Corps helps so-called “health professional shortage areas” in the United States get the medical, dental and mental health providers they need to meet a desperate need for health care. Since 1972, more than 30,000 clinicians have served in the Corps, expanding access to health services and improving the health of people who live in urban and rural areas where health care is scarce. See Service Corps on Page 4 DD services focus of study — Page 6

It’s a great time to buy a house — Page 8

ShrinkWrap with Dr. Lourie — Page 18

Board says ‘thank you’ for your hard work Dear Staff and Friends,

offered as a token of our thanks and gratitude for your hard work.” This issue of Ink will feature news of some more of AWARE’s advancements and expansions, including stories about two new key positions that have been filled and a briefing on the Montana Mental Health/ Head Start Consortium that was held in May in Billings. You’ll read a story on AWARE professionals who are involved with the National Health Service Corps shortage area program. You’ll see a photo spread from the Special Olympics Montana State Games, which were held at Montana State University in May. AWARE’s Anaconda team, the AWARE Recyclers, placed well at the competition and each member of the team was sporting a new uniform. You’ll read a piece written by Michael O’Neil, director of the Montana Home Choice Coalition, on how to buy a home. Michael points out that it’s a perfect time to do so. I always hope that – in writing these letters to you in the beginning of this publication – the emphasis put on the fact that you’re doing tremendous things is not lost. The bonuses that went out are another form of that emphasis – a gesture that we decided might underscore the fact that what you have done for AWARE and, more importantly, the people you serve, has not gone unnoticed.

Almost every one of these letters begins with glowing summations of the successes we’re seeing in communities across the state. And that’s the purpose of this – to offer a few thoughts on what we’re up to as an organization. It’s hard not to be glowing. In this letter, though, I want to take the appraisal a step further. AWARE employees received a letter on July 1 from Jack Haffey, president of our Board of Directors and myself explaining that, because of our successes over the last year, we have distributed bonuses. In addition, we’re pleased to announce that we will continue Larry Noonan with our tradition of annual salary increases. To be sure, we are in blessed position. As the letter stated, the last year has been abysmal for the country, and nonprofit-human service organizations have certainly not been immune to the poor economic climate. Some groups around the country have been forced to shut their doors altogether, providing services one day and packing up the next. So, while many continue to face the grim reality of cutbacks and closures, we’re able to keep focusing of expansions and openings. In the letter, Jack said it well: “Larry and I believe that last year’s success, which included the development of highly-specialized services for youth with autism – in particular, the opening of an additional group home in both Missoula and Bozeman for children who have historically been served out-of-state. In addition to this, the organization expanded services in several different communities, refined our telepsychiatry services, increased school-based and Head Start services, and fostered our Unconditional Care Philosophy to each and every individual and family receiving services. All of this is due to your hard work and dedication. Our clients continue to be given tremendous opportunities through your work, which has resulted in phenomenal success…This bonus is

Thank you.

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 Russell Carstens Stephen Addington 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 ©2009, 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:

Transportation chief looks to improve service Each month AWARE puts 50,000 miles on its

Before that he served as Butte-Silver Bow’s finance and budget director. His position with AWARE, though, brings him back to his first job with local government in Butte after graduating with a degree in business administration/ accounting from the University of Montana in 1978. “When I first graduated college, I was hired as the transit director for Butte-Silver Bow and so it’s been interesting to deal with some of the same issues that I was dealing with back then.... and to actually work with some of the same people as I was working with back then,” he said. “It’s as if I have come full circle.” Shea described his duties as transportation coordinator as “far reaching.” “Transportation is associated in some form with just about every service AWARE provides,” he said. A big part of his job will involve looking for sources of funds that will allow the corporation to replace aging vehicles. “As a rule, this is accomplished through the grant process, so grant writing will play a prominent part,” Shea said. “Obviously, this is by no means inclusive. As a new position, I think the job will continually evolve.” Shea is married to the former Lisa Blaskovich (born and reared in Anaconda). Their son, Dylan, age 9, will be a fourth-grader at Butte Central Elementary in the fall. — By Jim Tracy

fleet of 100 vehicles. “As such, our vehicles are in constant need of maintenance, repair and replacement,” says new transportation coordinator Mike Shea. “With that in mind, I think one of the chief duties I have is to determine what can be done to make the transportation services we provide more efficient and more effective given the resources we have to work with.” Shea, 54, joined AWARE last month after spending two years as a case manager for the Watch Mike Shea brings transit and Program operated by budget experience to new Community Counselposition. ing and Corrections Services at Warm Springs.

Fiscal operations...

where she was responsible for tracking and reporting all construction costs and administering contracts for 21 subcontractors during the course of fast-track construction of a 60-million-gallon-a-year biodiesel refinery. She was the payroll and benefits coordinator for 450-plus employees at CCCS Inc. in Butte from 2001-2007. Ingersoll and her husband, Mark, have three children: Megan, 13; Matthew, 9; and Maire (pronounced Mary), 7.

Continued from Page 1

“Dawn comes to AWARE with tremendous experience and qualifications,” Wyant said. “I plan to draw on her expertise in a number of areas, especially internal audits.” Ingersoll received a bachelor’s degree in business from Montana Tech in 2001 and has taken additional courses at Tech in auditing and auditing compliance toward a master’s degree. She earned an associate’s degree in business from State University of New York Regents College in Albany in 1998. Before joining AWARE, she served as assistant treasurer and logistics administrator for Ova Biosource Fuels, Inc./Biosource America, Inc. in Butte.,

Student of the Month Congratulations to Butte fifth-grader Alex Osier. Alex was chosen as April’s Student of the Month at the Hope Avenue Program at Whittier School.


Service Corps...

Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wis., where he was a child/adolescent psychiatry fellow from 2003-2005 and a general psychiatry resident from 2000-2003. The loan repayment program recruits both cliniLantz joined the AWARE Medical Team in July cians just completing training and seasoned professionals to meet the immediate need for care throughout 2005, after having completed his fellowship at the University of Wisconsin. the country. “I would recommend the program to anyone who It provides $50,000 (or the outstanding balance of wants to further their education and qualifying student loans if it is less he value of the is willing to work in a rural area,” than $50,000), tax free, to primary said Burnett, who earned her mascare medical, dental and mental program is sigter’s in counseling from the Unihealth clinicians in exchange for versity of Great Falls. “I was very two years of service at an approved pleased to have my student loan site in a Health Professional Short- nificant considering paid for. I also enjoy where I work.” age Area. Upon completion of the Burnett was obligated to work service commitment, clinicians may the money given to the in Beaverhead and Madison counbe eligible to apply for additional clinician is worth more ties to fulfill her commitment. Her support for extended service. student loan was for $50,000. The program was a boon for She received the full amount at than the listed dollar Lantz. the beginning of her commitment. “It helped to pay down some “I was audited one time,” she said. amount because the of my school loans from under“The professionals at NHSC were graduate college and medical school always helpful with questions I had (Perkins Loans and subsidized and money is tax-free. — and were friendly during the audit.” unsubsidized Stafford Loans) after I Burnett received her bachelor of Dr. Len Lantz entered the workforce,” he said. science degree in community health He took part in the NHSC Loan education from Eastern Washington Repayment Program from 2005University in Cheney, Wash, 2008 in Butte, Anaconda and Dillon. Curry, another UGF graduate, has a mixed assess“The value of the program is significant considering ment of the program. the money given to the clinician is worth more than “I feel it is an excellent program,” he said. “It’s helpthe listed dollar amount because the money is taxful to graduates out there who are working to get their free,” he said loans repaid.” Overall, he found the experience was positive “alStill, he said, the disbursement of funds in his case though there were a few bureaucratic hoops to jump “was not always timely.” through.” Curry earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with Lantz noted that participants have little interaction a minor in psychology from the University of Great with NHSC after the contract is in place. Falls. He received his master’s in counseling from “You just go to work as usual, and your student loans start to melt away – which feels pretty good,” he UGF. He repaid his loan by working at Crossroads. Carter Anderson, who coordinates the program said. for AWARE, explained that NHSC disburses money Lantz earned a bachelor of arts degree in genetics for loans until they are paid off at the rate of $15,000 and cell and development biology from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in 1995. He earned his med- each for years 1 and 2; $25,000 each for years 3 and 4; ical degree at the University of South Dakota School of $15,000.00 year 5; and $10,000 for each additional year until the loans are paid. Medicine in Vermillion, S.D., in 2000. “Most clinician are paid off by year two or three,” The remainder of his training was paid post-graduAnderson said. “The benefit to AWARE is generally in ate specialization: 2000-2005 University of Wisconsin Continued from Page 1



recruitment and retention. I would encourage staff to apply if they are in a position that would allow for it.” Here are the slots and locations available within AWARE communities: Butte – One full-time medical doctor; one full-time licensed clinical psychologist and one full-time social worker Anaconda – One full-time licensed clinical psychologist and one full-time social worker Dillon – One full-time licensed clinical psychologist and one full-time social worker Miles City – One full-time licensed clinical psychologist and one full-time social worker Glendive – One full-time licensed clinical psychologist and one full-time social worker Townsend – One full-time licensed clinical psychologist and one full-time social worker Missoula – One full-time medical doctor; one fulltime licensed clinical psychologist and one full-time social worker The loan repayment program offers fully trained primary care physicians (medical doctor or osteopath), family nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists and certain mental health clinicians $50,000 to repay student loans in exchange for two years serving in a community-based site in a high-need health professional shortage area that has applied to and been approved by the NHSC as a service site. AWARE has been an approved site for six years. After completing their two years of service, those who have repaid their loans may apply for additional years of support. To be eligible for a loan, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen and trained and credentialed in an eligible primary care discipline: Those who are repaying loans negotiate their salaries with the employing site, but the NHSC requires that they be paid at least as much as they would in an equivalent federal civil service position. In some cases, those repaying loans fulfill their service commitment in their own or an established private practice in a health professional shortage area. All approved sites accept Medicare, Medicaid and provide services on a sliding fee scale or other method that enables poor and uninsured patients to receive care whether or not they are insured or able to pay.

Loan repayers fulfill their service commitments by providing full-time clinical care (at least 40 hours each week), with at least 32 of those hours in the ambulatory care setting. For behavioral and mental health providers, at least 21 hours of the 40 hours per week must be spent providing direct patient counseling during normally scheduled office hours in an ambulatory outpatient care setting in specified offices. Remaining hours must be spent providing clinical services in alternative settings, or performing practice-related administrative activities. Administrative activities may not exceed 8 hours per week. The NHSC program got a boost this year from the Recovery Act. Awards will be made on an ongoing basis for eligible applicants whose applications are complete and who are working at an approved site from June 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010 or as funding permits, whichever comes first. All eligible applications with Health Profession Shortage Area scores ranging from the highest to a zero will be funded each cycle until funds are exhausted. So, applicants should apply early. Cycle 1 – July 16, 2009 Cycle 2 - August 27, 2009 Cycle 3 – November 19, 2009 Cycle 4 – February 25, 2010 Cycle 5 – April 29, 2010 Cycle 6 – July 29, 2010 About half of all NHSC clinicians work in Health Resources and Services Administration-supported health centers, which deliver preventive and primary care services to patients regardless of their ability to pay. About 40 percent of health center patients have no health insurance. Did You Know? „„ The National Health Service Corps has 3,800

clinicians in service; „„ About four million people receive health care from NHSC clinicians; „„ There are more than 7,000 job vacancies for NHSC primary care medical, dental and mental health clinicians


Interim study focusing on DD, mental health Committee charged with finding ways to improve services in communities By Jim Tracy


legislative committee that oversees issues related to health and human services during the interims between legislative sessions will be counting on AWARE and other providers for information about community services for people with developmental disabilities. The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee met June 2 in Helena to chart its work for the next 15 months. The committee has adopted a work plan that outlines how much time it will spend on two studies assigned to the committee by legislative leaders. They are: „„ a study requested through Senate Joint Resolution 35 of matters relating to health care, including monitoring of federal health care reforms and reviewing of proposals by state groups to reform health care and reduce health care costs, and „„ the House Joint Resolution 39 study of community services for people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Legal responsibility The committee also will decide how to proceed with its legal responsibility to provide oversight to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. Senate members of the committee are Roy Brown, R-Billings;

Christine Kaufmann, D-Helena; Rick Laible, R-Darby; and Trudi Schmidt, D-Great Falls. House members are Mary Caferro, DHelena; Gary MacLaren, R-Victor; Penny Morgan, R-Billings; and Diane Sands, D-Missoula. The 2009 Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 39 for a study of the development of additional community services for people with developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental illness. Legislators ranked the study 13th in their post-session poll of interim studies. The Legislative Council assigned the study to the Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee in May 2009, to be conducted at the staff level with the findings presented to the Committee in a white paper. Montana, as a state, adopted a policy in the mid-1970s of moving people with mental illnesses and with developmental disabilities out of state institutions and into community settings. As a result, hundreds of people 6

who once would have lived at the Montana Developmental Center in Boulder and the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs are now living in cities and towns across the state, with varying degrees of assistance. However, according to study plan prepared by Sue O’Connell, research analyst with the Legislative Services Division, waiting lists still exist for some community services. And some people with developmental disabilities who also have a mental illness may act out in ways that result in contact with the justice system and, for some, incarceration. Children and adults House Joint Resolution 39 proposed to study the development of additional community services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness and identify any issues that have limited the creation of services for those individuals. O’Connell said staff will tap a variety of resources to complete the study, including: „„ Disability Services Division of the Department of Public Health and Human Services; „„ Montana Developmental Center staff; „„ Department of Corrections staff, particularly the staff member assigned to liaison with DPHHS on issues related to mental illness; „„ Associations representing DD providers, advocates for the developmentally disabled and people with mental illnesses, and law enforcement; and „„ Individual DD providers as needed.

