DD Advocate Magazine - Issue 2

Page 1

Spring 2012

DD Advocate Magazine

The Awareness Issue

People, not poster children Let’s treat people with the respect and dignity they deserve. PAGE 16

Sarah Godsey, 23, of Butler County

Summit DD achieves historic 70% levy win

Controlling costs for the dually eligible

Warren DD choir to compete at world games




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Spring 2012 / Volume 1, Issue 2


DD Advocate Magazine

In This Issue



Adam Herman

3 President’s Letter


4 Transitions



Lisa Brewer

DD Briefing DD


5 National Perspective

Ad Sales

Managing costs and care for the dually eligible population


Ohio Association of County Boards Serving People with Developmental Disabilities

D Leaders DD

Dan Ohler

8 Data-driven strategy powers Summit DD levy success



Embracing a chance opportunity helps a Fairfield DD program flourish



12 County Spotlight: Voices of Warren County


Kristen Helling

DD Artists


13 Passion Works Studio launches house party sales model


Leslie McClain, Ph.D.

DD Worldview


14 Disabilities report author is concerned that many kids have one or no friends



Lori Stanfa


The Awareness Issue


Lana Beddoes

People, not poster children Let’s treat people with the respect and dignity they deserve





Scott Marks

20 Person of the Quarter: Diana Mairose DD News

22 News in a Nutshell DD Words of Wisdom

28 Steve Oster


Sarah Godsey was photographed at Miami University exclusively for DD Advocate Magazine by Rhonda Brown of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities.


DD Advocate Magazine is the official publication and registered trademark (™) of the Ohio Association of County Boards – Serving People with Developmental Disabilities (OACB). All content is copyright ©2012 OACB unless otherwise noted. Written permission is necessary to produce any material for which OACB is the owner. Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of content prior to publication. OACB is not responsible for inaccuracy that arises after the magazine has published. OACB is not responsible for information contained within advertisements and does not endorse the products or services advertised. Inquiries regarding material contained within should be directed to feedback@ddadvocate.com or to: DD Advocate Magazine c/o Adam Herman, Managing Editor 73 E. Wilson Bridge Road, Suite B1 Worthington, OH 43085 For an up-to-date advertising rate card, visit www.ddadvocate.com. All other inquiries may be directed via e-mail to feedback@ddadvocate.com.


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

President’s Letter DEAR COLLEAGUES:


s county boards continue transforming into more effective providers and coordinators of services to people with developmental disabilities, we must always remind ourselves of the most important task we are here to accomplish – offering people with disabilities the chance to have a good life. While striving to meet this goal, we must make sure “the system” never becomes more important than the reason for the system. It becomes easy to forget about the needs of those who depend on us when we spend all of our time focusing on rules, processes, and procedures that govern our daily activities. That misplaced focus can blind us to the risks of burdensome bureaucracy, and distracts us from the true task at hand – creating a sustainable and dynamic model for service delivery that will last for years to come. We are in a moment when change in our system impacts so many stakeholders that no individual or group of individuals has the luxury of watching from the sidelines. Advocates, boards, providers, and – yes – people with developmental disabilities themselves must all recognize the unique responsibility each person has in the transformation process. Let us look within and to one another for opportunities to use our creative talents for the betterment of our system. With resources continuing their steady decline and the cost of doing business


ever rising, it is no longer enough to simply do the same thing better. We must be open to completely reinventing our DD service delivery system. Creativity is at the heart of what transformation should be, and we have a duty to encourage it whenever possible. Without strong partnerships and sharing of ideas we risk unacceptable failure. Real people are counting on us. Our society demands that we support those who are unable to support themselves – it’s our social contract. If you are part of our system’s current transformation, you are helping to re-write that contract. Let’s make sure we get it right. As your new board president, I hope to continue the standard of excellence in leadership demonstrated by those who have served before me. It is with sincere gratitude and most humble appreciation that I accept this new responsibility. With your help, I look forward to tackling many of the challenges that lie ahead for both the Association and the county board system it serves in the coming year.

Blaine Brockman Madison Co. Board of DD

Yours in service,

Blaine Brockman President, Board of Trustees

Spring 2012


John Bosser has been Community Outreach Coordinator at the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities since 2004. He began his writing career as a newspaper reporter and sportswriter in Pennsylvania before becoming an advertising and corporate communications copywriter after relocating to Ohio in 1986. In his first contribution to DD Advocate, he writes about how Fairfield DD’s purchase of a retail art studio and gallery in Lancaster’s historic downtown helped solidify the agency’s contribution to the vibrancy of its community.


Dr. Kathy McMahon-Klosterman is President of the Butler County Board of DD. She is a distinguished professor of educational psychology at Miami University in Oxford, where she developed a new university minor in Disability Studies and led a campaign to install directional signs on all campus doors pointing visitors to the nearest accessible entrance. In her first contribution to DD Advocate, she poses questions for self-reflection on how we as county boards of DD portray people with disabilities to the media and the general public.


Jenny Dexter is Director of Community Relations at the Hamilton County Board of DD Services, where she regularly works with local news outlets to spread awareness of people with developmental disabilities. She is also responsible for overseeing the creation of all publications, events, and web/social media content for the board. In her first contribution to DD Advocate, she explains why Diana Mairose’s advocacy efforts on behalf of people with developmental disabilities has led to her being selected as the Spring 2012 Person of the Quarter.

DD Advocate Magazine



The past three months have been a time of transformation for many Ohio county boards of DD, with staff transitions, promotions, retirements, and appointments taking place in 16 counties. Have you recently made a big transition at your county board? Tell us at feedback@ddadvocate.com we’ll be happy to share the news!



Teresa Fulk, as Athens DD adult services director.

Saul Bauer, formerly the executive director of WESTCON, as superintendent at Logan DD.

Karren Griffith, as Scioto DD adult services director.

David Couch, as Hocking DD superintendent. This is a shared position with Perry County.

Jay Hamilton, as Monroe DD service and support administrator.

Mark Cullison, as habilitation manager at Athens DD.

Marlene Sartini, as Ashtabula DD director of community support services

Russell DuPlain, as director of information technology at Summit DD.


Tammy Garner, former program specialist, in the newly created position of community connections coordinator at Fairfield DD.

Joey Cotter, former investigative agent at Union DD, to the position of lead investigative agent.

Kim Hauck, as director of adult services at Hamilton DD.

Jace Cree, formerly a service and support administrator, to the position of service and support administration associate director at Knox DD.

Shawn K. Jordan, as awareness coordinator at Scioto DD.

Michael Crogan, formerly the habilitation director at Trumbull DD, to the position of workshop director.

Don Newton, formerly of Cuyahoga DD, as support services manager at Union DD.

John Danes, formerly the workshop director at Trumbull DD, to the position of adult services director. Misty Dierkes, to the position of service and support administrator at Monroe DD.

Kelly Hunter, former director of STAR, Inc., to the position of adult services director at Scioto DD. Eric Matheny, to the position of director of service and supports at Summit DD. Angela E. Ray, Ph.D, formerly a psychology services supervisor, to the position of director of psychology at Franklin DD. Teresa Vernon, formerly a service and support administrator, to the position of Community Services Director at Knox DD. Lorrie Williams, formerly a service and support administrator, to the position of adult services manager at Morrow DD.

Lynn Sargi, as director of human resources at Summit DD. Molly Wobbecke, formerly of Knox DD, as a program manager in the Division of Policy and Strategic Direction at the Ohio Department of DD.

Appointed John Bickley, recently retired CEO of the YMCA of Central Ohio, as a board member at Franklin DD. Beth Savage, President of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO), as a board member at Franklin DD. Mike Thompson, as a board member at Ross DD. Roger Smith, as a board member at Ross DD.

In Memoriam Anne Slanker (1948-2011) Throughout her life, Anne Slanker was a healer. A medical professional in various capacities for 40 years, she lived her life helping people. Anne lost her courageous battle with cancer December 21. She is survived by her husband Ted and two children, Krista and Nate (pictured right). Anne leaves behind a legacy of nurturing that was apparent to all who worked with her over the past 10 years as Health Services Coordinator for Madison DD. A nurse by profession, Anne used that medical knowledge – as well as her Anne (left), with her children upbeat personality and sense of humor – to Krista and Nate care for people with disabilities. Anne served as Chairperson of the Health and Safety Committee, served on the Ohio Health Care Advisory Board, and facilitated the Regional Nurses’ Group. Her knowledge in the medical field and expertise in caring for people with developmental disabilities were well respected throughout the state. She made even the most difficult nursing task seem effortless. While she was gifted as a professional, it was Anne’s wonderful, caring personality that will be missed most of all. She was a true friend to all who worked with her. Throughout a time in her life that was terrible beyond words, Anne continued to come in to the office every day, greet us with her warm smile and do what she always did best – heal others. We are deeply grateful to have known her. She will be missed.


