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May/June 2009 Volume 3, Number 3

INK The Right the Right the Right Time!

‘An uplifting opportunity’

HR Director watches details and big picture By Jim Tracy

Recruiting, hiring, training, evaluating employee performance,

keeping personnel records, managing pay and benefits and staying on top of health and safety. Any of those jobs would be enough to occupy most people. Leighanne Fogerty, AWARE’s human resources director, has to manage all of them for an organization with more than 750 full- and parttime employees in offices in 26 Montana communities. “On a day-to-day basis, I assist my staff in completing their duties by offering direction on applications, interviews and hires, in addition to assisting supervisors in addressing employee performance issues (discipline), questions regarding pay, insurance, leaves of absences,” Fogerty said. “On a month-to-month basis, I keep the ‘big picture’ needs of the organization in mind in completing these duties in order to assure smooth transition and expansion of services.” HR Director Leighanne Fogerty

See Human Resources on Page 3

Photo by Jim Tracy

Graduation Day

Two young men earn diplomas, learn life lessons

By Jim Tracy

John Michael Segna and Daniel Fosness will receive high school diplomas at commencement exercises on May 31. For both young men, graduation day didn’t always look like a sure thing. Segna and Fosness, both recipients of AWARE services, earned their caps and gowns the hard way. Both considered dropping out of school at one time because of what was going on in their lives. And both got help from AWARE that made graduation possible. After spending his early childhood in Butte, Segna


Note to staff and friends

— Page 2

bounced around several living situations, including stays at Discovery House and later an AWARE youth group home at Galen, before settling in Anaconda. For the past year he has lived with a roommate in a comfortable home on West Sixth Street within walking distance of school. “Some people asked me if I wanted to try this place and go into independent living,” he said. “I said ‘Sure.’ It has worked out pretty good for me.” After rough freshman, sophomore and junior years, he enrolled in Anaconda High School last fall. “I got myself together, stopped skipping school and started studying,” Segna said. See Graduates on Page 12

Montana Court looks beyond harassment — Page 5

Citizen legislator Pat Noonan — Page 9

Galen Art & Science Fair — Pages 14 & 15

ShrinkWrap with Dr. Lourie — Page 18

Marking a month of milestones Dear Staff and Friends,

school in their respective communities and preparing to jump into life as men with diplomas.

We’re in the midst of a season of milestones. One year ago, we began to fully implement our videoconferencing technology around the state. Without a doubt, it has been tremendously successful, markedly increasing the level of connection between families around the state, whether rural or not. When we began building the network, we knew that – above all else – this was a tool that could help Montana families keep their lines of communication open, and it has. Using technology as a true extension of the services we also provide in person is not something that very many of us imagined to be possible several years ago, but here we are celebrating the first successful year of its implementation.

You’ll see a photo essay on the Galen school’s annual science and art fair. The hard work, experiments, artistic license and love of learning culminate with a full day of presentations to family, friends and the community. The science and art fair has become a day for students to show off a little bit, and while the mood is light with snacks and refreshments provided, the future scientists take the work seriously and are prepared to defend their projects to anyone who is curious. We’re happy to have a column from John Moore, who conducted a seminar on harassment in Anaconda in March. We have a breakdown of the now-laws, failed bills, resolutions and committees that affect our work as an organization. We are in a good position in that every move we make isn’t dictated by the decisions of the Legislature, but we are certainly tied to their choices – as are the people to whom we provide services.

We’re coming up on one full year of Apostrophe magazine. Response to that has been nothing short of amazing, and it was a situation in which we relied on trusting that an audience existed for the magazine. We now have subscribers in 13 states. We had a hunch in the beginning of the development of the magazine’s concept that people around the state who have disabilities would want to read a magazine pertaining to their lives, challenges, questions, entertainment and employment. We were right.

Larry Noonan

You’ll read about AWARE’s ever-busy human resources department. The piece includes some of the most important current projects of the department, a who’swho guide to the personnel involved and answers to some common questions about the administrative policies of our organization. So keep doing what you’re doing. Keep listening. Keep building. Keep being involved.

It has been one year since we opened the doors to the state’s first and only residential program for children with autism, the Candlelight Community Living Initiative in Bozeman. There is so much that is not understood about autism spectrum disorders, but in the year that the kids living in Bozeman have been with us, they have become increasingly a part of their community and school. We believe that by using the most current and respected methods, we can help them achieve maximum independence.

Thanks to you all.

Lawrence P. Noonan, CEO Geri L. Wyant, CFO Jeffrey Folsom, COO Mike Schulte, CHO

In this issue of Ink, you’ll read stories on many of the people and projects whose milestones we’ll surely be celebrating a year from now. Our staff’s ability to continually challenge themselves and keep focused on our principles of unconditional care is what allows us to keep finding ways to assist the people who want our services.

Board of Directors John Haffey, President John O’Donnell, Vice President Al Smith Teresa Marshall Cheryl Zobenica Russell Carstens Stephen Addington

Specifically, you’ll read about:

Editing and layout: Jim Tracy Staff writers: Tim Pray Bryan Noonan

John Segna of Anaconda and Daniel Fosness of Deer Lodge, two young men who are graduating from high 2

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:

Human Resources...

nation in Employment Acts, Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, in addition to assuring employment-related policies are being recognized and adhered to. “AWARE has an extensive employee orientation, development and training program, and I offer any and all assistance I can to supervisors in this regard by pointing out how to locate forms, developing the supervisor/supervisee relationships, and offering the assistance of HR Staff,” Fogerty said. She also works closely with the CEO, CFO and management team in developing and improving policies, in addition to chairing the Leadership Committee, which assures bills passed by Corporate Congress are implemented. And she oversees AWARE’s Training Director Tim Hahn and core trainings — HELP, first aid, CPR, fire safety, blood-borne pathogens, medication certification and driver awareness by assuring that employees meet training deadlines. “I assist on issues and/or problems that come up along the way,” she said. Along with another member of the HR Department, she works with the Montana State Fund, which provides worker’s compensation insurance, in filing initial injury reports when a staff member is hurt while working and assisting employees in returning to work as soon as possible.

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Fogerty already was acquainted with the workings of AWARE’s human resources and big picture matters as well before she was appointed director of the department in January, succeeding the late George Groesbeck who died unexpectedly last December. In her view, the main objective of the Human Resources Department is to administer, oversee and offer technical assistance in recruiting and hiring employees, employee training and development, performance evaluation and employee management, supervisoremployee relations, personnel files and record keeping, compensation and employee benefits, and the health and safety of employees.  As HR director, Fogerty is responsible for assuring that those activities are conducted legally, ethically and in accordance with the corporation’s policies, practices and procedures. Customer-focused She believes AWARE’s HR Department is successful in serving employees as diverse as AWARE’s because it is “customer focused.” “We recognize that we are here to be a support system for employees and supervisors in order to make sure services are delivered at AWARE’s high standard of quality of care,” Fogerty said. “We make ourselves available on a consistent basis so that employees can depend on being able to speak to us at any time.” Her role in recruiting and staffing includes assisting Project Associate Tammy DeRieux in posting positions and approving applications and hires, with feedback from the management team. Her role in compensation and benefits is to supervise staff in processing payroll, along with conducting salary reviews and researching compensation and employee benefit trends to offer thoughts and recommendations to the CEO and CFO.  “I work with closely with AWARE’s CEO and chief financial officer, and the management team, in regards to future staffing needs and staffing patterns in order to assure service expansion goals can be met,” she said. “In addition to this, I’m responsible for making sure that AWARE conducts itself — in regards to all the functions of the Human Resources Department — in accordance with state and federal law.” Those include the Montana Human Rights Act, Montana Maternity Leave Act, Civil Rights Acts of 1991, Americans with Disabilities Acts, Age Discrimi-

Projects on the horizon Fogerty also has several big projects on the horizon. Over the next 12 months, she hopes to finish revising AWARE’s Health and Safety Manual, in addition to establishing an employee incentive program regarding safety and work-related injuries, “I am also, on a continuing basis, reviewing employee compensation and benefits in order to offer suggestions to the management team,” she said. In addition, she’s working on expanding AWARE’s core trainings by adding service-specific sessions and developing a training catalog to offer in-house sessions on team building, communication and training for first-time managers. “I believe that AWARE is an excellent place to work as it provides wonderful employment opportunities for people from all walks of life, education and past employment experience,” she said. “Working alongside those receiving AWARE services is – on a daily basis – an extremely uplifting opportunity. Continued on next page


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“AWARE will continue to honor those commitments we have made to those currently receiving services by improving our skills, education and training to better serve our clients and families,” she said. “I believe the best part of my job is the fact that I get to see and experience – every day – the phenomenal job AWARE’s employees do in providing services. I am continually moved at their dedication to the organization and the people under their care.”   Fogerty attended the University of Great Falls, earning a pre-law degree in 1998. In 2005, she earned master’s degrees in public administration and political science from the University of Montana. She worked for the Montana Department of Labor before coming to work for AWARE.