“Based on my conversation with people, what interests they have and what their needs might be, we’ll develop a plan,” O’Connell said. The study will include the following activities: 1. Collection of information and stakeholder comment: June 2009-January 2010. Staff will meet with the state agencies that provide services to people with developmental disabilities and with other stakeholders to determine:

„„ existing community services; „„ services that may be useful but are lacking; „„ whether certain areas of the state lack services to a greater degree than other areas and, if so, how communi-

ties in those areas could address the lack of services; how individuals are identified to receive services; „„ provider willingness to serve the identified population; and „„ estimated costs of providing additional services and related considerations.

O’Connell said staff will contact stakeholders individually as needed and may arrange one or more meetings of interested parties to brainstorm ideas. 2. Draft white paper: JanuaryMarch 2010. Staff will analyze the information collected and draft a white paper for presentation to the Committee in March. The committee

will review the white paper during the March 2010 meeting and provide direction on further action desired, if any. 3. Review of any additional materials requested from MayAugust 2010. Staff will compile for the committee’s final meetings any additional materials requested by the committee. The committee will review additional materials and provide direction at May and/or June 2010 meetings. Final action on any requested materials will take place at the August 2010 meeting.

Fish tale Troy Miller shows off a rainbow trout he landed June 13 at a pond near Warm Springs. Miller and a dozen or so other anglers from AWARE group homes in Anaconda reeled in a mess of trout and a lot of fun thanks to folks from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Mark Sweeney, manager of the Washoe Park Trout Hatchery in Anaconda, coordinated the event with the local Kiwanis Club. FW&P supplied the rods, reels, bobbers, hooks, worms and fish. In late May, the department stocked the pond with hundreds of 12-inch rainbow trout and a dozen or so six-pound-and-up brood fish raised at the Jocko River Trout Hatchery in Arlee. FW&P has been sponsoring the fishing day at the ponds for people with disabilities for more than 12 years. The Kiwanis Club supplied hot dogs, chips and juice for the anglers. Photo by Michael Anne Tracy


Home sweet home With tax credits and other incentives, it’s a great time to buy a house By Michael O’Neil

home without ever even checking it out. They simply believe they iven all the bad can’t afford a house. To become economic news over the a homeowner, you first have to past year, it would be dream. You must be open to the easy to miss out on one bit of good possibility. Our frequent Montana news — if you have always wanted Home Choice Coalition mantra is: to become a homeowner, now is a “Opportunity comes to those who great time to buy a house. prepare.” Today is the day to get AWARE Montana Home started. Choice Coalition can help open Is home-ownership up home-ownership opportunities the right choice for you? and other housing choices for Buying a home is an important Montana families and individuals decision and can be a complex with disabilities including seniors. and challenging process. Patience, To date the Coalition has directly realistic expectations and a assisted 87 homeowners with willingness to work hard to disabilities to achieve their home- achieve your home-ownership goal ownership dream. are required. Learning about and Home ownership is an preparing for home-ownership is important housing choice that may the important first step. be affordable even for families with Have you decided that you very low incomes. want to settle down in a specific Improving a family’s housing community or neighborhood situation creates a strong and accept the responsibilities of foundation for success. Helping home-ownership, or do you prefer a family improve the stability, the flexibility of renting? affordability, quality, and Do you have a history of paying accessibility of their housing can your bills on time? If you have make a lasting difference in their or had debt or credit problems, lives. do you know where you can find The Coalition is just an e-mail assistance in cleaning up your click or phone call away. credit history and put yourself on Great new opportunities are a financial path that could lead to available to support becoming home-ownership? a homeowner. Many of the Do you have the required programs that support individuals financial resources? Do you know and families with disabilities to about community resources that become homeowners may help may make home-ownership more you, depending upon your family’s attainable for you? What specific total income. If you are interested kind of help is available to you in in becoming a homeowner, give us buying a home? a call. Are houses available for sale Many people rule out buying a in your community in your price



range? Which specific mortgage product is the best option for you to finance a home purchase? The Montana Home Choice Coalition, a certified HUD counseling agency, can help you explore these questions and others on the road to home-ownership. The Coalition provides individual pre-purchase homeownership counseling, community resource referral and homeownership advocacy services to assist people with disabilities in exploring home-ownership opportunities and obtaining referrals and information about home-ownership resources in their communities. The Coalition identifies all potential resources that can help a family buy a home, providing accurate and complete information to allow families to decide which housing choices work best for their needs. The Coalition provides linkages to home-ownership education, home-buyer assistance, homeownership savings, credit counseling, and lenders. It works with families as a guide, coach and problem solver as families move through the process of buying a home. It shares its expertise and knowledge of options working with other agencies, real estate agents and lenders to help families achieve home-ownership. The Coalition helps families overcome barriers that arise in buying a home and works to expand the resources available

The North Missoula Community Development Corporation Homes at Burns Street Commons in Missoula are an example of a home-ownership opportunity available now.

to support home-ownership for individuals and families with disabilities. It works closely with partners such as Neighborworks Montana, Montana Board of Housing, Rural Development, HUD, Section 8 programs, Public Housing Authorities, HRDC’s and other community partners throughout the state to open new opportunities for home-ownership and remove historic barriers to making home-ownership available for Montanans with disabilities. First-time home buyer $8,000 tax credit First-time home buyers purchasing a home in 2009 before December 1, 2009, are eligible for

an $8,000 federal first-time home buyer tax credit. You may have heard about this family friendly piece of the federal stimulus funding. The tax credit is refundable, meaning that even if you do not owe or pay federal taxes, you may receive this credit. For a home purchased in 2009, the credit does not have to be paid back unless the home ceases to be the taxpayer’s main residence within a three-year period following the purchase. Further, it is immediately available once you close on your house. There are strategies you can follow to access this funding in advance of closing. In May, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan told us 9

it is highly likely that a tax credit may be available in 2010 as well if Congress approves. The 2009 credit is available now. For more tax credit info visit: www.federalhousingtaxcredit. com/2009/index.html or article/0,,id=187935,00.html. Housing prices are more affordable. For the first time in years in Montana, home prices are stabilizing and not rapidly increasing. In some parts of the state, house prices are actually dropping, and that’s good news for first-time home buyers. Go to Continued on Page 10

and see what housing prices are in your community. Perhaps a condo, town-home or modular/manufactured home on a permanent foundation on a lot you own might be the more affordable pathway to buying your first home.

will help you save thousands of dollars. Neighborworks Montana offers Home Buyer Education classes in all parts of Montana. To see when a class is available next in your area go to: schedule.html

Interest rates are at historic lows Interest rates continue to be at the lowest levels in years. The Montana Board of Housing offers a variety of advantageous financing options for firsttime home buyers throughout Montana. Depending upon where you live (outside the city limits of Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula) Rural Development Housing offers affordable financing options as well. Conventional financing rates are more affordable than they’ve ever been before.