Sarah Gerard, formerly the lead investigative agent at Union DD, to the position of adult day services manager.

Peggy Kurz, as director of service and support administration at Hamilton DD.

Kelly Rosler, as quality services supervisor at Southern Ohio Council of Governments (SOCOG).

– Jeff Gates


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

D Briefing DD

National Perspective BY DAN OHLER / OACB

Editor’s Note: A number of events are taking place this March that could have serious consequences for our state, if not our nation, for years to come. In a new feature of our Briefing section, Executive Director Dan Ohler shares his National Perspective on issues currently being debated in Washington, D.C. that could affect Ohio’s DD service delivery system.



Ohio voices in Washington

Supreme Court hearing major health policy cases

Ohio will continue to have a major impact on national policy discussions in 2012, though some faces in our state’s delegation will be different following the November election. Just before this magazine went to print, Toledo Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur defeated long-time Congressman Dennis Kucinich to represent a combined district that stretches from Cleveland to Toledo along the Lake Erie shoreline. In southwest Ohio, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt was defeated in her Republican primary by Brad Wenstrup, a relative political newcomer. Joyce Beatty, a former Ohio House Minority Leader, defeated former Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy in the Democratic primary for Ohio’s new 3rd District, which includes most of the Columbus metro area. She will likely head to Congress after November as the district is heavily Democratic. Last, but certainly not least, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is seeking to oust U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who is completing his first term in office since being elected in 2006. OACB staff will be among the first to schedule meetings with new representatives following the November election to brief them on issues important to our system.

Another significant event in March will take place when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the individual mandate of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Given the conservative majority on the bench, many believe the mandate will be overturned. Perhaps it will be, but both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia (staunch conservatives) have taken expansive views of congressional authority over states in past decisions CREDIT: U.S. SUPREME COURT – throwing the somewhat predictable slant of the right-leaning court into question. Add to that a late 2011 decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to give states more authority in how they structure their health insurance exchanges, and the outcome of the high court may come out in favor of the President’s first-term crowning domestic policy initiative after all. Regardless of the ruling, which is expected in June, the issue is nearly certain to be a front and center for the The U.S. Supreme Court will hear challenges to the Affordable Care Act in the coming months. remainder of this election year. SELF WAIVER

New self-directed waiver moving forward In Ohio, March marks Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This year, there will likely be lots of celebration that Ohio has finally received approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to implement a self-directed waiver. While actual implementation of that waiver is set for July, meetings and workgroups in March will set the stage for administrative rules and policies that will likely define the practical implications of how that waiver is going to be used. As with any waiver, there will be room for adjustments as we learn the lessons of what works and what needs improvement. The SELF Waiver is arguably the most anticipated new program for Ohio’s developmental disability service system since the advent of Supported Living in the early 1980s. How it starts will prove critical to its future success, and OACB will continue to act as a resource for both members and policymakers to ensure it achieves all of its stated goals.

Your voice in D.C. Association staff members are attending two major events in Washington, D.C. during March and April that will be reported on in the next edition of DD Advocate. On March 5-7, the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors (NACBHDD) holds its annual Legislative and

Policy Conference, at which Dan Ohler, Pete Moore, and Dustin McKee represent OACB. On April 23-25, McKee will attend the Disability Policy Seminar (sponsored by The Arc, AUCD, United Cerebral Palsy, AAIDD, and others) as a representative of OACB, providing a full report of the issues discussed upon his return.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Briefing

Managing costs and care for Ohio’s dually eligible population BY DUSTIN MCKEE / OACB While the failure of the Congressional “Super Committee” to come up with a long-term solution to reduce our nation’s debt has temporarily paused major Medicaid cuts and restructuring at the federal level, health policy experts at all levels of government are continuing to search for ways to reduce the growth in the costs associated with the program. This is a challenging task given the desire of policy makers to avoid any reduction in quality or access for Medicaid beneficiaries. In this edition of Briefing, an issue receiving a great deal of attention – “dual eligibles” – is discussed in detail as one possible way to reduce costs in Ohio.

Who are dual eligibles? The dually eligible population – individuals who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare – currently stands at more than 9 million people in the United States.1,2 They have some of the most severe disabilities and complex medical needs of all of the beneficiaries enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare. People who are dually eligible are often afflicted with several chronic diseases and are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness and/or intellectual disability than the general population enrolled in


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

Medicaid or Medicare. Dual eligibles are also more likely to struggle with all of the challenges associated with living in poverty, and often lack a high school diploma.2,3,4 For developmental disabilities advocates, understanding the challenges of serving this population is important for a couple of reasons. First, people with intellectual disabilities (one type of developmental disability) make up an estimated 5-18% of the dually eligible population.5 Second, finding ways to better coordinate care for the dually eligible population should lead to more positive medical outcomes and significant cost savings for Medicaid and Medicare. This is because people who are dually eligible make up a mere 15% of Medicaid enrollees, but account for 39% of the program’s total spending. In Medicare, 21% of enrollees are dually eligible, yet they account for 36% of the program’s total expenditures.1

The challenges of dual eligibility It is very expensive to serve individuals who are dually eligible. In addition to the high cost of treating multiple chronic conditions, the disparate nature of the rules and practices associated with the Medicaid program and the Medicare program often

lead to costly and damaging gaps and/or overlaps in coverage.3 In order to better understand how the lack of alignment between the Medicare and Medicaid programs can lead to gaps in coverage and increased cost, let’s discuss a hypothetical person named John. John is 21 years old and has sustained a traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident. Although John worked in high school and college, the disabilities he sustained from his accident now prohibit him from doing so. Following his accident, John is approved for Medicaid due to his low level of income and his medically verified disability. After applying for and receiving Medicaid, John is able to obtain special medication to control symptoms of medical conditions that he suffers as a result of the accident. Following John’s enrollment on Medicaid, he applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). After many months, the Social Security Administration determines that he is eligible for SSDI based upon his work history and the severity of his disabling condition. As SSDI currently operates, John is also enrolled in Medicare a short 24 months later. His plan automatically enrolls him in Medicare Part D, which covers

certain pharmaceuticals based on the plan’s formulary. Medicare is now the primary payer for John’s prescription medication needs. Unfortunately, when John goes to the pharmacy to pick up his special medication, he is told that his medication won’t be paid for because the Medicare Part D plan in which he was automatically enrolled doesn’t cover that particular kind of medication. Later that week, John goes to the emergency room due to the medical complications that arise as a consequence of being temporarily deprived of his medications, with Medicare footing the bill. At the end of the day, John has received less care, damaged his health, and increased costs for both programs. This complex inefficiency is frequently the norm in cases of dual eligibles.

What is being done to fix this problem? The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) contained several provisions aimed at improving the coordination of care for dually eligible individuals. In order to improve the functional relationship between Medicaid and Medicare, Congress inserted provisions in the PPACA to create two new human services related entities.6 The first, known as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), is intended to improve the quality and cost of care through various initiatives aimed at transforming how services are delivered and paid for by both programs.6 One initiative CMMI is currently working on has helped to establish demonstration programs in 15 different states to create service delivery models that integrate care for individuals who are dually eligible.7 The second entity established by the PPACA is referred to as the “Duals Office,” or the Federal Coordinated Health Care Office (FCHCO). The Duals Office was created to help improve access to care for people who are dually eligible. It was also created to help provide information to states and various provider groups to assist them in creating a system of care that reduces costly overlaps and gaps in care for the dually eligible population. Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs) In many states, specific kinds of Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare plans that supplement traditional Medicare benefits) known as Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are available to consumers who are dually

eligible.1 SNPs were established by Congress in the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 in order to assist Medicare beneficiaries who were also eligible for Medicaid with their extraordinary care needs.8 These special Medicare Advantage plans have been somewhat effective in reducing costs through better care coordination for the dually eligible. However, like most solutions to complex problems, SNPs don’t represent a panacea. Thus far, health policy experts have described SNPs success in coordinating care between two distinct public health programs as “more of a goal than a reality.”9 State Approaches Due to burgeoning Medicaid costs (and the burden that these costs place on already strained state budgets), states like Arizona, Massachusetts, and Minnesota have recently implemented programs to better coordinate care for the dually eligible population with some success. Other states, including Ohio, are still exploring ways in which they can reduce their Medicaid expenditures while protecting and enhancing the quality of care provided to dually eligible individuals. Each state’s approach is different due to the varying conditions and circumstances in each state. However, the use of some sort of capitated (defined, per-person annual payment) system is common.1 Here in Columbus, the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation recently released a “straw-man” proposal to overhaul the state’s approach on care for dually eligible individuals. According to Greg Moody, Director of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation, “The goal of an