“I believe that assisting those in our care in becoming self-sufficient, gaining employment, learning life skills and helping families through times of crisis is a tremendous way to earn a living. In addition to this, AWARE is a one-of-a-kind organization as reflected in our Unconditional Care philosophy and the fact that we are always striving to improve and expand services and we are on the cutting edge of the human service industry.” In the next five years, Fogerty sees AWARE expanding services to serve those who others believe cannot be served, which will call for more staff and more resources AWARE puts into staff, including training.

Human Resources Department staff and duties ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ

Leighanne Fogerty – Director, Human Resources ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ

Legal matters Family Medical Leave Act information Disciplinary procedures                                                Job analysis/descriptions Supervisor assistance Personnel record information Employee data Hiring procedures Unemployment insurance Employee recruitment

Tammy DeRieux – Human Resources Project Manager ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ

Karen Girardot – Human Resources Benefit Specialist ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ

Flexible spending account reimbursements 401K Anniversary increases Paid leave information Deductions E-Stubs Travel reimbursements

Application screening Position announcements Staffing patterns Recommendations for hire

Health insurance information COBRA information Workers’ compensation procedures Health and safety committee

Barb Wilson – Anne Wentz –

Human Resources Project Associate Human Resources Project Associate

Jodee Barkell – Lisa Huber – Lacie Stanley – ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ

Human Resources Payroll Project Manager Human Resources Payroll Project Associate Human Resources Payroll Project Associate

ƒƒ Applications inquiries ƒƒ Personnel file maintenance ƒƒ Licensing procedures

Tim Hahn – Training Director Larris Allick – Training Coordinator

Employee paychecks Time-sheet review Direct deposit Pay cards Garnishments

Providing training and other types of technical support by arranging, scheduling, and providing class-room style sessions, consultation or hands-on assistance to meet training needs.


Montana court looks beyond harassment


eople with development disabilities are finding expanded opportunities to live and work in Montana’s communities. At the same time, they face expanded challenges in overcoming stereotyped attitudes and outright discrimination. Our system of laws aims at easing those challenges. The Montana Human Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit discrimination with regard to physical and mental disabilities. The laws protect not only employment, but access to housing, education, insurance, government services, and public accommodations. In February 2008, the Montana Supreme Court set forth expanded protection in a case involving a developmentally disJohn Moore abled woman. Instead of limiting her legal remedies to a harassment claim under the Human Rights Act, the Court allowed a civil tort claim to move forward. A tort is a wrongful act by one person on another. A tort claim can result in a jury trial and the award of punitive damages. This article summarizes the Court’s decision. Because of spinal meningitis during infancy, PS was severely disabled. After a variety of treatment and living situations, she advanced to independent living in Billings, with close monitoring and assistance. At the age of 24, she got a part-time job at McDonald’s. After a few months, the manager, Alex Keeton, struck up a sexual relationship with PS. Keeton, who was married, knew about PS’s disability. He told her not to tell anyone about the sex. After one shortened tryst, PS told her sister about the relationship. The sister reported it to McDonald’s, and Keeton was fired. PS’s aunt and limited guardian pursued this lawsuit on her behalf. She filed a discrimination claim with the Human Rights Bureau, alleging that Keeton sexually harassed PS. After investigating the claim, bureau staff concluded the relationship was consensual; the bureau dismissed the claim and issued a “right to sue letter.” The guardian then filed suit in district court, alleging discrimination and asserting tort claims. District court granted summary judgment to McDonald’s and Keeton on the tort claims. Because the

Human Rights Act provides the sole remedy for discrimination, the tort claims were excluded. The court also granted summary judgment to McDonald’s on the discrimination claims. Keeton then agreed to settle the discrimination claim against him for $500,000. The guardian appealed the summary judgments. The Court looked at Montana precedent, beginning with Harrison v. Chance (1990). A line of cases had barred tort claims when the underlying issue was sexual harassment. Here, the Court said, “we have This paternalistic consistently looked to the nature of the “boys will be boys” acts ... to determine the ‘gravamen’ of view disadvantages the complaint.” (Gravamen means female employees. the substantial part of a complaint; that — Justice James Nelson which weighs most heavily against the accused.) “Thus,” said the Court, “the bottom line is that the gravamen depends on the nature of the alleged conduct, and not upon the technical format of the complaint or procedural aspects of the case.” At dispute in this case was the extent of PS’s disability: did it prevent her from effectively consenting to sex? The Court didn’t answer the question, but called it a genuine issue of material fact strongly disputed by the parties. Given the allegation on nonconsensual sex, the Court said this conduct goes seriously beyond the types of conduct in the prior cases. “In summary, we conclude that non-consensual sex goes beyond any reasonable conception of ‘sexual harassment’ and falls outside the [Montana Human Rights Act]’s definition of ‘discrimination’ in employment. Simply put, allegations of non-consensual sex sound in tort and not in discrimination.” The Court sent PS’s tort claims against both Keeton and McDonald’s back to district court for further action. However, because PS could proceed with the tort claims, she could not continue with the discrimination claim at the same time.

See Harassment on Page 6 5


ruled, and I look forward to the case when that issue is raised, briefed, and argued on appeal.” Saucier v. McDonald’s Restaurants of Montana, Inc., and Keeton 342 Mont. 29,179 P.3d 481 (2008) John Moore has been director of the Professional Development Center (PDC), State Human Resources Division, Montana Department of Administration, since May 1990. He has been a member of PDC staff since April 1984. His areas of specialty: wrongful discharge, privacy and the right to know, administrative rules, ethics, disciplinary procedures, hiring, sexual harassment, discrimination and writing conflict management. He is a 1975 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with bachelor’s or arts degrees in English, and psychology. Moore conducted a training session for AWARE administration staff on March 10 titled “All Kidding Aside — Preventing Harassment.”

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Justice James Nelson, joined by Justice Patricia O’Brien Cotter, concurred. Nelson added that the Harrison case mistakenly broadened the definition of harassment as a form of discrimination, barring what should be legitimate tort claims. Further, he said, “our ‘gravamen’ approach is remarkably ambiguous, ... essentially determined by an ‘I know it when I see it’ type of analysis.” According to Nelson, this leads to constitutional issues, as well as confusing procedural problems. At root, though, he said he “can no longer adhere to the legal fiction that sexual assaults or batteries in the work place are ‘discrimination.’” This paternalistic “boys will be boys” view disadvantages female employees. “The Harrison line of cases should be over-

Missoula photographer featured in Spring 2009 Apostrophe


ith the Spring 2009 issue, Apostrophe, AWARE’s magazine devoted to eliminating the can’t s and don’ts in the lives of people with developmental disabilities, is a year old. The latest issue features a photo essay and story by Billy James Fortner, who receives services in Missoula through AWARE case manager Jacob Henderson. Working with Apostrophe over several months, Henderson and freelance photographer Kip Sikora helped get Fortner started on the photo assignment. Fortner, 21, was recently diagnosed with autism. “It could have been in the early ’90s when it came,” he writes in a personal essay accompanying the story. “Today, I still have autism, but it Photo by Kip Sikora Billy James Fortner doesn’t affect my daily living as much.” tion. But, we’re not the only ones with autism. There With autism, he says, “Thought processes are more are several hundred thousands of children born with complex. There are several levels of autism ranging from very low autism to extreme autism. If you were to autism, some low, some moderate, like Aaron, my ask me what level of autism I fit in, I would say that I’m brother-in-law, and some very severe.” Fortner, who was paid for his work, says he’d welin the low range. That doesn’t mean that I’m autismcome another job with Apostrophe. Staff at the magaless, it’s less extreme than those with severe autism. zine will be looking for an assignment for him. I have a brother-in-law, a little older than I am, who Copies of Apostrophe have been mailed or delivered has moderate autism, which means that he can’t talk to AWARE offices across the state. If you need adin very long sentences, but he does understand what ditional copies, please call 406/563-8117 and ask for people say to him. I’ve learned a lot of things from his Bryan Noonan (ext. 54), or send an email to editor@ experience, and it’s easy for me to relate to his 6