Help with your down payment Saving for a down payment is often a real challenge for families. We can help link folks to programs that match their savings. The matched savings programs combined may provide as much as $2, $3 or $5 for every dollar you save.

Home buyer assistance programs help close the affordability gap We have been assisting even very low income households become homeowners through new opportunities like the Housing Section 8 Home-ownership Federal stimulus community program, and federally funded funding opening up new homecommunity home buyer assistance ownership possibilities programs. Many communities around Section 8 — a foundation for the state will be offering unique successful home-ownership opportunities to buy affordable The Housing Choice Voucher homes through the Neighborhood Section 8 Home-ownership option Stabilization Program over creates a strong foundation of the next 18 months. Many success for home-ownership. communities will be buying Here’s the basic concept: instead and renovating blighted or of using the housing voucher foreclosed homes to improve local subsidy to help with rent, the neighborhoods and communities. home-ownership option allows These homes may offer affordable a first-time homeowner to use a home-ownership for you. We can voucher subsidy to meet monthly help you know what is becoming home-ownership expenses. available in your area. Section 8 voucher holders with a disability can receive housing Home-buyer education is the assistance payment for the full first step on the road to hometerm of home financing and ownership beyond. People with disabilities A first required step is becoming have a big advantage under the educated. Home-buyer education 10

Section 8 option. For folks with very low incomes, the Section 8 HomeOwnership option can bring home-ownership within reach with additional support through community home-buyer assistance programs, affordable first mortgage financing, and one-time personal opportunities like a back-payment, inheritance, family gift, or insurance settlement. Section 8 Home-ownership saves both the homeowner and the Section 8 program significant money long term. Home buyer assistance programs Every area of the state has first-time homebuyer assistance programs that can provide no-interest, due-on-sale loans to help make buying a home more affordable. The Coaltion can help you connect to these opportunities. Depending on where you live, assistance levels may be $10,000, $20,000 or even $40,000. These funds are provided as loans that for the most part you do not repay until you sell your home, or after you pay off your first mortgage. Most programs require that you share the appreciated value of the home after you sell it in a percentage equal to the assistance provided to you in the purchase. To see programs available in Montana go to: local/mt/homeownership/ buyingprgms.cfm. Credit problems got you down? Many people fear that credit problems may keep them from buying a home. Bad credit can be

a barrier to buying a home. You need to first identify whether you do have a credit problem. Every American is eligible to receive one free credit report each year from one of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can get your free credit report by going to: or by calling 1-877-322-8228. You will want to get a free credit report from each of the reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You will need some basic info when you go on-line or when you call about your past addresses, and previous bank accounts or credit accounts to identify yourself. Obtaining these reports on-line will give you the reports immediately as well as an opportunity to dispute incorrect listings. The phone option will deliver you a report in 15 days or less. If you have credit problems, you first want to commit to paying all of your bills on time from now on. Time can cure many credit problems. You can get help in working through credit problems through Montana Consumer Credit Counseling with offices statewide. To contact them, go to: or call 1-877-ASK-CCCS. No credit history – no problem Many persons with disabilities lack a traditional credit history featuring credit card accounts, and loans, etc., but have long histories of paying their regular bills on time, such as rent, utilities, insurance, and telecommunications. The absence of a credit history is

no longer a barrier when obtaining a mortgage. Many financing options recognize non-traditional credit histories of paying your regular bills in a timely fashion. We can help you document this nontraditional credit history when you are applying for a home mortgage. All banks need to know is that you pay your bills on time, and honor your obligations. Your history of paying all your bills on time establishes you as credit -worthy — a person a lender is willing to give a home mortgage. Many people with disabilities live on extremely low incomes and are among the best budgeters because they must be in order to get through month to month. This type of history of living within your means (no matter how small) is favorable when buying a house. You want to be sure that household accounts are in the name of the person buying the house, even if they have a payee. Now is the time Whether you will buy a home in 2009, in 2010, in 2011 or some other time depends on getting started today. For some people, buying a home may come quickly; for others, it may take a number of years to get prepared. Whatever your situation, you need to get started in exploring this option. Even if you never a buy a home, the process of exploring homeownership will help you in a variety of other ways: improving your current housing situation, giving you better understanding of your finances, helping you avoid being taken advantage of, 11

and giving you more control and choice in your life. Exploring home-ownership doesn’t cost anything. More likely you will learn things that will put more money in your pocket now and in the future. Long term, buying a home is actually a less expensive housing option if an affordable financing package can be put together. Owning versus renting may save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your housing lifetime. Once you sit down and explore the issue, you may discover you can’t afford not to own a house. Do you want to find out if home-ownership may be possible for you? If you or a member of your family has a disability and wants to see if home-ownership is an attainable housing choice, contact the Montana Home Choice Coalition at: 449-3120 ext. 11 (office); or montanahomechoicecoalition@ (email); www. (web site) Michael O’Neil directs the Montana Home Choice Coalition in Helena. In the next issue, he’ll explore housing assistance programs and affordable housing resources that may be available in your community. He’ll also review the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), public housing, Project Based Section 8, Rural Development, Low Income Housing Tax Credit and HOME and CDBG funded housing.

Photo by Jim Tracy

AWARE athletes and coaches returned with 14 medals from the Special Olympics Montana State Summer Games in Bozeman. AWARE’s contingent won medals in walking, running, bicycling, bocci and bowling. They are, left to right, Jay Arensmeyer, Russell Carstens, Dan Bowen, Heather Arnaud, Bill Massey (coach), Brandi Wilson, Judy Armbruster, Aimee Roberson (in front) Leslie Huber (coach) and Henry Huot (coach). They joined a thousand other athletes who competed in the four-day event. The theme of the Olympics this year was: “When You Cheer Me On, My Voice Gets Louder.”

Photo by Jim Tracy Photo by Tim Pray

Brandi Wilson, at left, leads the AWARE Recyclers a they march into grand opening ceremonies at the Montana Special Olympics Summer Games in May in Bozeman.

Judy Armbruster releases her ball in the bocce competition.


Athletes in Action

Results of AWARE athletes competing in Special Olympics Montana State Summer Games: Jay Arensmeyer: gold, team bocci; silver, bowling Russell Carstens: gold, 1-kilometer bicycle race; gold, 5-kilometer bicycle race Dan Bowen: gold, team bocci; gold, bowling Heather Arnaud: gold, 200-meter run; bronze, 100-meter run; gold, bowling Brandi Wilson: gold, bowling; gold, shotput (7.06 meters) Judy Armbruster: gold, bowling; gold, team bocci

Photo by Jim Tracy

Aimee Roberson: gold, 100-meter walk; 5th, bowling;

Photo by Jim Tracy

Dan Bowen, Judy Armbruster and Jay Arensmeyer (photo above) pose with their medals at the bowling competition. Aimee Roberson shows off her medals at the Brick Breeden Field House, at right. In the photo top left, Russell Carstens speeds around the track in the 5-kilometer bicycle race.