Integrated Care Delivery System (ICDS) model is to provide the most integrated and coordinated care by creating one point of contact for beneficiaries and developing a service-delivery system that is person-centered, increases choice and is easy for individuals and providers to navigate. Our ‘straw man’ proposal is a first step in reaching this goal, and we look forward to getting feedback from individuals, families, advocates and others on the initial proposal to help mold the final plan we will eventually submit to the federal government.” Although details on the ICDS are rather vague, it is clear that it will involve the use of a Medicaid HCBS waiver and a person-centered care management model. Also, individuals who are dually eligible but are already being served in Ohio’s developmental disability system will be exempt from the system. However, according to the recently released ”Straw-Man Proposal” from OHT, the individuals “may be added to the system at some point in the future, but there is no current plan to do so.”

Continuing Developments Addressing the problems associated with the diverse and challenging needs of the dually eligible population is receiving a great deal of attention in government and health policy circles. OACB will work to keep its members informed about ongoing developments, and will continue to discuss some of the “big-picture” Medicaid and health policy issues that impact persons with developmental disabilities in future issues of DD Advocate.

Cited Resources / Further Reading 1 Verdier, J. M., Au, M., Gillooly, J. “Managing the Care of Dual Eligible Beneficiaries: A Review of Selected State Programs and Special Needs Plans”. A report by staff from Mathematica Policy Research, Inc, for the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Washington DC: Mathematica Policy Research Inc. June 2011. No. 11-2, p. 1. 2 MedPAC. “Coordinating the Care of Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries.” Report to Congress, Chapter 5. Washington DC: MedPAC, June 2010. 3 Burke, G. & Prindiville, K. “Medicare and Medicaid Alignment: Challenges and Opportunities for Serving Dual Eligibles. Issue Brief. National Senior Citizens Law Center, August, 2011. 4 National Senior Citizens Law Center. “Dual Eligibles Fact Sheet”. December 1st, 2011. PDF available at [http://www.nsclc.org/index.php/fact-sheet-dual-eligibles/] retrieved on January 8th, 2012. 5 The Arc. “Overview of Dual Eligibles” see [http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=3312] accessed January 9th, 2012. 6 Affordable Care Act Provisions Relating to the Care of Dually Eligible Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Issue Brief: May 2011. Publication Number 8129. Available at [http://www.kff.org/healthreform/8192.cfm]. 7 For more information see: http://innovations.cms.gov/ 8 Milligan, J. M. Jr, & Woodcock, C.H. University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans for Dual Eligibles: A Primer. The Common Wealth Fund. Issue Brief: February 2008. 9 Gold, M., Jacobson, G., Damico, A. and Neuman, T. “Special Needs Plans: Availability and Enrollment. Kaiser Family Foundation: Program on Medicare Policy, Medicare Advantage Data Spotlight. Publication Number 8229. September 2011. Available at [http://www.kff.org/medicare/8229.cfm].

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Leaders DD

Data-driven strategy powers Summit DD levy success BY KEVIN MCGEE / LEVY COMMITTEE COORDINATOR

SELF-ADVOCATE “CHAMPIONS” LED THE WAY TO HISTORIC 70% VICTORY This past November, voters approved a 4.5 mill renewal levy for the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) with a resounding 70.16% stamp of approval – the highest pass rate ever achieved by a countywide tax issue in Summit County history. But this level of support was no accident – in fact, it was nearly identical to the projected goal of the levy campaign a full six months before the election. This forecast of unprecedented support has led many observers to ask – “How did they do it?” The answer is simple – targeted voter engagement. Families and staff worked side-by-side to achieve one goal: reach as many voters as possible with the right message. But constituent engagement is needed for any campaign, win or lose. Levy campaigns require good people and hard work, but such things alone are no guarantee of success. What did Summit County’s marketing team do differently?


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

Research, research, research A significant amount of research provided the foundation of the Issue 25 campaign. Seven years of annual public attitude surveys provided a good measurement of public perception of the agency, its brand recognition, and overall favorability ratings. The last of these studies, conducted in February 2011 with 800 likely voters, showed a 65.5% support level for a 4.5 mill levy issue. This survey also showed that 27.3% were undecided as to how they would vote on Issue 25. These two voter groups – undecided and supporters – became the basis for all campaign outreach strategies. Focus groups To determine effective messages for each group, the Issue 25 communications team conducted informal research in the form of focus groups to review potential persuasive and motivational messages. Sample materials – including yard signs, newspaper ads, fact sheets, post cards, TV spots, and radio messages – were shown to the groups to gauge their effectiveness. From these focus groups came a list of priority messages that were determined to be most effective in persuading the undecided voter, including:

Issue 25 is not a new tax; Issue 25 will raise 4.5 mills for 6 years; Issue 25 provides services for more than 4,000 eligible people; Issue 25 delivers on promises made during the last election; and Issue 25 represents a good use of taxpayer dollars. The messages targeted toward supporters were designed to motivate the largest possible turnout by communicating key motivational messages to actually get out the vote. These included: Voting early; Voting on election day; Taking someone to vote; Requesting a yard sign; and Telling someone about the levy.

Identifying each group of voters Once messaging was refined, campaign volunteers used elements of the research report to identify real-life Summit County voters in each of the target groups. They did this by comparing the data to the voter file obtained from the Summit County Board of Elections. By comparing precinct results from a past election, as well as audience characteristics

Far left: Volunteers greet rush hour drivers in support of Issue 25. Left: The Issue 25 street team heads out to speak with neighborhood residents.

Below: Summit DD Champions included a diverse group of people served by the board, including some of their family members.


determined through the survey, two statistical models were developed: one for the typical undecided voter and another for the typical supporter voter. The models considered a variety of characteristics, including: gender, race, education level, household income, age, political party affiliation and precinct support from a prior ballot issue election. Using these models, the team purchased commercially available data and appended individual characteristics to each and every likely voter in the voter file. Voters were given a statistical strength score that ranked them according to these two categories in comparison to all other likely voters. This ranking provided a sorted list of voters, in priority order, to be used in direct marketing to each of the two target audiences. When the voters had been identified and ranked, their home addresses were data-mapped to reveal clusters of voters from each group for geographically targeted marketing opportunities.

Self-advocates as thought leaders After all the research was complete, the campaign hinged on the delivery of authentic messages that would either persuade or

motivate targeted voters. This authenticity was achieved by holding a casting call in which people with developmental disabilities served by the board, who later became known as “Champions,” were recruited to step forward, model for the ad campaign, share their message with voters. In some cases, family members also participated with the individual Champions to send a stronger message. One of the key elements considered when recruiting this group was to ensure that one spokesperson was selected in each of ten geographically targeted zones throughout the county. This community-based strategy allowed self-advocates to be the spokespeople for their respective communities, delivering campaign messages to their friends and neighbors. There was also a concerted effort to make sure there were Champions of all age groups, races, and disabilities, so that voters were shown a realistic and diverse group of individuals served by the Summit DD board.

However, in an exit poll of those who voted that was conducted after the election, the growing impact of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) could easily be seen. According to the data, more than 12%, or 22,000 voters, reported receiving campaign messages via social media. This 12% was the same percentage as the reported reach of the 120,000 phone calls or 80,000 door hangers – the key difference being the fact that the social media effort was conducted at a fraction of the cost. By providing the message and platform for Issue 25 Champions and other supporters to use in social media, each person’s story was magnified by the power of their individual social networks. And while the campaign did use paid social media ads, nothing compared to the engagement generated when Champions and others acted as influencers and thought leaders in their own networks, blogs, and Facebook pages.