Court appointed advocates honor AWARE employee


rynda Rusnak, an AWARE treatment service specialist in Great Falls, has been recognized for her efforts as a court appointed special advocate, or CASA, for abused and neglected children. Rusnak, who works in intensive family education and support, or IFES, took on a case in July 2007 that lasted over a year. “The lawyers were divided, and I did not side with either party,” she said. “I had to stand up in front of the judge and speak on behalf of the child I was the guardian ad litem for. The judge listened to what I said and sided with me. He stepped over the procedure, and kept the child here in Montana instead of sending the child out of state with the non-contested parent.”    This is part of the letter Rusnak received telling her about her honor: “Civic awards will be presented to six community members who have shown compassion, devotion and diligence in their work with victims of sexual and domestic violence or abused and/ or neglected children. Congratulations to Ms. Brynda Rusnak, CASA-CAN, volunteer, who will be receiving an award for outstanding and powerful work with children in Cascade County.” Nominators said Rusnak speaks and acts with professionalism that gives them confidence in her reports and her contacts with families, social workers and community members concerning cases. “They are able to see the compassion I have for the child and family, and the ability to speak with people with such ease, and work with them in a comfortable way that they are not scared or intimidated,” Rusnak said.  “Her commitment to children and families carries over into her job every day,” said Lisa Thiel, service administrator. “Brynda treats everyone with positive regard, which encourages a good working relationship with everyone who comes into contact with her.” A CASA is a trained community member who is appointed by a district court judge to represent a child’s best interests in court. The CASA ensures advocacy for children who have special needs due to their circumstances. The CASA provides the judge with carefully researched information on the background of the child and the child’s family to help the judge make a sound decision about the child’s future. With the information provided by the CASA volunteers, judges are able to make more informed decisions

CASA award winner Brynda Rusnak of Great Falls


as to what is best for the child. These volunteers are often appointed as a guardian ad litem (GAL) for a child. CASA/GAL volunteers review records, gather information, and talk to everyone involved-parents, teachers, foster parents, therapists, and of course, the child. From this information, they present recommendations to the judge as to what is best for the child. CASA volunteers believe that children deserve every chance to grow up in a safe, nurturing home. CASA of Montana is a network of 15 local CASA/ GAL offices throughout Montana. These programs provide trained volunteers as advocates to children in about 50 percent of the abuse andneglect cases in the state. The 15 programs service 37 counties and provide more than 400 trained volunteers. In 2006 these volunteers served over 22,000 hours on behalf of more than 1,000 children, nearly half of the 2,100 in out-ofhome care. To learn more about CASA and guardians ad litem, visit or http://casacangreatfalls. ­— By Jim Tracy

2009 Legislature delivers ‘important gains’ Autism homes win biennium funding By Bryan Noonan


ontana’s 61st Legislative session adjourned on Tuesday, April 28, and although AWARE didn’t get all it had hoped for, “important gains were made for kids in this session,” said Jeff Folsom, AWARE’s chief operating officer. “Between the Healthy Montana Kids Plan, Brandon’s Bill and Senate Bill 399 a lot of good things will happen for children.” Many projects made their way onto House Bill 2, the state’s budget for the next two years, including a one-time amount of $400,000 to AWARE’s current and future autism homes, to assist in its operations and development. The budget also granted a 2 percent rate increase over the biennium for all providers. This will amount to a 4 percent raise over the next two years. HB 645, also known as HB 2-A, is the budget for the federal stimulus package. This bill allowing Montana to temporarily expand its budget, and start projects that are needed but previously lacked funding. Within this bill, the Legislature allocated $40.6 million to increase Medicaid caseloads. Heavily argued I-155, the Healthy Montana Kids Plan, passed mainly without much of a fight. Implementation will be on Oct. 1 at the full amount voters approved last November. Senate Bill 399 pertaining to the placement of Montana kids in out-of-state facilities was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Sponsored by Sen.

Jesse Laslovich (D-Anaconda) the bill requires the state to provide quarterly updates to the Health and Human Services interim committee about each child who has been placed out of state. The legislation requires the Department of Public Health and Human Services to disclose the location and condition of each child. “With these reports, people and service providers will not forget that children are away from their families,” said AWARE’s CEO, Larry Noonan. “This might speed up the process of finding ways to bring them back.” Senate Bill 234 by Kim Gillan (D-Billings) and nicknamed “Brandon’s Bill,” passed with support on both sides of the aisle. The bill requires insurance companies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of people under 18 with autism spectrum disorder. Gov. Schweitzer signed the bill in Billings on May 5. HB 130, 131 and 132, all proposed by Ron Stoker (R- Darby) and lumped together as the “mental health trio,” passed. These bills require a state grant program for 8

counties to devise “jail diversion and crisis intervention” services for people with mental illness, as well as requiring local facilities to create treatment beds for crisis intervention. Finally, the bill will allow an individual in a crisis situation to agree to short-term, local treatment rather than being enrolled in a state hospital. “AWARE is pleased that these bills passed, but we hope as the counties develop the programs they recognize all members of the community including kids.” Folsom said. Throughout the 90-day session AWARE openly opposed an increase of funding to Kids Management Authorities, with worries that the program was not clear enough about its methods of delivering treatment. KMAs were requesting $2.3 million to expand and develop the program. Although the funding was granted, the amount was trimmed down to $600,000. HB 66, the request for an additional $250,000 from the general fund to be placed in a “Children’s system of care special revenue account” to use as the KMA’s see fit was killed in committee. Among the bills that AWARE hoped would pass but did not, were Pat Noonan’s (D-Butte) HB 453, travel reimbursement for case managers to transport people to unavoidable medical appointments. HB 369, carried by Edith McClafferty (D-Butte), asked for increased funding for early childhood services. Another bill that didn’t survive was one promoted by Michael O’Neil, director of AWARE’s Montana Home Choice Coalition. The bill would allow capped mortgage deductions to help low-income people buy their own homes.

Shot at house seat too good to pass up By Tim Pray


at Noonan, AWARE’s former service administrator for comprehensive school-based community treatment (CSCT), spent hundreds of hours campaigning to win his seat in House District 73. “Knocking on thousands of doors, hanging signs, countless mailers. It was more labor-intensive than I had thought it would be,” he said. “But I don’t regret or loathe that for one second. In fact, it makes me enjoy it more, and I really got to know the ins and outs of the district that I’m being called to represent.” When Noonan was elected in November 2008, it was the realization of a long-held dream. He had always been interested in politics, and when it was announced that Art Noonan (Pat’s uncle) would not be seeking reelection for House District 73, it was too much for him to pass up. “When Art announced [that he would not seek reelection], and it was the district that I lived in, it was one of those ‘now’ moments; I could either do it or wait…or never do it, which I was afraid might happen if I’d balked at the opportunity. Life has a way of changing your priorities, so I decided to run.” Noonan had help throughout the campaign from his close friend, the late George Groesbeck, the former representative of House District 74 and AWARE human resources director, who died suddenly on December 7, 2008. Noonan even ended up carrying one of Grosebeck’s bills in the session. “I probably met with George

every day to figure out the next move and what the strategy was,” said Noonan. Upon arriving at the session, it was made abundantly clear that a freshman representative holds very little sway in the scheme of things. “I knew that I was going to have to pay my dues this first go-round,” said Noonan, “so I just focused on the issues I was talking about when I ran.” 9