Photo by Tim Pray

Photos by Tim Pray

More than 100 people attended AWARE’s second annual Montana Mental Health-Head Start Consortium May 27 in Billings.

Consortium underscores partnership with Head Start statewide community of the collaboration between AWARE and Head Start. Head Start, as a part of its federal ore than 100 people gathered mandate, provides each child with a menat St. Vincent Hospital’s tal health screening upon entry into the Mansfield Health Education program. For children and families who Center in Billings on May 27 for the secare able to benefit from mental health ond annual Montana Mental Health-Head supports (by meeting the state’s required Start Consortium. diagnoses of having severe emotional Those in attendance spent the day disturbances) AWARE’s children’s mental listening to the expertise of professionals health staff are available within the classfrom the medical, research and advocacy/ room to provide a seamless educational/ education fields. The intent was for people support environment. to leave the event further equipped with “We want to show the people who are knowledge that can assist them as they involved with early education, intervenhelp children and families succeed in tion and prevention just how good this Head Start classrooms. model is,” said Kelly. “Having everything The consortium is quickly becoming in one place is so beneficial for children an established event that is available to the and families, and the educators, for that early educators of the state at no cost. “It underscores the relationship bePLUK founder and consortium speaker matter.” Katherin Kelker is the director of Head The event’s speakers represented some tween AWARE and its Head Start partStart in Billings. of the different schools of discipline ners across the state,” said Mike Kelly, involved with early education, intervention and prevention. AWARE Support Services Service Director who, along The first presenter was AWARE Medical Director Dr. Len with Danielle Eldridge, MSW, Program Director for Lantz. His presentation was entitled: “Skills Over Pills: AWARE Support Services as they relate to Head Start, Non-Medicated Interventions to Childhood Behavioral and coordinated the event. “What is significant about it,” continued Kelly, “is that it Emotional Problems and Crisis Response.” His presentation offered different methods of working is the only statewide training being offered that is excluwith children who are prone to tantrums, are inflexible sively dedicated to the mental health issues, strategies and or present other symptoms of emotional disturbances. It services affecting Head Start programs.” covered the importance of collaborative problem-solving The consortium is a tangible representation for the By Tim Pray



children’s mental health work,” said Jeff Folsom, AWARE Chief of Operations. “One problem has been, though, is that it is so difficult to remain focused upon it when there are kids who are presenting symptoms of severe emotional disturbances right now and in the open…it’s impossible to ignore. The key – and what we’re trying so hard to do – is to serve those kids and their families who need some support with those heavy issues, but also working to help families before the problems even begin. “With the Early Head Start into the collaboration with Head Start, we think we’ve got a model and system of care that works to everyone’s advantage.”

skills that translate well in the classroom, and the reality of medication for children who are as young as those enrolled in the Head Start program. Dr. Lantz stated that, for children that young whose brains haven’t yet fully developed, medication doesn’t always need to be the primary plan for treating emotional problems. Daphne Herling, Director of Montana KIDS COUNT, was the second presenter. KIDS COUNT is a project funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Its annual data book offers dozens of indicators of child well-being on the state level. Ms. Herling’s presentation: “How Our Work Counts: The Strengths and Limitations of Data and How We Talk About It,” stressed the importance of understanding the nature of the numbers that are consistently used to represent the population served by the Head Start program. In the early education and prevention world, Herling stated in her presentation that data are needed to illustrate the purpose of the progam’s story, to justify the claims of need for it, to document the effectiveness of the services, and finally, to describe the region, population and events that are being served. Herling pointed to the available research tools for those in attendance including the nationwide Early childhood Database, which can provide some useful data on children’s emotional health trends that are relevant to the Head Start program. Katherin Kelker, Ed.D, is the director of Head Start, Inc in Billings and was the final presenter for the day with her talk: “Teachers are from Mars, Therapists are from Venus: Different Perspectives on the Same Kids.”

Early intervention and prevention Plans are underway to research AWARE’s early intervention and prevention models, including the collaboration with Head Start. Daphne Herling, who spoke at the consortium, will present a proposal for outcome-based research that can demonstrate the efficacy of the relationship and programs. “We are excited to begin the process of collecting data and determining if there is empirical support for services that our experience tells us are wildly successful,”said Folsom. The research will be conducted by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, which also houses the KIDS COUNT project. The annual Montana Mental Health-Head Start Consortium – and the support it receives – is an accurate barometer of the increasingly involved relationship between AWARE’s and Head Start’s services. Both organizations are committed to acting early and providing the most wellrounded and effective services possible to both the children in the classroom and the families that support those children. “It’s all about early intervention,” said Kelly. “If you need a fix of ‘everything is right in the world,’ go to your community Head Start center. You can’t help but smile and come out with a good feeling. These kids are certainly the future, and you’ve got these educators who are doing everything in their power to give them a leg up. If AWARE can support them and their families in any way that may get them where they’re going, then it’s the right thing to do.” At a training on the development and implementation of early childhood services Folsom attended, the guests had the honor and pleasure of listening to remarks by Marian Wright Edelman, President and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. She summed up the importance of early intervention by saying that “it’s easier to build healthy children than to take on the difficult task of repairing a broken man.”

‘Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids’ Kelker is the founder of PLUK (Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids), an organization of parents and other individuals who serve families and individuals with disabilities of any age and at no cost. The organization provides support and resources for those families. With her background in education, advocacy and therapy, Kelker is able to provide a well-rounded view of the collaborative nature of early education and intervention strategies. The presentations at this year’s event were very well received, said Kelly. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from those who attended, which are primarily Head Start staff.” He continued, “We have had guest speakers with a tremendous amount of expertise and experience who have been able to share stories, and offer advice and strategies. More importantly, the symposium atmosphere hammers home the philosophical foundation of identifying the strengths in children and families, and then developing supports that are individualized and effective.” AWARE’s efforst to place an emphasis on early intervention, prevention and education began about eight years ago with the implementation of its Early Head Start program, which serves children from the prenatal stage to three and their families. “The notion of doing early intervention and prevention is talked about at every critical moment of 15

NEWS BRIEFS The award-winning show is seen in 44 communities in Massachusetts as well as a handful of other states. Triangle hopes to provide participants with independence and selfsufficiency. Ablevision teaches them video skills as well as life skills like organization and teamwork.

New Farm in the Dell set to open The Daily Inter Lake Kalispell, Mont.

Farm in the Dell, an organization for adults with developmental disabilities, plans to open a new house and farm near Great Falls. Farm in the Dell currently has locations in Kalispell, Helena and Missoula where adults with developmental disabilities perform all aspects of farm life, from planting to harvesting. The new Farm will house 12 adults.