A historic success Various outreach methods used Direct mail post cards, billboards, door hangers and newspaper ads featuring the spokespeople were then distributed and posted in each individual’s home community. Champions and their families also participated in a speaker’s bureau, in which they shared their first-hand experiences and personal reasons about the need to maintain critical DD services and supports in public or other group speaking settings. The Summit DD Champions reached thousands of potential voters and brought the authenticity that was required to effectively persuade those who were undecided. The level of engagement delivered by these ten individuals and their families inspired the Summit DD board members and staff, motivated our large group of campaign volunteers, and brought a spirit of self-advocacy to the Issue 25 effort. They were the soul of the campaign, and their effort was invaluable. Power of social media The Issue 25 campaign in many ways was a traditional integrated media campaign, as both TV and radio commercials were used in conjunction with other campaign elements.

In the end, Issue 25 went in the history books as a resounding victory thanks to a carefully researched and well-executed strategy. Without the support of our Champions, their families, and the staff and volunteers of the Summit DD board, we would not have been nearly as successful as we were. We will be forever grateful for their contributions, and are already laying the building blocks for our next campaign in 2017.

For county boards currently considering a levy campaign, the Issue 25 website remains online as a resource: www.VoteForSummitDD.org. We hope you will be able to the materials contained within and benefit from our experience! For more information not included on the Web site listed above, readers can contact Kevin McGee at (330) 819-4403 or kmcgee@VoteForSummitdd.com. Special thanks to Billie Jo David and Lucky Tisch, who also contributed to this article. –KM

DD Advocate Magazine


Left: The ArtWalk, pictured here, is held each July during the Lancaster Festival and brings thousands of visitors through Art & Clay’s doors.

“There is a place for people with disabilities in the business world, as well as throughout society.”


Embracing a chance opportunity helps a Fairfield DD program flourish BY JOHN BOSSER / FAIRFIELD DD Ready…fire…aim.

Going With Your Gut

Developing the Business Plan

All the planning in the world can’t prepare you for a chance opportunity when it presents itself out of the blue.

“If we had planned for purchasing a business, or even starting one, we could have easily been our own worst enemy,” said Pekar. “But we really didn’t have more than a month or so to come up with a plan to make this purchase, so we were able to maintain our focus and get the job done.”

Fairfield DD called in Enterprise Works, a non-profit focused on “building self-sufficiency and social responsibility among consumer communities that include people with disabilities” throughout Central Ohio, to develop a business plan. They looked at similar operations in surrounding counties, helped develop a staffing plan, and established the retail model and its accompanying price plan.

That was the case in early 2010 when the owners of Art & Clay on Main, a trendy ceramics studio and retail art gallery in downtown Lancaster, announced that they were closing after 10 years in business. The Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities had partnered with Art & Clay on a number of projects. Blue Shoe Arts, which provides opportunities for artists with disabilities, had exhibited its work at Art & Clay. Groups of both children and adults had also completed ceramics projects there. With the future of the successful partnership potentially at risk, Superintendent John Pekar, along with the Fairfield DD leadership team, board members, and the Fairfield Industries Board (Fairfield DD’s non-profit partner) acted swiftly to put together a proposal to purchase the business.


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

There was money available in the adult program funds to purchase the assets of the business, which had been successful throughout its first decade. The owner, who had accepted a job outside the county, decided that she couldn’t keep up with the demand of running a business without being there in person on a regular basis. “We had been looking for a way to make Blue Shoe Arts more visible in the community,” added Pekar. “And we had just started working on an initiative to help individuals with customized employment opportunities. “The entire package fit together very nicely. And it has paid off by providing the kind of social capital that we hadn’t even anticipated.”

Marcia Duffy and Melody Borchers from Enterprise Works, along with a group of management students from Ohio University, interviewed Fairfield DD’s leadership team and took a close look at the makeup of the changing downtown business climate. Art & Clay was, and remains, a niche business, drawing families and school groups to an area that draws more people for its services than the traditional retail destination it had been. The shops and small department stores of yesteryear have given way to financial institutions, restaurants and other service-oriented businesses.



Left: Community leaders, staff and Blue Shoe artists celebrate the business opening with a ribbon-cutting. Center: Art instructor Jessi Bash, right, shares her artistic talent with customer Deb Willette. Right: Blue Shoe artist Joseph Greene is an excellent reflection of what Art & Clay has become.

“After we brought in Enterprise Works and met with the students from Ohio University, we knew we were on the right track,” said Pekar.

said Pekar. “They wondered if we would be interested in making a play for another storefront by possibly opening a newsstand or convenience store.”

Two years later, the business is providing vocational opportunities for a number of individuals with disabilities, and it is now home to a studio and gallery space for the Blue Shoe Arts artists.

That confirmed something that Fairfield DD, as well as other county boards across the state, already knew. There is a place for people with disabilities in the business world, as well as throughout society.

Revenues have exceeded projections. Three of the six employees are people with disabilities served by the board through Community Employment Services. And Destination Downtown Lancaster, the downtown business association, recently named Art & Clay the Business of the Year for 2011.

“We’ve always said that ‘we can be your friend, we can sit next to you at church, or be your co-worker,’ ” said Pekar. “But what Mike said that day was that we could become a player in economic development…that we could really contribute to the vibrancy of the community.”

Looking for new business opportunities Shortly after the business opened under new management, Lancaster City Economic Development Director Mike Pettit approached Pekar with a proposal. If Fairfield DD could “rescue” one business, could it also open other businesses that would meet the needs of other downtown consumers? It seems that one of the “missing links,” according to a survey of downtown businesses, was a convenience-style store. “Someone pointed out to Mike that, since the only remaining ‘mom and pop’ drug store in downtown had closed, you couldn’t even buy a pack of gum or get a light snack,”

The agency had been in the midst of planning for its 2012-2016 Comprehensive Long Range Plan, and it had been asking stakeholders for input. During this process, a staff member had submitted a comment that “we can only be as successful as our community is vibrant.” This comment led to a change in Fairfield DD’s mission statement: To Bring About a

Vibrant Community Where People Lead Fulfilling Lives and Make Meaningful Contributions. “That’s when the light bulb went on,” said Pekar. “We can contribute to making the community more vibrant – a better place to live. We knew that we were helping people lead more fulfilling lives, and that Art & Clay was a game changer. Now we’re trying to identify what the next game changers might be.” Fairfield DD staff members are trying to stay ahead of the curve and find out what might be the next big thing at Art & Clay. They’re kicking around the idea of opening a small café that can draw people from surrounding businesses for breakfast, lunch or snacks – or even a little newsstand where they can get a pack of gum. In any case, they will be working to improve what has already been proven to be a resounding – albeit somewhat inadvertent – success. “If we can even come close to our success with Art & Clay, we’ll have another fantastic program on our hands,” Pekar said.

Art & Clay on Main is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. In the winter months (November-March), they are open from Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. For more information about Art & Clay on Main, visit www.artandclayonmain.com.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Leaders DD

County Spotlight: Voices of Warren County BY DAWN MCKENNA / WARREN DD An experienced choral director and avid music lover, Ellen Hudson has helped hundreds of singers reach their fullest potential. When the Warren County Board of DD asked her to take the reins and lead a brand-new choir formed by participants of the board’s day program, however, she knew the challenges that lay ahead would be unlike any she had ever faced. But face them she did, and nearly four years later this once-novice singing crew is preparing to compete in the World Choir Games, taking place this year in nearby Cincinnati. Started in 2008, Voices of Warren County was created at the request of a Warren County Board of DD day program participant. Hudson thought that bringing such an inexperienced and diverse group of people together might be difficult for the first few practices, but knew she had to start somewhere to get the ball rolling.

Above: Choral director Ellen Hudson and the choir practice at the Warren County Board of DD.

ovation—an impressive honor for a new choir. “There were few dry eyes in the audience when we had finished,” Hudson said.

“Many of our singers knew the majority of the words in the songs we were singing, but getting everyone to follow my directions and stay in tune with each other was quite daunting,” Hudson said. “After several practices, though, we really began to hit our stride.”

For choir member Terri Smith, singing is very important. When asked what she likes most about being a member of the choir, Terri said, “I just like to sing with my friends.” Terri and a small group of choir members recently performed for the Lebanon Rotary Club at their pre-holiday luncheon. The entire choir practices together twice a week, and has hosted several fundraising events to finance the expansion of their activities.

Choir participants often can’t wait to go to practice, for the activity offers them a break from the routine tasks of their daily work. These practices helped them get ready for their first big performance, which was held in the fall of 2008 to rave reviews from attendees. It was at this point that they added several new members, and took on their current form as a highly disciplined singing group.