House District 73 is a large one, covering the area from Fairmont Hot Springs, through Ramsay and into Butte’s west side. The area faces complex issues, including employment opportunities, health care and the environment. Having spent so much time working with the Department of Public Health and Human Services prior to his time as a representative gave him See Noonan on Page 10


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valuable insight that would serve him well with his assignment on the House Health and Human Services Committee. Noonan was raised in the district he now represents, attending elementary school at Ramsay and high school at Butte High. He went to Carroll College in Helena, graduating in 2000 with a degree in communications and a minor in public relations. He began working with AWARE in 2003 as a relief staff at the Galen campus, then at Galen’s school and on to be the director of the Clark Fork Home, also on the campus. When he decided to move back to Helena, he worked out of AWARE’s office there as a youth case manager. The work of a youth case manager involves close interactions with schools, and it was something that Noonan was interested in doing more of. “I really like working with the schools and paying attention to all those important relationships; AWARE staff with school staff, students in our program to students who are not, parents with the school, and so on,” Noonan said. He continued, “I just enjoyed being on the end of doing all that we could to help them succeed by learning how to make friends, prioritize, handle adversity, accept challenges, and be a part of a social network.” When the opportunity to direct AWARE’s Helena CSCT program arose, he jumped on it, and less than one year later was directing all of AWARE’s CSCT programs. Noonan’s ability to work closely and intensely with large and diverse groups of people such as can be found in a school served

him well in his first session of the legislature. “That was one of the realizations,” said Noonan, “I knew that there would be differences of opinions, but what I found were sides to each story and issue that I hadn’t considered. Each representative’s constituency has very different needs, worries, priorities and goals, so learning to respect the opinions of everyone there was very important.” Before the next session starts in January 2011, Noonan will step

back into work with AWARE, and will undoubtedly serve on a legislative interim committee. His work in the 61st State Legislature has given him insight into the workings of state government. “I’m really excited to put the things I’ve learned to good use,” he said, “and I’m so happy that I was elected when I was. There was a lot of bitterness in the last (2007) session, but for this one, everyone was ready to put that behind them and get to work.”

Bills Sponsored by Rep. Pat Noonan Pat Noonan sponsored five bills and one joint resolution. They are: HB598: An act exempting employment of a contract musician from coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act. “This was George’s (Groesbeck) bill. It is an issue that he cared deeply about. Prior to this bill becoming law – which it now has – musicians would have had to be employees of the venue in order to perform, which would have had a really negative impact on the live music scene across the state. The venues simply could not have paid for the music with the cost of workers’ compensation insurance. I would consider the passing of this bill my definite high point of the session.” HB333: Fund Geothermal Research and Development This bill establishes an account and directs the bureau of mines and geology to conduct this all-important research. It gives Montana Tech the tools they need to conduct research throughout the state. HB452: Limit Health Care Information Subject to Work Comp Disclosure “This bill was written to limit the amount of information a doctor can release to workers’ compensation agents without the patient’s permission. It died in the business and labor committee on a tied vote. It died because – in the name of administrative expediency – it is important for a doctor to have more freedom than the patient and talk to whomever they deem necessary. See Bills on Page 28


H1N1 Tips

How to prevent the spread of influenza and how to treat influenza if you get it

By Barbara Mueske

about four or five days for infected people to show symptoms.


o far, there have been no diagnosed cases of H1N1, the so-called swine flu in Montana, according to Dr. Steve Helgerson, state medical officer. Dr. Helgerson cautions that the flu is heading this way, but there is no reason to panic. He said he would be surprised if we didn’t have illness caused by this unusual virus in Montana soon because it is an influenza virus, and there has never been an influenza strain in the United States that didn’t eventually show up in Montana. As AWARE employees, we must be proactive in our approach to this influenza by being as knowledgeable as we can be about the virus so that we can care for ourselves and the people we serve. We must all think and act to prevent the spread of the virus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that swine influenza virus infection can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the swine flu. Like any flu, swine flu in people can vary in severity from mild to severe. Severe disease with pneumonia, respiratory failure, and even death is possible with swine flu infection. Certain groups might be more likely to develop a severe illness from the swine flu infection such as persons with chronic medical conditions.

Medications to help ease flu symptoms Antiviral medications can sometimes lessen flu symptoms, but they do require a prescription. People at higher risk for severe flu complications or those who require hospitalization might benefit from antiviral medications. Antiviral medications are available for persons a year old or older. Ask your healthcare provider whether you need antiviral medication. Influenza infections can lead to or occur with bacterial infections. Therefore, some people will also need to take antibiotics. Check with your healthcare provider. Fevers and aches can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil,Motrin). Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to the package instructions may help lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. Importantly, these medications will not lessen how infectious a person is. Get medical care right away if: „„ You have difficulty breathing or chest pain „„ You have purple or blue discoloration of the lips „„ You are vomiting and unable to keep liquids down „„ You have signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing or the absence of urination „„ You have seizures „„ You are less responsive or become confused

How the flu spreads The main way that the influenza viruses are thought to spread from person to person is through respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or on an object and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands. The most important things to keep in mind in order to prevent the spread of the flu virus are simple: „„ Wash your hands a lot „„ Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze „„ If you get sick, stay home. The incubation period for the virus is about seven days, and it seems to take

Steps to lessen the spread of flu If someone in the home has the flu: „„ Keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible „„ Remind the sick person to cover their mouths when they cough and clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often, especially after coughing and sneezing „„ Have everyone in the household clean their hands using soap and water or a hand sanitizer „„ Ask your health provider if household contacts of the sick person, particularly those people who may have chronic health conditions, should take antiviral medications such as Tamiflu or Relenza to prevent the flu. Barbara Mueske, a registered nurse, is AWARE’s adult mental health service administrator. 11


Continued from Page 1 Within a few weeks, he had made new friends. He joined the football team in the fall, suiting up on both the JV and varsity squads. As a defensive end, he recorded five sacks, nine solo tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He also played on special teams for kickoffs and kickoff returns. (He also played football at Butte High School for a while and caught the coach’s eye as a long-distance runner on the Bulldog track team.) This past year he has enjoyed success in the classroom, as well, studying economics, math and English, and taking weight-lifting on the side. He credits several teachers with helping him make it through school, especially Mary Jane Ferguson, Darryll Deeks and Allen Green. Among his biggest backers is his aunt, Patty Sayler of Butte, who is also his guardian, and her husband, Cubby. John is a frequent guest at the Saylers’ ranch in Elk Park. “John helps feed cows on the ranch, and he likes to hike in Elk Park. He loves to fish and walk the hills,” Patty said. “Every Friday night we try to spend time doing something together.” Also high on his list of supporters is Donna Kelly, AWARE’s quality assurance officer. She’ll be in the bleachers when he graduates, along with 96 other AHS seniors, on May 31. “John has come a long way since he arrived in June 2008,” said Donna Kelly, AWARE’s DD quality assurance officer.“He has made several friends who stop by at his home often to visit. He has kept his grades up and I have been told by teachers he is a pleasure to have in class. He has a great sense of humor, and I enjoy listening to John process through problems, Photo by Michael Anne Tracy John Segna concerns, issues he has and him coming out with the right answers.” In the meantime, he’s got applications in at McDonalds, In his spare time Segna enjoys hanging out with his Subway, Safeway and Albertsons. friends, especially when it involves fishing and hunting. He “It’s going to be a big change,” he said. got his first buck last fall. He hasn’t always been able to look back at the end of a “I missed my elk at Fleecer (Mountain), but I’m going to school year and find things to celebrate. But 2008-09 has try again next hunting season,” he said. been different. Hunting is something he hopes to do “forever. “ At the end of this year, he’ll be wearing a cap and gown, “I love it,” he said. “You get to walk around in the hills accepting a diploma and making his mother, Shelly Murand woods and carry a gun. You get buck fever. There’s phy of Butte, his father, Dan Segna of Billings, and his five nothing like dragging an animal out when you get it and sisters, Vanessa, Erika, Shannon, Emily and Rheannon, showing it off to your buddies. And you get meat in the proud. freezer.” Those at AWARE who know him will have the same Segna, who turns 19 two days before graduation, hopes reaction. to become a carpenter. He’s also looking into joining the “It has been a privilege to work with John this past Army. school year,” Kelly said. Staff feel pride in John’s accom12