Down syndrome could hold secret to halting cancer Nathan Seppa Science News

iPhone app helps people with disabilities communicate

A study reported in the May 21 Nature suggests that a surplus production of a cancer-suppressing protein may explain in part why people with Down syndrome seldom get cancer. People born with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, instead of the usual two copies — one from each parent. The study suggests that, “the protein encoded by the RCAN1 gene reins in the rampant blood vessel growth that a tumor needs to thrive.” In theory, having an extra copy of the gene causes the body to produce more protein and possibly add an “anticancer effect.” The RCAN1 protein slows vessel growth, preventing tumors from excess vesselgrowth, thus slowing or inhibiting tumor growth. In recent tests done at Harvard Medical School in Boston, two sets of mice were tested some with the extra gene and some without. The mice were surgically implanted with melanoma or lung tumors, and the mice with the extra gene had less than half as much tumor growth as the mice without. “It seems we can now add cancer to the growing list of ailments in which RCAN1 is integrally involved,” said Kelvin Davies, a biochemist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Shaun Heasley USA Today

iPhone has made an application available for people who either can’t talk or have difficulty talking. Proloquo2Go allows users to touch icons that represent certain thoughts and reactions, and the phone then verbalizes the thought for the user. At $149.99, the device is much cheaper, smaller and sleeker than current text-to-speech equipment. Codeveloper Samuel Sennott boasts that this tool is useful for people with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease and stroke patients who have lost the ability to speak. He also says for an autistic child to have the ability to pull out an iPhone and talk to friends adds “this very hardto-quantify cool factor.” The app is also available on iPod touches, which can be picked up at Best Buy or your local electronics store.

Ablevision shows on-air abilities Joel Brown Boston Globe

Indianapolis wins award for being most disability-friendly community

Ablevision is a TV show created by people with developmental disabilities in the Malden-based Triangle Inc. program. The show’s mission is to “expose people with disabilities to the mainstream audience and showing that we’re all people with abilities.” “We’re all different people and we all have something to bring to the table,” said Alisa Brugnoli, a former WHDHTV video editor who started working with Ablevision five years ago and has been the full-time executive producer for the last two. “We film, we interview, we run the camera, we go on different shoots” said Ablevision’s Christine Murdocca. “We have a studio crew, a production crew and a creative crew.”

Michelle Diament

Indianapolis is number one among disability-friendly communities, according to a study done by the National Organization on Disability. The 2009 Accessible America Award was given to the city because of its “accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities.” The award recognizes communities that include people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment, education, voting, transportation and housing. For winning, Indianapolis was awarded $25,000 and will 16

be considered a national model for inclusion. Other cities considered for the award included Alexandria, Va., Denver, Louisville, Ky., New Haven, Conn., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Surprise, Ariz. Last year’s award went to Houston.

Researchers say the genes most likely aren’t the only link to autism diagnosis, as they feel environmental factors also contribute. Another study found stretches of DNA that are missing or appear duplicated. Although much more research needs to be done, “It moves the field of autism research significantly ahead,” said Philip R. Johnson, M.D., chief scientific officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “This discovery provides a starting point for translating biological knowledge into future autism treatments.”

Bozeman parents say they’re happy with special ed improvements Gail Schontzler Bozeman Chronicle

Parents are thrilled with the work Chad Berg has done since taking over the Bozeman School District’s special education program, according to a story published in the Bozeman Chronicle. , “We are so grateful to have him on board,” said Maggee Harrison, president of the Bozeman-area Special Education Parent-Teacher Association. “He has been terrific. He’s hands-on, articulate. He knows teachers’ needs and the concerns of parents. He hears both sides.” A recent survey by the association named Berg among the top five educators of the year “for his excellence in leadership, and his willingness to share his vision and concerns.” The group formed a year ago to answer concerns by parents of children in special education who feared Bozeman was losing its reputation as a premier program in Montana. Berg was hired last summer from a Wisconsin school district. He took over a program that serves about 515 special-education students, roughly 10 percent of Bozeman students. Among Berg’s first actions was to hold a series of meetings allowing parents, teachers and concerned citizens to voice their opinion and listen to others. “We tried to work through what it is we want to see in the special education department,” Berg told the newspaper. “We’re trying to align our services to meet the needs of the child, rather than fit the child to fit pre-existing programs.” SEPTA has also had a successful first year. The organization has grown to 80 members of parents, teachers and aides from the Bozeman, Monforton and Anderson school districts. For more information about SEPTA, visit www.

Families search for missing members who were sent to institutions People Magazine Families all over the country have had loved ones with disabilities sent to institutions years ago. Many of those families lost contact with them and are now seeking to regain that connection. It is estimated that 250,000 Americans live in group homes or institutions with no family contacts. It has become more difficult for family members to keep track of them due to the frequent moving and change of placement. Filmmaker Jeff Daly and the nonprofit ArcLink have made a database with hopes of connecting families with their estranged members and have already helped more than 100 families do so. For information on the database visit

People with intellectual disabilities Particularly vulnerable to effects of tobacco use and dependence Medical News Today While tobacco use is an ongoing health hazard for the entire population, its consequences for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities can be especially severe. And the medical community often tends to overlook the tobacco-related burdens these people face. An extensive review of published research on this topic appears in the June edition of the journal Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. “This is too important an issue to ignore,” said Dr. Marc L. Steinberg, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey -Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the article’s lead author. “Health care professionals often do not ask these individuals about tobacco use or exposure.” Steinberg and his co-authors report that they were able to identify several negative implications of tobacco use that are unique to this population group.

Studies point to genetic link to autism Michelle Diament Three recent studies may have linked genetics and autism. The studies examined more than 12,000 people including people with autism and their families and concluded that up to 15 percent of people with autism have genetic differences. The differences have to do with the way their brain cells communicate with each other.

— Compiled by Bryan Noonan


Shrink wRap front row and made sure that my hand was the first one up with a question for Dr. Redl. He called on me and I asked the first question. I said, “Dr. Redl, I’m Ira Lourie from the National Institute of Mental Health where I am the Coordinator of Runaway Programs.” I wanted to demonstrate how important I and my question were. I continued, “We are creating programs for runaways. What kind of programs should we create?” I was feeling great and I was sure that I had asked the vital question that would get the ball rolling in the session…I was feeling like a star.