All of this practice and fundraising is in preparation for the World Choir Games, which will provide each singer with the experience of a lifetime as they share their unique talents and abilities on a world stage. Choir members are excited to learn about the many different cultures and customs that will surely be present at the event, and are honored to serve as ambassadors of the Warren County Board of DD.

Word began to spread about that first performance, and soon they were receiving invitations to perform at local school functions and venues like the Warren County Fair opening ceremony. Hudson recalled one event at Lebanon High School where Voices received their first standing 12

Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue


Above: Newest choir member Todd Fuqua and choral director Ellen Hudson.

Music, for most of the 30 choir members, is a path toward further independence. Their participation offers them not only the opportunity to showcase their individual abilities, but to gather with friends, learn new things, and integrate with their community. “We’ve come a long way to get to this point,” Hudson said. “With this group, I don’t see us stopping any time soon. Our hard work is about to pay off, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Voices of Warren County shows that awareness can take many forms. Would you like to know more about this activity, including how you can possibly create a program like it at your county board? Contact the author at (513) 695-1857 or dawn.mckenna@co.warren.oh.us for information.

D Artists DD

Passion Works Studio launches house party sales model BY ADAM HERMAN / OACB PHOTOS BY ADAM HERMAN

One of Ohio’s best-known art programs for people with developmental disabilities – Athens DD’s Passion Works Studio – has been an innovative leader in Ohio’s DD art community since its establishment in 1998. A program of the Athens County Board of DD and ATCO, Inc. (the Board’s affiliated non-profit corporation), Passion Works pairs professional and amateur artists with Athens DD adult service program participants to create collaborative, one-of-a-kind art pieces. Many of these original creations – as well as reproductions printed on branded merchandise, such as jewelry, ornaments, clocks, and greeting cards – are sold in a storefront gallery owned and operated by the program in downtown Athens. The arrangement offers participants with and without disabilities meaningful employment opportunities while creating a sustainable funding stream to support Passion Works’ continued operation. The unique products created by studio artists have become very popular among Athens County residents, and are frequently purchased as gifts and presented as commemorative items for special occasions throughout the state. With sales going strong in traditional markets, Passion Works managers are looking to a new model – Passion Works House Parties – to continue their track record of innovation in support of art programs for people with developmental disabilities. “The Internet has been a great sales tool for us so far, but an image on a computer screen just can’t compare to seeing many of these pieces in person,” said David Barba, director of the Passion Works program and production manager of ATCO, Inc. “By taking the merchandise directly to our customers, we have the ability to increase sales as well as overall awareness of the program. Either way, people with developmental disabilities will benefit from the increased exposure.”

Top of Page: Artwork by Nancy Dicks ks and Alexis Rhinehart. Above: Athens DD Superintendent Eric Young (right) stands with Passion Works Studio artist Bill Dooley (left), who holds one of his recent creations.

House parties have been a staple of many niche product lines for decades. Scented candles, woven baskets, and private-brand cosmetics are but a few of the industries that have prospered by combining quality products with their customers’ personal networks to generate sales. Barba hopes that similar success will come to the Passion Works program once word begins to spread. “We often hear from customers who ask how their friends and family members can purchase our products without having to visit Athens or go online,” Barba said. “By throwing a house party, it’s like we’re opening a gallery in a person’s living room. We’re excited to see where this idea may lead us as we continue to explore new venues for selling our products.” Passion Works Studio home party consultants act as independent business owners who promote Passion Works Studio, its artists,

Above right: The studio’s unique and iconic Passion Flower. Below: Paint-speckled drying racks hold dozens of pieces by Passion Works artists at the studio’s gallery in Athens.

and its product line in the homes of volunteer hosts. The consultant leads the house party through a presentation about the program, answers any questions the host or guests may have, and processes both orders and payments. Once the orders arrive, they work with the party host to distribute the products as well as find potential candidates for future house parties. While it is too soon to tell how successful this initiative will ultimately be, it certainly deserves a closer look for possible implementation at other county boards throughout the state.

Would you like to find out how you may be able to model this program at your county board? Want to volunteer as a house party host for Passion Works products? Contact Joyce Frank at (740) 592-6659 or email homeparty@passionworks.org for more information. Shop online: www.passionworks.org

DD Advocate Magazine


Dear Online Reader:

print edition ion contained in the ct se � ew vi ld or “W e ht Unfortunately, th ewing due to copyrig vi e lin on r fo e bl la ai t av of DD Advocate is no . ns licensing restrictio 1hRJ. t, visit http://bit.ly/As ex nt co al in ig or its To view this article in ship. iate your loyal reader As always, we apprec Best regards,

Adam Herman Managing Editor

Spring Feature

The Awareness Issue

People, not poster children Let’s treat people with the respect and dignity they deserve. BY KATHY MCMAHON KLOSTERMAN, ED.D. BOARD PRESIDENT, BUTLER DD


hat is your first memory of a person with a disability? For members of the

general public not personally affected by disability, that first memory is

often of a classmate. And sadly, more often than not, that memory of their

classmate is limited to what they were able to see from the outside of a segregated classroom at the end of the hall. Most of us have an unconscious memory of disability from storybooks, fairytales, and children’s movies. If I described a story character with a patched eye and a peg leg, or an old woman with a hunched back and warts, would you assume the character is a “good” person or a “bad” person in the story? PHOTO BY RHONDA BROWN

In 1994 , Sarah Godsey was a “poster child” (right) for the Butler County Board of DD levy campaign. Now 23, she feels conflicted about her role in promoting unrealistic images of people with DD. IMAGE COURTESY BUTLER DD ARCHIVES

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s a society, we first viewed disability as something evil that should be feared. This is a holdover from the old moral model of disability, in which a physical or intellectual impairment is seen as “the sins of the parents visited upon the children,” or in other words, the consequence of some evil deed. We abandoned this model in the United States many years ago but continue to suffer from the residual effects that are represented and go largely unchallenged in the media. After leaving the moral model, we moved to the medical model of disability. The medical model expects a person to be “fixed” or “cured.” Its underlying message is that people with disabilities should act as much like non-disabled people as possible. Essentially, a person’s disability is his or her own problem to cope with on an individual basis. After all, since most of us can use stairs with ease, the person who uses a wheelchair should figure out how to negotiate a non-accessible building on their own, right? Many Americans still view disability through this lens. Fortunately, our society is now beginning to move away from the idea of “fixing” people with disabilities in recognition of the fact that disability is more of a social construction than anything else. The social construction model states that disability is a normal part of human diversity. If any problem truly exists, it is in the attitudes and physical barriers society places on people with disabilities that prevent them from fully participating and integrating into a largely non-disabled world. The social construction model views disability as a civil rights issue to be addressed by the society as a whole – not just by people with disabilities. As county boards of DD, we are uniquely positioned to promote this social construction model of disability. But have we progressed far enough from the medical model – even within our own system – to successfully do so? A closer look yields interesting observations. With the possible exception of some of this magazine’s younger readers, most can easily recall Jerry’s Kids telethons for muscular dystrophy (MD). These television events featured children with visibly disabling MD in an effort to elicit pity – and resulting cash donations – from viewers in search of a “cure.” Perhaps we are right to search for a “cure.” Or perhaps we are only trying to lessen our own personal discomfort with the thought of having a disability ourselves. In either case, when supporting people with

disabilities is seen as charity, those who are temporarily able-bodied see themselves as having the privilege of providing service and accessibility to people with disabilities out of the goodness of their hearts – rather than seeing equal access to jobs, housing, voting, etc. as a civil right for all citizens. This mindset is ultimately unproductive – both at finding these alleged “cures,” as well as making a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Events like the Jerry’s Kids telethon represent an extension of the medical model of disability, and solidifies the belief in the general public that people with disabilities should act or appear as non-disabled as possible. Aside from being unproductive, this mindset can also be quite damaging to the very people who are supposed to benefit from such charity. Begging for dollars comes at the cost of human dignity for people with disabilities and, quite frankly, is often reminiscent of a circus freak show. The continuous search for a cure reinforces the idea that people with disabilities are sick or diseased. Rather than focusing on how to live a happy, well-adjusted life as a person with a disability, this model reinforces the need to fix the person. In the context of county boards of DD, the use of children in levy campaigns can reinforce the notion that a disability makes a person a perpetual child who is and probably always will be a noncontributing, dependent member of society. The disabled child is seen as cute and pitiable, so they often get top billing on billboards and campaign literature. All the while, a significant portion of Ohio’s disability community – adults – remain stigmatized as cripples using tax dollars because no alternate images are presented by those who know them best. All of us spend far more of our lives as adults than as children. For this reason, the representation of disability through images of children is limiting and unrealistic. Whether consciously or not, many of us involved with the disability community use images of people that conjure pity. When Jerry Lewis paraded adorable yet visibly disabled children in front of national audiences to beg for money to “cure” muscular dystrophy, he had no ill intentions

toward people with MD. In fact, it was quite the opposite – he truly wanted to help them lead better lives. But little was shared about these lives after the children grew up. They seldom showed adults with MD engaged in work or having families, let alone interacting with other people without disabilities in their communities. The very lives they were trying to improve were shielded from the audience’s view. After all, why share the reality of life for an adult with a disability when children with disabilities are so much cuter (and therefore, lucrative)?