“I got into trouble at school,” Fosness said. The trouble continued until he teamed up with AWARE, including Vern Ruttenbur, a support service specialist in the Powell County schools. “I’m privileged to have worked with him,” Ruttenbur said. “He had a lot of ups and downs. He did a lot of good work, and I’m proud of him for that. His end of it was the tough part. I’m proud to have played a part in helping him make the right decisions.” Ruttenbur will also be in the audience when Fosness and his classmates get their diplomas. An Army veteran himself, RutVern Ruttenbur tenbur has personally worked with five high school students who eventually graduated. “If it wasn’t for AWARE,” Fosness said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today. AWARE was always checking up on me, making sure I was all right, making sure I was doing my job. “They helped me with my drug problem and made sure my homework was sent to me while I was in rehabilitation.” That’s all behind him now and he’s “excited to be graduating.” “Graduation is huge,” he said. “It’s a big step going from a kid’s world to having responsibilities as an adult. The best part has been just making it through and overcoming a lot of things. The hardest part is turning 18 and not relying totally on your parents anymore.” Fosness, who was discharged from AWARE services at the end of first semester last year, thought about dropping out of high school when he was a sophomore, but decided to stick it out. He’s glad he did. His junior and senior years have been memorable and rewarding. One of the memories he’ll take with him is starting at center on the Powell County High football team. He helped the Wardens win the conference championship his junior year and remembers beating Eureka in the first round, 15-14 after a fourth-quarter comeback. On May 31, with the other 51 seniors at PCHS, he’ll collect his diploma and get well-deserved hugs from his grandparents, Terri and Jerry Guthrie, and his sisters, Photo by Jim Tracy Destiny, 8, and Bethany, 5.

plishments and look forward to being a part of his graduation and plans for the future. I’m also looking forward to seeing all the great things I believe John can accomplish.” While Segna is wondering, like many graduates, what he’ll be doing over the next year, Fosness has his future plotted out. “I joined the military,” he said. “I’m guaranteed a job.” A month after graduation, he’ll head to Fort Knox, Ky., for 10 weeks of basic training in the National Guard, followed by 19 weeks of advanced individual training, including an intense course in how to load and fire the gun on a tank. When he finishes, he’ll be attached to B Company, 1st Battalion, 163rd Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard based in Butte. Before that could happen, though, he had to overcome addictions to marijuana and pain pills he got hooked on after having his tonsils removed in the 10th grade.

Daniel Fosness 13

Fair teaches important lessons All 24 students of the Galen School, from elementary age up, participated in the annual Galen Science and Art Fair on March 27 at the Galen campus gymnasium. The one-day fair gave the students a chance to show off the fruits of their research in the sciences and their creativity in the arts. Science projects ranged from military studies to instructions on constructing a bird house to candy chromatography and detailed plans for a space station. Art work included mosaic pieces, oil paintings, watercolor, charcoal and pencil. Kari Hoscheid, a teacher at the school, coordinated the art portion of the fair. Elementary students worked with their teacher Karen Johnson on several projects based upon cultures, customs and ecosystems around the world and worked with clay, painted dioramas and planted seeds of plants from the rainforest. Dan Sletton, resource teacher at the school, said that students are encouraged to explore their interests in a variety of areas. “It helps them learn organizational skills...working through and completing a full project from start to finish. It’s an important lesson.”

Photo by Tim Pray

Photo by Jim Tracy

Many of the science projects featured the hobbies and interests of the students who created them, such as the project on catapaults and medieval warfare, above. Galen school teacher Karen Johnson’s elementary class focused on different cultures and environments around the world and recreated many of their most recognizable contributions. Clay pottery and plates of pasta (below) represented the students’ studies on Native American cultures and Italy, respectively.

Photo by Tim Pray


Arts & Science

Photo by Jim Tracy

Photo by Jim Tracy

Top left, Sue Ginther and Dan Sletton, a teacher at the Galen School, take a break from the science and art of the fair and catch up. Heather Cranmer shows an ability to work in both mosaic, with this paper heart, facing page, and oil painting, as displayed by her selfportrait above.

Photo by Tim Pray


NEWS BRIEFS Missoula Neuro-Networking Club helps her as disabled; we never said there was something she couldn’t do. And once she started to play sports, we’ve people with autism with social lives never thought she was different than anyone else.” Chelsi Moy of The Missoulian The newly formed University of Montana Psychology Club has recently helped form the Neuro Networking Club for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Treva Bittinger opens her house twice a month for the groups meetings. Everyone is invited to attend to socialize, watch movies, eat pizza and have fun with one another. People with autism often have a hard time socializing. When leaving home it is hard to find new friends in an unfamiliar environment. “Autism makes it difficult to read social messages,” said Suzanne Sterrett, program coordinator for the Child Development Center. “Metaphors, similes, and, to some extent, slang are often misinterpreted by people with autism and Asperger’s, who don’t pick up on social nuances.” With this group, newcomers to the town have a chance to meet people in a comfortable place, make new friends and learn about Missoula. The club has ample attendance, and now organizes trips to Splash Mountain, barbecues and picnics in the park.

The Farmingdale State Rams made it to the championship this year with the help of 20-year-old Taffara and hope to continue their success throughout her college career.

Gymnast with disability competes at highest level

Contra Costa (CA) Times Chelsea Werner is a 17-year-old girl who has achieved competitive status as a gymnast and participates as a junior-varsity cheerleader at San Ramon Valley High in Danville, Calif. Some fans and parents think this is unusual, being that Chelsea has Down syndrome. Tracy Trotter, a pediatrician who has worked with roughly 100 children with Down syndrome claims, “I think she’s the only one at this level.” Chelsea’s coach, Kathryn Alson, explains that she treats Chelsea like everyone else. “Chelsea gets no special treatment from her coaches. She’s at practice in Livermore four hours a day, three days a week. She’s at a level five in competition, a competitive category that some girls never reach.” Trotter said that he uses Chelsea as an example to other patients of how having a disability doesn’t have to stop a child from being a kid.

Verizon Wireless working on phone for visually impaired

Jamie Lendino of PC Magazine Verizon Wireless has released its latest phone service called TALKS. This smart phone, designed for people with visual impairments, offers audio for messaging, dialing and other tasks. Service is powered by Nuance, the company that owns Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Nuance will provide much more than voice-to-text translation. The TALKS package ($249.99) will also aid in caller ID, dialing contacts, adding and editing contact entries, writing documents in the mobile versions of Word and Excel, composing multimedia messages and browsing the Internet.

Bozeman man uses ‘skibobbing’ to reintroduce slopes to wife

Brett French of The Billings Gazette Skibobs, snowbikes, skibikes and sit-skis have yet to catch on in the United States, and are not allowed in many ski areas. This is an issue that Bob Kolesar, an attorney and chemical engineer in Bozeman, hopes to change. After Bob’s wife, Ellyn, suffered a traumatic brain injury while hiking, he has been searching for ways to reintroduce her to skiing. With the help of Eagle Mount’s adaptive ski program, Bob and Ellyn have tried many different devices to help her enjoy skiing without getting hurt. With minimal success using current inventions, Bob decided to invent a skibob frame of his own, and he came up with the ShroomBob Chanterellyn II. “It’s so easy,” said Kolesar, “Ellyn, who has a closed head injury, could ski before she could walk again. It just comes pretty automatic.”

4'6" basketball player rules court Peter Applebome of The New York Times Tiffara Steward of Elmont, N.Y., is a starter and cocaptain of the Farmingdale State Rams on Long Island. This would be normal except she is 4’6’’ and 90 pounds. She has hearing loss, scoliosis, no vision in one eye, and one leg shorter than the other. Tiffara’s mother explained, “We never thought of 16

This invention has been regularly adopted by Eagle Mount since it was unveiled. “It’s a great device for Ellyn and gives her more stability,” said Bridget Tanner, Eagle Mount’s Bridger Bowl ski program director. “It’s definitely added some ease to her day.” After trying the invention herself, she stated, “It’s great. Bob’s bike is a very smooth ride. It’s evident he spent a lot of time and effort developing it.”

offering a hand-held, wireless system so that visually impaired guests can hear a narrative of scenes unfolding in popular attractions. This device relies on a series of remote, infrared sensors, and also offer captions for guests with hearing loss. “We want to make our rich stories available to everyone,” said Greg Hale, vice president of worldwide safety and accessibility for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. These devices have become a successful side business for Disney as well, as they are marketing the system to other attractions, museums and businesses.