Fifty-seven kinds of runaways By Ira S. Lourie, M.D.


arly in my career, several months after I finished my residency in child psychiatry, I attended an international conference in Philadelphia. One of the presenters I wanted to hear was Fritz Redl, a psychologist who did much of the early work with troubled teens, especially those who did anti-social things, including runDr. Ira Lourie What kind of runaways? ning away. Dr. Redl looked at me. Then he looked at the I had just started working on my first job in child psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health crowd. Then he looked up at the ceiling. Then he looked back at me and said, “Runaways….runwhich included the lofty title of Coordinator of aways….what kind of runaways? There are fiftyRunaway Programs. This wasn’t as important as it sounds, but rather because it was 1973 and the youth seven different kinds of runaways. Next question.” Needless to say I was crushed. Sitting in the front rebellion of the late 1960s and early 1970s was in its row I couldn’t just get up and leave, so I had to stay prime, runaway youth were a big national problem and listen to him thoughtfully discuss the other and the Institute had put together some grant pro“better” questions. I don’t remember when it hapgrams looking at that issue. pened, but some time later I realized what an imporNew guy on the block tant answer that was and how he pointed out that I I was the new guy on the block and they needed was making a colossal blunder with my assumption someone to oversee these grants; in other words, that “runaway” was one thing. He was telling me I was a clerk with a fancy name. But, I was interthat each child who ran away did so for his or her ested in adolescent psychiatry and the problem of own individual reason. runaway youth interested me; so, for me, this was a He was also telling me that in order to meet each great job. child’s needs as indicated by the running away, I My prime reason for going to Philly was to hear needed to figure out what the running away was all Fritz Redl. The conference had sessions called, about. Rather than setting out to crush or embar“Meet the Greats,” where leaders of the field would rass me, what he had done was give the true answer answer questions from the audience. Fritz Redl was to my question, “There is no one way to create to be at one of these and I went. Unlike me, a back a program for runaways, you need to treat every row sitter in most classes I had taken, I sat in the youth who runs away as an individual who needs


an individual response.” (It is interesting that in the same year, 1973, Kaleidoscope, the home of Wraparound Services, was just starting, based on the same principle.) So, early in the clinical part of my career I stopped assuming that all runaways were alike and began to ask kids who had run away all about it. Each child’s reasons for running away and the nature of each of those runaways were different. I found out there were good reasons for running and troubling reasons. I found out there were good runaways and troubling runaways. Before we go any further, it is important to understand how running away fits into normal adolescent development—remember the name of my book is Everything is Normal Until Proven Otherwise. One of the basic tasks of adolescence is separation. In real terms, this means growing up and leaving home. This process starts when kids are toddlers, when they go to the far end of the playground to play and then come back and touch mom and then go back out and play again. If mom doesn’t pay attention when they come back to touch, the child then makes a fuss so that mom will connect with them.

kind of fit into the middle of the normal range. But how about the kid who never leaves home? Where does he or she fit on the continuum? Is it better to never leave home or to runaway as one 15-year-old girl I knew did by packing her things and going to the end of the driveway and sitting there? Where does the kid who runs away, lies about his age and joins the Army, like my uncle did many years ago, fit on the continuum? How about the 16-year-old girl I met once who had run away from a foster home, was living in a crate in the woods, was going to school and had a job to support herself? Studying the separation process The more examples we explore the more complicated the concept of running away becomes. But in every case, we need to look at the running away as having a normal adolescent developmental part to it. Only then can we begin to look at the other part of that running away which is problematic and pathological. I hope we would all agree that the kid who never leaves home or runs away to the end of the driveway at 15 has a problematic and pathological part to his or her separation process. But it is a lot harder to figure out where normalcy ends and pathology begins with youth who run away. Where along the separation continuum did you decide my uncle and girl in the crate lie? Did they make it across the problematic and pathology line? One of the issues is that I might say they were on the normal side and someone else may say they are on the problematic side. This puts the burden on all of us to figure out just how much normal there is in a runaway and how much problem and pathology. In order to make this determination in a valid way, we have to begin to ask a number of questions about youth and their runaways. As I struggled with these issues at the beginning of my career, I began to ask kids why they ran away. I got answers that varied from “ I was being beaten or sexually abused,” and “I can’t stand my stepfather,” to “My parents don’t like my peer group.” I learned not to judge the action of running away itself, but that I needed to judge the motivation behind the runaway. I learned to look for the strengths in the runaway as well as the needs behind it. I found some kids for whom the running away was a troubled and troubling event. But, I found an

Make it all better Kids will do this for hours, and if they fall down on the far side of the playground they get right back up to play, but if they fall down in front of mother they bawl until mother kisses the “wound” and makes it all better. Youth play out the same drama as they do the adolescent version of separation. For example, the youth who goes hiking in the “Bob” for two weeks with friends in a very competent manner, then comes home, drops a backpack on the floor by the door, plops down in front of the TV watching cartoons and says, “Feed me!” Just like the toddler, the adolescent separates from home base and comes back to touch and be taken care of. However unlike the toddlers, for the adolescents this drama is real, for at the end of adolescence they will be an adult on their own. Coming and going is a normal process for teens, and each youth will runaway a bit and then come home and be a child again. Among all teens there is a continuum of how well this drama plays out and it is our job to figure out when it stops being normal. For example, our kid who was hiking in the “Bob”

Continued on next page 19

Shrink wRap... Continued from Page 21

equal number of kids for whom the running away was a safe, controlled and meaningful event and where running away needed to be listed as one of the youth’s strengths. For every child who runs away there is a family or program from which they have run. We need to find out the context in which the running away took place. There may be family problems which are part of the child’s decision to run away; or there may be a poor fit between a youth and a program he or she is in. Without this knowledge, we tend to unfairly place the whole blame for the behavior on the child. I learned to ask how the environment adds to the underlying issues from which a child has run. In addition to asking kids what they ran from, I also asked kids where they ran to. They often think I’m weird when I ask that question, as if I am asking them to give up their secret hiding places. But I assure them I’m not interested in the exact place they went, rather what type of place. Did they run home? Did they run to a relative, to a friend, to a runaway house (we don’t have as many of them as we did fifty years ago), or to a communal living situation. If they ran to a friend, did the parents of that friend know they were there or were they hiding in the basement? Did they let their parent or guardian know where they were? Or, did they just run to the streets? Which of these would you put in the strengths column? A safe or a dangerous place? I ask kids how things worked out during their runaways. I wanted to know if they went to a safe or a dangerous place. Is there a difference between the kid who finds a friend, relative, program or commune and the one who ends up sleeping in the streets eating out of dumpsters or living with a pimp? I also want to know the nature of the runaway­ —what happened during it. Was it a lark, kind of like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or for a more serious reason? Was it planned or impulsive? Was it alone or with some other kids and if so, who was the leader and who was the follower? I want to know if it was fun and if it worked out the way they planned? Was it successful or did bad things happen, like getting beat up, robbed or raped?