As a former poster child, Chicago-based disability advocate Mike Ervin has been a vocal critic of the MDA “Jerry’s Kids” telethons.


ike Ervin (pictured above, at microphone) was a poster child for Jerry’s Kids in the 1960s. Now an adult, he feels he was used in ways that perpetuated the image of people with disabilities as burdens and/or permanent children. Pulling at the heartstrings has a short-term benefit but a long-term cost human dignity. Ervin and others have formed an organization called Jerry’s Orphans and produced the 2005 film The Kids Are All Right to expose the telethon’s failure to address serious issues facing people with disabilities. In particular, the film critiques the use of children to elicit money for things that should be seen as a right — not as a privilege granted by the non-disabled general public. Strategies similar to the muscular dystrophy telethon were regularly used – and in some places, continue to be used – to pass DD levies right here in Ohio. In 1994, Sarah Godsey was featured in a levy campaign to benefit the Butler County Board of DD. DD Advocate Magazine


Spring Feature

The Awareness Issue

Now 23, Sarah believes that while she didn’t mind participating in the campaign at the time, she does look back upon it with mixed feelings – namely in that it helped promote unrealistic images of people with disabilities to garner votes. Unfortunately, images that elicit pity are just one example of the many inaccurate stereotypes of people with disabilities that persist in the media today. These stereotypes range from m the good (noble and triumphant

County boards of DD act as gatekeepers to images of people with disabilities, especially in areas of the state where the county board is the only source of services in a given geographic area. What are we doing – or what can we be doing – to erase these inaccurate stereotypes? Language is forever a place of struggle and impacts our attitudes and beliefs. This is evident to all of us from the changes we made in rem removing the words mental retardation

the gatekeepers of images of people with disabilities – county boards of DD – are still perpetuating old stereotypes? It is a fair statement that most people hope to be seen as happy, confident, attractive, and successful in contrast to cute, sad, disabled, or pitied. A question we must continually ask ourselves is “do we present positive and respectful images of disability?” Have we, as well-intentioned agencies, portrayed people with disabilities

“Have we, as well-intentioned agencies, portrayed people with disabilities in ways that we would not choose to portray ourselves?”


As recently as 2004, the Butler County Board of DD still used images of visibly disabled children to gain support for their levy campaign. While the accompanying words were far more balanced in their approach than the 1994 newspaper ad, the images used were still unrepresentative of most people with disabilities.

over tragedy – wryly referred to by some in the disability community as the “Supercrip”) to the evil (flawed or sinister in character), and from the light-hearted (as a jester or clown figure) to the somber (burdensome victims). In most cases, these stereotypes are largely demeaning and show a person or group as one-dimensional and all alike. Learning from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, people with various disabilities have raised their own voices with self-determination to demand change. The disability community has made it clear that it seeks its civil rights – nothing more, but nothing less. Promoting images of pity or any other stereotypes runs contrary to the reality of a person’s abilities, doing far more damage in the end than it may have been worth in short-term gain. These images abound in the media, but are also perpetuated right in our own backyards.


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

(MR) fr from our organizations in 2009, to the consci conscious efforts by many to use “people first” llanguage when referring to people with disabil disabilities. In the case of the name-change, the off offending words had once been respectful and ap appropriate given our society’s mindset when they were created. In recent years, they had become such a negative slur that people carrying the label spoke up and insisted the offensive language be dropped. When will we have similar thoughts about the images we use to portray disability? During a recent presentation to public relations professionals at the OACB Annual Convention, I shared a variety of images that have been used throughout the state in levy campaigns. I asked participants to quickly write a few words that came to mind upon seeing the images. The most frequent words were “cute,” “happy,” and “fun.” Unfortunately, some campaigns had the exact opposite effect, where the words “sad” and “pity” were most common. What was most interesting, however, was the following exercise in which these professional communicators were asked to list words that evoked positive images of any person – meaning someone with or without a disability. The words most frequently listed were: happy, confident, attractive, successful, and smiling. Yet only some of the images we had just viewed from prior levy campaigns fit those descriptors. Is it any wonder that we have not moved more aggressively into the social construction model of disability when

in ways that we would not choose to portray ourselves? How might we present disability as a part of human diversity and people with disabilities as worthwhile, contributing members of our community?


ounty boards of DD face a dilemma because we need levies passed and pity is a tried-and-true tactic to win votes (in part, because people are grateful that they are not disabled themselves). Yet the cost of this representation of people with disabilities is dignity. We need to consider how each of us would choose to be presented to the public and then ask the people we serve how they would like to be portrayed in the public eye. Perhaps if we stop thinking of ourselves as a parent or a service provider but rather as an ally with the disability community in the struggle for civil rights we will gain a useful perspective. Ally behavior is complicated and demanding but authentic. As allies, we don’t assume that we know what is best for others – we ask what the person or group needs and wants. To “ally” oneself means to bind or unite with that person or group – to support and stand with them. We are ambassadors for people with disabilities in our communities, with policymakers, and with the public at large, and consequently need to develop strategies that present people with disabilities as one part of the great human diversity. What can we do to make this happen?

We can insist that people with disabilities are represented realistically. Recently, the Target department store ran an ad (see below right) for children’s clothing in which one of the children has Down syndrome. There was nothing said about the boy nor was the child set apart from others in any way. He was simply shown as a person wearing a fashionable shirt and trousers. This is the reality of life and the diversity among us. We can be sure to display what abilities a person has versus focusing on what the person cannot do. We can insist that restaurants, schools, places of worship, voting booths, etc. are fully accessible.


n the end, the most effective strategy for changing minds is to imagine one’s self as an ally in a long fought civil rights movement for people with disabilities. From 1975’s PL 94-142 (granting every child a right to a “free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment,” which later became Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, we have slowly begun to chip away at the medical model in favor of one in which people with disabilities are viewed as normal parts of a diverse and vibrant society.

require us to change minds and attitudes over long periods of time. The language and images we present to the general public will be critical in determining whether or not we are ultimately successful. We can value the diversity of all people and make our world a welcoming environment for everyone. As gatekeepers of the message and major supporters people with developmental disabilities in Ohio, county boards of DD have a unique role to play in this struggle. While we celebrate DD Awareness Month this year, let us ask ourselves: can we be doing more?

As with most civil rights struggles, the fight for equal treatment and full integration will

We can ask our Chambers of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureaus to have accessibility map for our communities. This might encourage storeowners and community organizations to make n adaptations as a good business practice in order to be listed in the guide. We can talk about disability directly so it is not viewed as a ‘secret’ not to be mentioned. d. We can answer curious questions honestly. It is also important that questions be asked respectfully. There is a big difference between a person’s being asked, “What happened to you?” versus, “What’s wrong with you?” We can share stories and YouTube videos s (as was discussed in the last edition of DD Advocate) about the everyday life of individuals with disabilities so they don’tt seem strange or odd. In this way, we controll the image seen by the public and counter negative images in the general media. We can refrain from making ‘Supercrips’ by portraying individuals as ordinary and d pursuing common hopes and dreams. Most of us won’t climb Mount Everest – why should we expect a person with a disability to do something extraordinary to prove their value? We can depict people with disabilities as contributors to community life rather than as always receiving. Show people with h disabilities participating in varied ordinary life activities. There should be no ONE image e of people with disabilities just as there is no ONE image that comes to mind if I ask you to describe brown-eyed people. We might ask ourselves, “To what degree e can I place myself in this image? Can I identify with this person? Do I see this person more like me than not like me?”