Kalispell autism support group provides encouragement, info

PLUK news feed If you need resource information, could use a little positive encouragement or would like to share your stories with others, call Claire at 892-1819 to join the Kalispell area autism support group. Each meeting is held at the Child Development Center at 1725 Hwy 35 in Kalispell. All family members are encouraged to attend. Respite care is available at a nominal cost.

Special Olympics Summer Games kicks off May 13 in Bozeman

Special Olympics Montana, a 38 year-old movement that enables children and adults with intellectual disabilities to train for life through sports, will conduct the State Summer Games in Bozeman May 13-15. This year marks the first year of a three-year commitment to the city of Bozeman. As an athlete-centered, family-based and volunteer driven organization, Special Olympics Montana relies almost exclusively on the support of community volunteers, businesses and service organizations for leadership, planning and preparation, in-kind and financial gifts. Some 1,000 athletes and 450 coaches from 75 teams will gather in Bozeman to compete in eleven different Olympic-type sports over a three-day period. Competitions will include athletics (track & field), bowling, equestrian, bocce, gymnastics, cycling, golf, powerlifting, soccer, aquatics, triathlon and motor activities training for lower functioning individuals. Horseshoe pitching and kayaking will also be offered as demonstration sports. AWARE will send a number of competitors, all with hopes of bringing home a gold medal. For information about events and volunteering, contact Special Olympics Montana in Great Falls: Special Olympics Montana P.O. Box 3507 Great Falls, Montana 59403 1-800-242-6876 or 406-216-5327 Email: Or contact your local service provider. — Compiled by Bryan Noonan

St. Vincent Hospital in Billings donates wheelchairs to those in need

Story by Suzanne Kydland Ady of The Billings Gazette Thirty-five wheelchairs that have been donated to St. Vincent’s over the past decade are being refurbished and scrounged for parts in order to be donated to needy children. Richard Stepan, a wheelchair sales representative from Helena, is a volunteer with Hope Haven International Ministries. Stepan is part of the Wheelchair Mission International Team that partners with Hope Haven to bring mobility to what Stepan refers to as “the poorest of the poor.” The wheelchairs in Billings are being sent to the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, S.D., to be refurbished. Volunteers at the headquarters of Hope Haven in Rock Valley, Iowa, also work on the wheelchairs. Once refurbished, the chairs will be shipped to any number of places that need them. In the past, Stepan has taken wheelchairs to Israel, Palestine, Jordan/West Bank, Guatemala, Ecuador and several countries in Africa. According to information from Hope Haven, 75,000 free wheelchairs have been delivered to 104 developing countries in the past 14 years.

Device makes Disney World accessible to people with hearing or vision loss Jason Garcia of The Orlando Sentinel Walt Disney World hopes to increase accessibility by


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“Sauerkraut juice,” he reiterated. “She needs sauerkraut juice.” And, the conversation was over. or what the heck is a child Having been taught to respect the and family team anyway wisdom of parents, the worker decided not to ask, “If you think that will work, By Ira S. Lourie, M.D. why didn’t you give her any,” overruled his skepticism and returned the arl Dennis, the father of next time with some sauerkraut juice. wraparound, tells the story It turns out that for some reason, of the worker who was which only this recalcitrant and silent sent to meet with the family of a father seemed to know, the sauerkraut 15-year-old girl following her release juice did work, and the girl got betfrom the hospital where she had gone ter. Not only better, but she grew up because of some serious emotional to become a leader in her state’s parent problems. movement. When he got to the home he found The lesson this young worker it was in a junk­­-yard looking place Dr. Ira Lourie learned had nothing to do with sauerbehind a locked fence keeping in a vicious-looking junk yard dog. The father was work- kraut and its juice. Rather, what he learned had to do ing in the yard moving pieces of steel from one place with respect for family culture and their understanding of their children’s needs. After all, the girl had to another, and he was uncommunicative. grown up with and was cared for 24/7 by her parents When the worker returned to his office, he asked for many years. He also learned how important it is what he should do and he was told to go back and to listen to parents as a way of finding out the most keep trying, which he did. After a month or so of unproductive visits, he came and found the gate open effective interventions. In child mental health, we have changed our parand the dog nowhere to be seen. When he went in the father was still uncommunicative but allowed the ent/family perspective over the last twenty years. At worker to help him move the pieces of steel from one the beginning of that time, we viewed families under the rubric of “Family System” theory, which posplace to another. tulated that individuals needed to be treated within The worker continued to visit over a period of the context of their families. The theory went on to months and as time progressed he was finally having meetings in the house, talking to the girl and her say, the events which happened in a family as well as ongoing family dynamics played a major role in how mother. Father also began to attend the visits but he family members react. It turns out that this theory, sat silently in the corner of the room. which led to the field of family therapy, focused One day, as the worker was going over the treatheavily on seeing family dynamics as a major cause ment plan and medications prescribed, the father of individual mental health problems. This turned finally spoke up, “That won’t work!” out not to be much different than Freudian psychoThe stunned worker asked, “Why?” analytic theory in that it essentially blamed parents Father continued, “Because it won’t! What she for their children’s problems. needs is sauerkraut juice.” I learned a great lesson as to how this focus on “What’s that you say?” said the worker.

Sauerkraut juice



family systems is not always valid. I was working with a family which had an adolescent son who was giving them fits. It got to the point where they could not stand to have him around. They said he was ruining the whole family, and that the therapy was not helping. They wanted to send him to a group home program. Being recently out of my training and steeped in Family System theory, I proposed to them the idea that this would not work. After all, the theory said that the son was just reacting to a disturbed family dynamic and if they kicked him out (as I saw it) that dynamic would continue and then be focused on another family member who would then become the problem. They listened to me patiently and told me they would take that chance and sent him to a group home. I continued to see the family and low and behold, they did much better (as did the son in the group home). So much for my love of Family System theory. It turned out that the boy had some problems that were not workable in the family and both he and his parents did better after he left. Just like the sauerkraut juice worker, I learned from this experience to listen to what families have to say. As the field moved on from Family System theory, it was decided that we needed to stop automatically blaming families for the problems of their children and become as we said, “Family Focused.” This meant a number of things, not the least of course was that we should be family friendly—seeing the family as a strength rather than as a problem. It also meant that for the most part children needed to live with their families. While this was a major step ahead, it still did not get us to the point where we felt that families might have the answers. Rather, the result of us being more family focused was that we felt it was important to discuss things with families and make sure that they were part of the treatment planning process. But, treatment planning was still a process in which a bunch of professionals sat around and basically told families what we, the professionals, thought both we and they should do. Under this system sauerkraut juice would never have come up. Now in the child mental health world we have come to the point where some of us feel that we should take the next step past “Family Focused” to “Family Driven.” What this means is that families

should be deciding what needs to be done for their children and that we need to listen to them. The theory behind this says that families know more about their children and themselves than we as outsiders do. That’s not to say they know more about mental health and mental health interventions than we do. It’s more like, we should not pretend that we know all the answers and we should propose options about what could be done so that the family and the child can make an informed choice. Mental health is not an exact science—in fact, some people would say it is not really a science at all—so why should we pretend that it is? What makes us think that Prozac or something called Dialectical Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will work better than say….sauerkraut juice? In my role as clinician, I most often meet families after they have spent years going to numerous programs and professionals seeking help for their children. Many times those professionals diagnosed the problem and then designated a solution which didn’t work. And, when it didn’t work, the child and/or the family was blamed for that failure. One of the first things I ask these parents is, “Was there anything in the past that did work?,” and there is usually a positive answer. I then ask why that thing wasn’t continued and they reply that the next program the child was in didn’t include that or the next professional they saw didn’t believe in that or thought his or her approach was better; this happens a lot with medications. This then allows me to become a great hero by helping the child’s problem by using a really innovative technique—I merely suggest that we do the thing(s) that worked in the past. We are not good at asking parents what they think and for the most part we write them off. How can we then expect them to become a useful part of helping the child when we ignore them? When we ask parents and listen to their answers, we do everybody including ourselves a favor. Not only does it give us useful information, it also empowers that parent to be a vital part of their child’s care. In family driven care, the family and the professional with whom they work, must become a team working together to meld the knowledge the family has about themselves and their child with the knowledge the professionals bring to the situation. This Continued on next page 19