I ask kids how they got found or if they came back on their own. I’ve been amazed that some observers see no difference among those kids who come back on their own, those brought back peacefully by an individual, and those brought back kicking and screaming by police. Each of these scenarios is very different and mean different things about the nature, safety and normalcy of the runaway. Normalcy and abnormality I hope that you have gotten the idea from this discussion that there are indeed more than fifty-seven kinds of runaways—rather there are an infinite number. We need to look below the surface of any behavior, not just running away, to find out what it means in the life of that individual child and family before we can figure out what we should do about it and how to fix the issues underlying it. We need to figure out how that behavior fits within normal adolescent development and along the continuum of normalcy and abnormality. About 15 years after I had been embarrassed by Dr. Redl at that meeting, I had the chance to thank him for how much he had done for me that day in 1973. This happened when I was asked to discuss a presentation he made to a group of child psychiatrists in Washington, D.C. I don’t know why they chose me for this daunting task, I guess no one else wanted to do it; after all how do you “discuss” the remarks of a great. The dinner before the presentation was a filet mignon followed by a dessert of a small scoop of raspberry sherbet. So after Dr. Redl gave his talk, I got up and started my remarks by saying, “I feel like the raspberry sherbet!” I didn’t then discuss his presentation but rather told him the story of the fifty-seven kinds of runaways and personally thanked him for how this remark had changed my career and how we all needed to thank him for all he had been responsible for in changing our whole profession. I hope that you will be able to thank him for how this simple remark about fifty-seven different kinds of runaways might change your career and how you view the needs of children and youth. Dr. Ira Lourie of Hagerstown, Md., serves as AWARE’s senior medical consultant. He is the author of Everything is Normal Until Proven Otherwise. 20

Book MARKS Marks BOOK Each issue of AWARE Ink includes books, articles, documents, texts, and even movies recommended by staff, covering a range of topics related to the work we do. This issue features a title suggested by Renae Jones, service administrator for the Intensive Family Education and Support (IFES) program and autism services. Social Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs is a flexible, ready-to-use activities program to help special students. Like the companion book, the updated new edition for secondary students features ready-to-use worksheets to help adolescents build the social skills they need to interact effectively with others and learn how to apply these skills to various real-life settings, situations, and problems. The book provides 20 complete teaching units focusing on 20 basic social skills, such as being a good listener, “reading” other people, and using common sense.

Working with a variety of children and disabilities requires different tools for your tool box. Teaching social skills is one of my favorite pastimes. The following materials I have found are very helpful in teaching kids social skills. Social Skills Activities for Special Children Second Edition (2008) Darlene Mannix Social Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs Second Edition (2009) Darlene Mannix

For children and adolescents with autism, I recommend A Treasure Chest of Behavioral Strategies for Individuals with Autism by Beth Fouse, Ph.D., and Maria Wheeler, M. Ed. and For Parents and Professionals: Autism by Kathie Harrington. A Treasure Chest of Behavioral Strategies for Individuals with Autism contains a cornucopia of ideas, strategies and concepts that apply to virtually any situation. The authors address sensory, communication, and physical and social-emotional issues by increasing desired behaviors and decreasing unwanted behaviors. They describe how to build “sensory diets” into everyday activities; how to teach students to self-regulate; how to deal with self-injurious behaviors, physical or verbal aggression, toilet training, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and fixations; how to deal with crisis/ stress, data management and much more. Kathie Harrington, author of For Parents and Professionals: Autism, is a speech-language pathologist and the parent of an adult son with autism. Her book offers specific lessons and activities for teaching language and social skills on many developmental levels.

A Treasure Chest of Behavioral Strategies for Individuals with Autism (1997) Beth Fouse, Ph.D., and Maria Wheeler, M. Ed. For Parents and Professionals: Autism (1998) Kathie Harrington. I highly recommend Social Skills Activities for Special Children written by Darlene Mannix and illustrated by Tim Mannix and Social Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs also by Darlene Mannix. The thoroughly revised and updated second edition of the ground-breaking Social Skills Activities for Special Children offers teachers 164 ready-to-use lessons—complete with reproducible worksheets— that help children become aware of acceptable social behavior and acquire basic social skills. Each of the book’s lessons highlights a specific skill framed in real-life situations. This gives teachers a meaningful way to guide students to think about why a particular social skill is important. The practical hands-on activities that accompany each lesson help students work through, think about, discuss, and practice the skill in or outside of the classroom.


Graphs from State of the States in Developmental Disabilities — Seventh Edition



Contact: Mary Dalton, (406) 444-4084

Montana Youth Leadership Forum All day, schedule of events found at

July 29

Carroll College Campus, Helena

Maintaining Integrity & Values Inherent in Community Living &

Contact: June Hermanson (406) 442-2576

Building a Network of Support & True Community Membership 1-2:30 p.m.

July 15

TASH Webinar

The Nuts and Bolts of Supported Living


1-2:30 p.m. TASH Webinar

August 3-4


At-Risk Conference: Autism 8-5 p.m.

July 17

MSU-Billings, 1500 University Drive

Montana Diabetes Project Coalition Meeting

Contact: (406) 896-5890

10-3:30 p.m. Crown Plaza Hotel, Billings

August 4

Contact: Susan Day, (406) 444-6677

Family Health Advisory Council


July 22

Diane Building conference room, Helena and via teleconference

Autism and Asperger’s Conference

Contact: Jo Ann Dotson (406) 444-4743

Time TBA Butte, location TBA

August 5

Contact: 1-800-489-0727 or

Developing Relationships: Connecting Adults with Disabilities and Community Members

July 22


The Customized Self-Employment Model

TASH Webinar

Time TBA


Webcast Register at

August 8


Sixth Annual NAMI-Billings Bike Ride Time TBA

July 22

Billings, Molt Community Center

Giving Life to the Plan: Assisting People to Have Valued Roles in

Contact: (406) 256-7805

Their Community 1-2:30 p.m.

August 19

TASH Webinar

Current Research in Self-Employment


Time TBA Webcast

July 23

Register at

Healthy Montana Kids Workgroup

cfm?webcastID=146 — Compiled by Bryan Noonan

8-9 a.m. Arcade Building, Room B and C, Helena


AWARE, Incorporated

205 East Park Avenue Anaconda, Montana 59711 1-800-432-6145

Printed on recycled paper


AWARE names IFES, autism services administrator In May of this year, Renae Jones was appointed Service Administrator for AWARE’s Intensive Family Education and Support (IFES) and Autism services. Jones’ position prior to the promotion was as the Program Director for the Candlelight and Frazer group homes in Bozeman and Missoula, respectively. She has worked with AWARE for 11 years. Jones said that she is very excited to be working in her new role and that being a part of the administrative process while continuing to work closely with families is of real enjoyment to her. Jones will direct AWARE’s statewide services for children with disabilities both in the home and within the two residential programs. “I hope that we can continue to expand these services for people across the state who may need them,” she said, “as well as other specific and specialized care for kids who have autism or other developmental disabilities.” “We really put the wants and needs of families before everything else,” she adds, “and that’s something people should know about.” Jones received her Family Support Specialist certification in August 2005, her Autism Endorsement from the State of Montana in December 2008, and has been receiving ongoing training from Johns Hopkins University’s Kennedy Kreiger Institute – leaders in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders – since May 2008. ­— By Tim Pray 24

Renae Jones of Bozeman took over as administrator for Intensive Family Education and Support and autism services in May.



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