Advertisements like this one from Target demonstrate how portraying people with disabilities realistically and without pity supports a positive mindset that disability is simply a normal part of our diverse human existence.

DD Advocate Magazine



Person of the Quarter: Diana Mairose BY JENNY DEXTER / HAMILTON DD Diana Mairose is no stranger to Ohio elected officials. As a leader in the successful effort to have the term “mental retardation” removed from references to state and local government agencies in 2009, Mairose was introduced to lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives during the session in which the so-called name change bill (SB 79) was unanimously approved. In the two years since that day, she has been on a new mission – to improve public representations of people with disabilities in her community. Her current project – in which she is already making major progress – is similar to the name-change effort because it focuses on the power of words to describe people with disabilities. Over the past several months, Diana has been meeting with local elected officials and businesses to have the word “handicapped” removed from official or otherwise public references to people with disabilities. In its place, she encourages the use of the word “accessible” and/or the universal symbol of a person in a wheelchair. “As an advocate, I look for ways to make creative changes for all,” Diana said. “The accessible symbol is a way to promote 20

Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

inclusion in Ohio. Removing the word “handicapped” is something that is important for me to do.” Diana’s often-repeated motto – “It’s all about relationships” – was what made her walk up to Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune at a community event to discuss her project. As is her style, she shared her passionate plea on the spot with Commissioner Portune. He promptly invited her to the next public commissioners meeting to make it happen. Commissioner Portune worked with Diana in the days leading up to the meeting to create a resolution that he and the other two commissioners - former Commissioner David Pepper and current Commission President Greg Hartmann - unanimously approved. “As a person with a mobility impairment, I don’t feel handicapped in any way from doing anything I set my mind to,” Portune said. “What helps me is being able to access my place of employment and other businesses. Access or accessibility is the key. The only people handicapped are those who think that I and others can’t compete, do, or succeed.”

Above: Hamilton County Commissioners Todd Portune (left), Greg Hartmann (center), and Chris Monzel (right) support Mairose’s efforts to remove the word “handicapped” from county signs in need of repair, as well as all future signs created.

The Commissioners’ resolution established a policy to eliminate the word from all new signs on county projects. The resolution specifically mentioned the much-anticipated entertainment and residential development on the Ohio River between the Reds baseball and Bengals football stadiums called The Banks. Though cost-prohibitive to replace all existing signs, the new county policy provides for the word switch on signs that need maintenance or repair, as well as new signs that are created from this point forward. Following the Commissioners’ lead a few months later, members of the City of Cincinnati’s Advisory Board on Accessibility (CABA) led the same charge at City Hall and were successful in passing similar legislation. CABA recommended a draft resolution to Cincinnati’s Livable Communities Chair, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who championed it with the full council where it passed by unanimous vote. Many of the city’s signs already use the word accessible or the universal symbol.


One of CABA’s Vice Chairmen – Diana’s friend and fellow advocate Brady Sellet – is the Self Advocacy Coordinator at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He, along with Diana, approached the hospital about changing their signs in the same fashion. Dr. Karen Edwards, LEND and Training Director in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, immediately agreed to begin the process to change the hospital’s signs. Not content with an already impressive list of advocacy successes, Diana is already looking forward to her next opportunity to influence policymakers on disability issues. She recently met with Ohio Representative Denise Driehaus and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney about changing Ohio laws to help people with disabilities, and was pleased with their feedback. Diana Mairose is a force to be reckoned with in Hamilton County and beyond in her support of people with disabilities. Her motto – “It’s all about relationships” – is a model for others to follow. For these reasons and more, Diana has earned the distinction of DD Advocate Person of the Quarter for Spring 2012. Congratulations, Diana!

Above: Mairose (far right) recently met with Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney (center) and Hamilton County DD Superintendent Alice Pavey (left) about disability issues.

About Diana Diana is a member of Leaders in Action and a founding member of the Advocacy Leadership Network, which are organizations attached to Hamilton County DD Services. Other topics she focuses on are accessible housing, transportation, and youth leadership (her newest passion). A seasoned conference presenter, speaker, and award winner, she lives in an apartment in the suburb of Oakley with her cat. In her spare time, she enjoys outings planned by Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati with a wide circle of friends.

DD Advocate Magazine


News in a Nutshell


Ashtabula Ash/Craft Industries relocated their Garden Shoppe to the Ashtabula Towne Square Mall during the December holiday season. Carrie (pictured) along with other employees working in the store had the opportunity to gain additional retail sales experience while enjoying the festive atmosphere in the community.

Champaign Pictured with copies of the book A is for Autism, F is for Friend are Jay Rodak (left), president of Belmont DD, and Mary Jo and Dennis Delbert, founders of PACE, a non-profit organization committed to bringing experts in the field of autism to the Ohio Valley to present free training for anyone in the community who has a need or desire to learn about autism.

Champaign DD participated in making ceramic bowls to donate for the “Empty Bowls of Champaign County” event on January 26, supporting the Second Harvest Food Bank. Those attending paid a $15.00 admission fee and received a hand-crafted bowl created by local volunteers, as well as delicious soups donated by local restaurants. Champaign DD was excited to be a part of this community event.

Athens Athens DD held a fundraiser event in December, with all proceeds being donated to the Athens Rotary Club’s playground renovation project. Athens’ Southside Park playground is being renovated to increase accessibility to enable children of all abilities to play together. The event, called “Breakfast with Santa,” was held at Beacon School with more than 200 children and their families attending. Athens DD was proud to present the Rotary with a check in the amount of $1,156.26 and give back to the community that strongly supports its programs.

Auglaize OACB presented Alvin “Al” Willis, superintendent of Auglaize DD, with the Betty Macintosh Award. This award is presented annually to a professional in the developmental disability service delivery system who exhibits extraordinary accomplishments in professional leadership and advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities. Willis received two nominations for this award, one from Auglaize DD board president, James Becher and another from Terry Scott, manager for the CBA Benefit Services. Willis has served Auglaize DD for 16 years, following a 19-year period as an administrator in public schools throughout Ohio.


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue


Belmont Belmont DD and PACE (Parents for Autism Community Education) have teamed up to sponsor a program called “Friend of Autism.” The two are providing copies of the book, A is for Autism. F is for Friend, A Kid’s Book on Making Friends with a Child Who has Autism to 17 elementary and middle schools, where the book will be read in each class and discussed. Once all the classes have read it, the school will be recognized as a “Friend of Autism” and receive an award.

Butler The Ohio Auditor of State recently conducted a performance audit of Butler County operations and agencies and recognized Butler DD for noteworthy accomplishment in the area of strategic planning. The auditors noted that the board’s strategic plan helped them tailor services to meet resource constraints.

Clark DD received $12,000 in grants from The Springfield Foundation. The Early Intervention Program will use $7,000 to provide a camera, monitor and audio system to be used to observe and record early intervention sessions, and Quest Adult Services will use $5,000 to expand the horticulture program and to construct a wide, gently-graded, wheelchair accessible greenhouse.

Clinton The adult program at Clinton DD has a lot of exciting changes underway. The Community Thrift Store now has an EBay Store (orionthriftstore@Ebay); a greenhouse and an art studio are being explored; a janitorial/ mobile work crew is being developed; and a Facebook page has been established under the name of Orion, Inc. Creative ways to keep people engaged and productive, as well as increase communication, are top priorities.

Coshocton The adult and school programs at Coshocton DD were honored to host the Ohio State School for the Blind marching band for a concert at their facilities. This marching band performed in the 2010 Rose Bowl Parade and was featured on The Today Show in October 2011. The mayor of the city of Coshocton presented the band’s director,

Dan Kelly, a key to the city just prior to their performance. The crowd, including 25 members from the Ridgewood High School marching band, was ecstatic as the band played. The band also played for the Coshocton Rotary Club and the adult program hosted the Marching Panthers at a lunch tailgate party.

Cuyahoga In today’s economy, more and more shoppers are turning to bargain retail outlets like dollar stores to extend their budgets. Now, those shoppers can save money AND do good. A new Just-A-Buck store opened in November 2011 in South Euclid’s Maymore Shopping Center at the corner of Mayfield and Green Roads. Owned and operated by SAW, Inc., the nonprofit partner of Cuyahoga DD, the store was in business just in time for last year’s holiday shopping season. It employs 15 workers who have developmental disabilities, a store manager, three shift managers and a job coach. The workers with DD will handle stocking and receiving, cleaning, check-out and bagging. This is the second Just-A-Buck store operated by SAW. The first, in the Midtown Shopping Center in Parma, opened in 2009.