Shrink wRap... allows the parents and depending on the child’s age a chance to decide what they want to try from the treatment options offered by the professionals or family members. That is what we really mean when we say care should be family driven. In wraparound-style unconditional care, the Family Driven concept is brought to life through what is called a “Child and Family Team.” This team concept developed as a way for a wraparound intervention to assure that all the resources necessary and available to a child can and will be made available to the treatment process. Therefore the team is made up of all of the people whose input and resources could be helpful for a specific child. Under the banner of “more heads are better than one,” it was discovered that, when all of the right people got together, better plans were developed for the child and his or her family. Of course this started with the parents themselves, but went on to include other family members or friends who could be helpful, as well other community resources such as a minister. Also included were those professionals and agency folks who were directly involved with that child. Everybody’s input is accepted into the team meeting as solutions to problems are brainstormed. Many of these solutions are not professional or programmatic but rather are simple solutions coming from family, friends and acquaintances. An example of how this works comes from the team of a boy who would have major tantrums which often got aggressive. (To make this a bit simpler, I’ve changed and embellished this story some.) The boy’s tantrums had gotten so bad that the family was having trouble keeping him and he was going to be sent to a residential program. One of the problems was that often his tantrums got so bad that the police had to be called, whereupon in the midst of his fit he would attack the policeman. The team got together to discuss how to keep this boy at home. While they were discussing the nature of the tantrums and the police involvement, mother was asked how this worked out. She said that most of the time when the police came they got into struggles with the boy which just made things worse. She was then asked, “What do mean by ‘most of the time?’”

She went on to clarify that when a certain police officer showed up he could handle the boy and talk him down and on those occasions things worked out fine. Someone then remarked that it was too bad that he couldn’t be the officer to come all of the time. Then another person suggested that maybe this policeman should become part of the Child and Family Team. It turns out he could come to the team and did—after all he had a good relationship with the boy and liked him (an important qualification for being a team member). A number of suggestions were then made. They were: when he had a tantrum 1) only that policeman would be called, 2) only certain policemen would be called, or 3) being this was a small city, all the policeman would be taught how to approach him. Both mom and son were asked which one they thought he would respond to best, the policeman agreed it was possible and he said he would facilitate it happening. I don’t remember which option was chosen but I know it was tried and much of the need for residential treatment went away. This story just touches the surface of how the Child and Family Team works. After all, this was just one of the boy’s problems and the team had much more to do in order to create a complete intervention. And, what if the policeman-oriented solution had not worked, then the team, complete with the policeman, would have worked together to generate more professional and non-professional strategies for helping the boy. This is the concept of the Child and Family Team. It is not just an expanded treatment team, rather it is “think tank” made up of the most important people for an individual child. Working together, these professionals, family members, agency people, other community folks and the child have the capacity to come up with the most innovative and useful interventions—even sauerkraut juice. Dr. Ira Lourie of Hagerstown, Md., serves as AWARE’s senior medical consultant. He is the author of Everything is Normal Until Proven Otherwise.


Book Marks Book Marks 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 Jim Tracy, public affairs officer. reference on disability policy for decision makers as they implement cutbacks in disability services, given the current economic slowdown.” Providers will find that it allows them to share reliable, hard data with legislators when working on systems changes, strategic planning and budget appropriations.
 The report card on each state’s disability spending performance allows the reader to make comparisons across states.
 Advocacy groups use individual state data to increase requests for waivers or secure matching federal funds The study benchmarks state performance in implementing the community living mandate of the U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead v. L.C. (1999) decision.

State of the States in Developmental Disabilities — Seventh Edition David Braddock, Richard E. Kemp and Mary C. Rizzolo. American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2008 Like its predecessors, the seventh (2008) edition of the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities is a thorough and one-of-a-kind investigation into public spending, revenues and program trends of intellectual and developmental programs and services in the United States since 1977. This latest edition also documents recent reductions in disability support as the U.S. faces economic uncertainty. This reference book bills itself as the single source of objective and hard-to-obtain data on intellectual and developmental disability spending in every U.S. state. It contains more than 100 pages of statistics, graphs and analyses focusing on these issues and more:

„„ National trends in spending on institutional versus community services 
 „„ People with intellectual disabilities living in nursing facilities per state
 „„ Analysis of ICF/MR, HCBS Waiver, and local/county funding sources 
 „„ Recent federal initiatives, including the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and Medicaid Commission recommendations 
 „„ Waiting lists and litigations in each state 
 „„ Rise in aging caregivers and increased longevity of people with intellectual disability and state services

Notable findings in the 2008 edition: In terms of cost of care, Montana spends about $188,095 a year per person in state-operated institutions for 16 or more people and $13,873 per person for supported living and personal assistance. New York spends $362,896 a year per person on state-operated institutions, the most of any state. Arkansas spends the least: $96,260. For supported living and personal assistance, at $86,500 per person per year, Oklahoma spends the most. At $3,990, Texas spends by far the least of any state. The period between 2004-2006 saw the slowest increase in the past 30 years in state spending on community and institutional services per $1,000 of statewide personal income

The book also features a four-page report card on each state’s (and the District of Columbia’s) expenditure on developmental disability programs and services, including the following information:

„„ Trends in Spending „„ Trends in Revenue „„ Intellectual and developmental disability revenue sources in 2006 „„ Federal intellectual and developmental disability Medicaid revenue.

Continued on next page

The publishers describe the book as “an essential 21

Continued from Page 21

Support for public and private institutions declined 6 percent nationally Ten states and the District of Columbia no longer run state-operated institutions
 Twenty nine states and DC projected overall budget gaps for the current fiscal year (2009) appropriations

and many states have adopted tax and expenditure limitation programs Along with many other titles covering topics that should interest AWARE staff, State of the States in Developmental Disabilities is on a shelf in the Media Room/Library on the second floor of the administration office in Anaconda.

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


COMING EVENTS May 20 TASH Webinar Series: Positive Behavior Support 5-6:30pm Webinar Contact: register on TASH web site, May 21 Healthy Montana Kids workgroup 8-10am Arcade Building, 111 North Jackson St. 5th floor Helena, MT Contact: Mary Dalton, (406) 444-4084 May 27 Montana Mental Health-Head Start Consortium 8:30-5pm St. Vincent’s Mansfield Health education center Billings, MT Contact Daniel Eldridge (406) 254-7233 May 27-28 Personal Assistance Services 201 Training 10am Wingate Inn Billings, MT Contact: Abby Holm, (406) 444-4564

June 4 Healthy Montana Kids workgroup 8-10am Arcade Building, 111 North Jackson St. 5th floor Helena, MT Contact: Mary Dalton, (406) 444-4084 June 11 Healthy Montana Kids Workgroup 8-10am Arcade Building, 111 North Jackson St. 5th floor Helena, MT Contact: Mary Dalton, (406) 444-4084 June 12 Trainer of Paraeducator Academies 9-3pm MSU-Billings College of Education Building, Room 417 Billings, MT Contact: Debra Miller, (406) 657-2312 June 15-19 Montana Public Health Summer Institute 1pm MSU-Bozeman For information on class schedule visit Contact: Tulasi Zimmer, (406) 444-7072

May 28 Healthy Montana Kids workgroup 8-10am Arcade Building, 111 North Jackson St. 5th floor Helena, MT Contact: Mary Dalton, (406) 444-4084

June 15 SCERTS Training 9-4pm Carroll College Campus Helena, MT Contact: (406) 227 7322

May 28 Reducing Disproportionality in Special Education Time TBA Webinar Contact: Register online at,

June 18 Healthy Montana Kids Workgroup 8-10am Arcade Building, 111 North Jackson St. 5th floor Helena, MT Contact: Mary Dalton, (406) 444-4084

May 28-29 Annual School Readiness Summit 1-7pm Helena, MT Contact: June 1 Creative Housing Options 1-2:30pm Webinar Contact: Kim Brown (406) 243-4852 June 2 Family Health Advisory Council 10:30-12pm Diane Building conference room and via teleconference Contact: Jo Ann Dotson, (406) 444-4743

June 18-19 Paraeducator Academy: Supports for Challenging Behavior 9-4pm MSU-Billings Liberal Arts Building, Room 206 Billings, MT Contact: Debra Miller (406) 657-2312 June 24 Montana Worksite Health Promotion Coalition Face-to-Face Meeting 10-3pm Colonial Building, third floor meeting room Missoula, MT Contact: Linda Krantz, (406) 444-4105 — Compiled by Bryan Noonan


T: 7 in

Odds of a child becoming a top fashion designer: 1 in 7,000 Odds of a child being diagnosed with autism: 1 in 150

T: 10 in

Some signs to look for:

No big smiles or other joyful expressions by 6 months.

No babbling by 12 months.

No words by 16 months.

To learn more of the signs of autism, visit Š 2007 Autism Speaks Inc. "Autism Speaks" and "It's Time To Listen" & design are trademarks owned by Autism Speaks Inc. All rights reserved.


AWARE taps Yebba for CSCT administration post AWARE’s Comprehensive School and Communitybased Treatment services have a new program administrator. Scott Yebba, located in Helena, began work at the beginning of the year, taking over for the former administrator Pat Noonan, who left the position to serve as a representative of House District 73 in and around Butte. Yebba began working as an office administrator in Helena in 2005. He then successfully placed a bid for a training coordinator position, which he held until beginning his current role as CSCT program administrator. Scott Yebba AWARE’s CSCT program make supports available for kids who are struggling with behavioral and emotional issues in school. Staff work within the school to provide assessment, program

planning, skill-building activities, one-on-one therapeutic support and therapy as needed.Currently, CSCT programs are offered at schools in Butte, Townsend, Bonner, Cascade, Great Falls and Helena. Yebba’s hands-on approach to management involves emails, calls and visits to each school on a daily basis, keeping AWARE employees who are not in traditional offices in the loop on administrative and other matters. A successful CSCT program is meant to become a fully-integrated part of the school environment and structure, Yebba feels, and “the school staff often consider AWARE employees to be a part of the team.” Yebba’s goals are to improve upon an already great service and to expand it into other communities around the state. For questions regarding AWARE’s CSCT services, contact Scott Yebba at 406/449-3120.

Party smile Ashley Paris is all smiles as she enjoys a ride at Geyser Park in Billings. The parents of Zach Miller, an AWARE customer, hosted a birthday party for Zach, customers and AWARE staff in the Magic City on Friday, April 3. AWARE photo.


Disabilities conference draws hundreds to Kwa Taq Nuk By Bryan Noonan


ore than 300 Native and non-native Americans gathered at a conference in Polson April 1 and 2 to listen and learn about topics affecting people with disabilities, from work incentive programs to accessible recreation. The Empowerment Conference for Native Americans with Disabilities was held at the Kwa Taq Nuk resort in Polson. “This year’s conference was outstanding,” said event organizer Barbara Kriskovich, head of the Montana Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, “I was glad to see such a turnout, and all the evaluations came back very positive.” Ross Szabo, director of Youth Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, kicked off the conference with his life story of battling bipolar disorder and common questions that he has come across in his life. “Mental health does not start at treatment.” Szabo said. He advocates that people can and should do things to improve their mental health in their everyday lives. “The first thing to do is get to know yourself and come to terms with your mental state,” he said. If you do feel you have a problem, don’t wait or hide it. The best thing to do is address your problem and talk about it. Accepting yourself is the first step in dealing with a mental illness. Szabo was named 2007 Best Male Performer by Campus Activities Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards and has spoken to more than half a million people about mental health issues over the past five years. After Szabo’s energetic presentation, other speakers informed the audience about Medicare, Social Security and work incentive programs. John Coburn, director of the Make Medicare Work Coalition and team leader of Health & Disability Advocates and Laura Gallaher Watkin, affiliate with HD Advocates, stopped in Polson as part of a national tour leading workshops on Social Security, work incentives, Medicare, Medicaid, Ticket to work and other public benefits. Esther R. Medina, Work Incentives Coordinator for Area I of the Denver Region, which includes Montana, followed up with details on Social Security benefits. 26

She came to the conference to promote, “through education and training, the understanding and use of SSA employment support programs.” Her extensive knowledge of SSA programs offers a great resource for all those wanting to learn more about how working can affect Social Security disability benefits. Physician Dr. Mark Dietz gave in-depth information on traumatic brain injuries and their symptoms. Dr. Dietz practices in Helena at the Fort Harrison Veterans Administration Medical Center and specializes in treating traumatic brain injury in veterans returning from battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Two Medicine Lake Singers and Dancers broke up the day nicely with demonstrations of native traditions for a lunch and exhibit break. Immediately following the break, Jackie Old Coyote, a member of the Crow nation, explained how to increase advocacy in native education and health. Old Coyote’s credentials include a Harvard course in nation building and a degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education Arts in Education Program with a master’s in education. She is following her father’s wish and advocating for Native Americans on a national level. Chris Clasby and Whitney Byrd of MonTech displayed an exhibit and gave a presentation about adaptive recreational equipment and MonTech’s services. They displayed their off-road wheelchair along with adaptive fishing and hunting devices and accessible tents. The KUFM Food Guys, Greg Patent and Jon A. Jackson, explained how to maintain a healthy diet and how important it is for all people to eat right and take care of themselves. They went on to explain how to shop smart and know what products are good and bad. They emphasized buying and eating more fruit and vegetables, explaining that supermarkets would order more rare produce if customers regularly ask. The final speaker of the conference was Dr. Earl Suttle, chairman and CEO of Leadership Success International, LLC, which specializes in working with businesses and organizations to increase their profits and productivity through developing their people. Dr. Suttle urged attendees to become agents of change, to better their mind and expand their horizons through learning and positive thinking. He explained

that without a positive attitude and love for yourself, you can’t accomplish the vital things in life you want. Suttle said becoming an agent of change will make your life more fulfilling while helping the people around you feel better about themselves at the same time. “There is more to life than being successful in the workplace,” he said. “Once you improve your life,”

he said, “you can help others become agents of change, too.” The conference was entertaining as well as informative. Everyone attending looked to be engaged in participating and open to different views provided by the speakers and fellow attendees.

What’s recyclable?

Guests at AWARE Recycling’s open house Saturday, May 16, learned about items made from recyclable materials, courtesy of information provided by Dusti Johnson, recycling and market development specialist with the Department of Environmental Quality. Judy Armbruster, right, shows the material to a visitor. Photo by Jim Tracy 27


This joint resolution will not only focus on Continued from Page 10 people with developmental disabilities, it will focus on those with mental illness, as well. It is My feeling is that administrative expediency intended to focus on the ways in which comshould not trump people’s right to privacy.” munity-based services are currently delivered and make recommendations on ways that those HB453: Review Medicaid Travel Reimburseservices might be delivered in the future. The ment for Targeted Case Management resolution was written to encourage cooperation between Montana’s communities in the planning “This bill was written to instruct the Departand delivery of human services for people with ment of Public Health and Human Services to disabilities and mental illness. study the issue of Medicaid reimbursement for case management travel. Whether that travel is SB399: An act providing children with to a hospital, school, or anything else, the rate is mental health needs with in-state service not in lock step with the rest of the country, and alternatives to out-of-state placement; estabwe thought it was an issue that deserved some lishing Department of Public Health & Human looking at. We knew that – with the budget crisis Service’s information collection and report– raising the rate was going to be an uphill battle, ing requirements regarding high-risk children so we met in the middle and turned this into a with multi-agency service needs. directive for a survey for all those in adult and youth case management that would ideally find This bill, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Laslovich out if there are ways to make transportation more (D-Anaconda), was carried by Noonan upon its accessible to people.” transmittal to the House. For more on this bill, HJ39: Study Development of Additional please see AWARE Ink Volume 3, Issue 2. Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled

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