Delaware The staff at Delaware DD collected over 308 pounds of food and 432 pounds of taxable items for a total value of $1,240.90 for people in need during their annual all staff in-service. A friendly competition challenged staff members to collect donations for People In Need (PIN) from a PIN generated list. The staff was divided into teams and points were awarded according to items in greatest demand. For example, because toilet paper, diapers and laundry soap were in the greatest demand by PIN, these items were considered “most valuable.” The team with the highest amount of points were deemed the champions and given reign over the “Morgan Rock,” named for the board superintendent Robert Morgan.

Erie Harry Miller, who receives services from Erie DD, and Jean Kreidler, who is a service and support administrator (SSA) with the agency, were honored with ESDY awards by

the Ohio Self Determination Association (OSDA) in 2011. The ESDY Awards are the highest honors presented annually by the OSDA and are presented to individuals with developmental disabilities as well as those who support them. In other news, William Hillman broke into the publishing world in 2011 with his debut novel, Taking Up the Chase, a collection of five stories featuring the same characters. William has autism and receives services from Erie DD. The book was published by iUniverse, a self-publishing company. William wrote the book in nine months and is currently working on a sequel.



Greene DD’s non-profit program (Greene, Inc.) is poised to begin washing, drying, and folding laundry for the county’s newest state-of-the-art medical facility (the Indu and Raj Soin Medical Center). Greene, Inc. has secured a contract to complete 200,000 pounds of laundry annually, and the new contract will employ 18 people with disabilities.

Franklin DD was successful in passing their replacement levy in November 2011 by an overwhelming margin - voters passed Issue 22 with 69% in favor. As a result, the board has committed to stay off the ballot for six years, and is very grateful to the people of Franklin County for their continuing support.

Fulton In 2011, Fulton DD began providing a Mommy and Me playgroup. This group is open to all Help Me Grow/Early Intervention families and has met at various community locations as well as the Board of DD location. The playgroup lasts about an hour and a half, during which time the children participate in an activity and a snack while parents have opportunities to share common experiences, learn from each other, develop lasting friendships, and form new support networks.

Geauga Geauga DD was excited to hold its First Annual Kiwanis Aktion Club Installation Dinner! Eight members of the board of directors and officers were sworn in. All current members were given an official membership pin. Family and friends of members also attended the dinner, which began with the Kiwanis president giving a welcome address. The Geauga County Aktion Club is one of only two in Northeast Ohio. Congratulations, Aktion Club!

The Guernsey Industries Bell Choir was very active over the holidays performing at area nursing facilities and local concerts. Guernsey DD is proud to support individual expression through the arts, and looks forward to another successful year of performances!


Hamilton Superintendent Alice Pavey of Hamilton DD has appointed Kristee Griffith to the newly-created position of Manager of Family, Employee and Diversity Development. Her new role is the first step in Hamilton DD’s long-term commitment to embrace suggestions from a recent diversity audit conducted by Hicks Carter Hicks this past spring. One of Kristee’s immediate duties will be to plan and develop a diversity council. A rising star since she joined the agency, Kristee has already been instrumental in the increasing success of the agency’s leadership development program.

Hancock Two Findlay-area businesses received the Blanchard Valley Industries S.T.A.R. Award during the 48th Annual Small Business Awards luncheon, sponsored by the Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce. Superintendent Connie Ament presented the awards to Kennedy Printing and Best Buy Distribution Center for their ongoing support of community employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Kennedy Printing has contracted with BVI for collating, assembly and mailing work for several years. Best Buy recently employed several individuals for cleaning at its Findlay distribution center. The awards, custom designed stars, were created by artists at BVI’s Kan-Du Studio. In other news, Hancock County Coordinating Council named Connie

DD Advocate Magazine


News in a Nutshell Ament, Hancock DD superintendent, recipient of its 2011 Community Impact Award. The award recognizes an individual in Hancock County who has significantly impacted the community and provided outstanding contributions to the social service field. The Council recognized Connie for breaking down barriers for and improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities by working to find employment for clients and advocating for freedom of choice.


until 4:00 p.m. A chicken barbecue begins at 11:30 a.m. A special auction featuring a horse and buggy, pony and cart and other items will be held at 1:00 p.m. The quilt auction, typically featuring more than 100 quilts, starts at 2:00 p.m. Proceeds will benefit respite care, transportation assistance, dental anesthesia services, and many other services. For more information, call (330) 674-8045.

The new year brings a new start for the Perry and Hocking County Boards of DD as both boards have decided to join forces and share two administrative positions. The final decision was announced during the December 2011 board meeting that David Couch, Perry DD superintendent, had accepted the position to serve as a shared superintendent with Hocking DD. Couch has many years of experience in the DD field and feels great about his decision to become a superintendent for two counties. Sharing positions is nothing new between Perry and Hocking DDs. They have been sharing adult services director Ron Spung since December 2010. Spung accepted the position and has been directing Hocking Valley Industries (HVI) along with PerCo Inc. in Perry County. To stay on top of all news related to the Hocking and Perry County Boards of DD, send an e-mail to l.jago@perrymrdd.org to subscribe to The Icebox Newsletter (Perry County) and astevens@hockingdd.org to subscribe to the HVI Newsletter (Hocking County).

Huron DD recently launched Keep Me Growing, a companion program to the popular and successful Help Me Grow program. The pilot program began in August to provide services that promote children’s growth and development before entering school. It is designed to serve children between the time they leave Help Me Grow on their third birthday and the when they enter preschool. Keep Me Growing offers free home visits providing families with developmental screenings for health, hearing, vision and child development for children and families to five years of age. Board staff created the program because they found some kids were falling between the cracks due to the time between their birthday (when eligibility ends for HMG) and the start of a new school year (when preschool and/or kindergarten begins). This program bridges the gap during a critical time for development in children’s lives.



Preparations are underway for the 36th annual Spring Festival, sponsored by the Holmes County Association for Handicapped Citizens. Activities will begin on May 11 at 6:00 p.m. in the enclosed pavilion behind the Training Center. All quilts and auction items can be previewed at that time with music and open volleyball available for entertainment, along with soup, sandwiches and bake sale items. On May 12, breakfast will be available at 7:00 a.m. with a craft and furniture auction beginning at 9:00 a.m. The bake sale will be held throughout the day until sold out; the silent auction will be held from 9:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. Children’s games will take place from 10:00 a.m through noon and again from 2:00 p.m.

Knox DD created their first ever holiday video greeting card. To date it has more than 665 hits on You Tube and is a testament to very successful collaboration between all entities in Knox County while sending out a nice holiday greeting. The card can be viewed at the following address http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=2G-b-H5EpX4. You can also visit Knox DD’s newly designed Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/KCBDD.


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue


Lawrence The Open Door School has recently made the decision to integrate iPads in classrooms on a daily basis to enhance the learning experience.

Licking Licking DD recently received its three-year CARF accreditation, and is now preparing for DODD accreditation. As this issue was going to press, the board had a 1-mill, five year renewal levy on the March 6 primary election ballot. Committee volunteers are using social media to spread the word about the levy campaign, as well as writing letters to the editor of the eight newspapers that cover Licking County.

Logan Pos-Abilities, a Day Habilitation Group located at RTC Employment Services, is excited about their plans for 2012! The goal for the group is independence and personal success. The group helps adults in their program develop the tools they will need to live successfully in whatever path they choose in life through a variety of educational and hands-on experiences. Each week time is spent cooking a balanced lunch and working on social skills during a Life 101 class. Participants also spend time in a functional apartment, learning how to clean, do laundry, and keep house. Handmade greeting cards are another highlight of the program. Each year they produce hundreds of made-to-order greeting cards, including birthday, thank you, congratulations, and thinking of you cards to sell in the community. In the coming year the group plans to introduce Valentine’s Day and new baby cards into their line as well. For more information, to request an order form, or to inquire about a custom card order, please call the Pos-Abilities Workshop at (937) 651-6311 and ask for Maria or Jane.

Lorain Lorain DD staff member Jim Ward was honored at the annual Red Cross Real Heroes Award banquet, held at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio. In April of 2011, Jim and fellow staff member Anne Born took a group of people served by the board bowling at Oberlin College Lanes. During the

physical fitness outing, a class participant began feeling ill, and his symptoms soon worsened. Jim, who has been trained in CPR and First Aid for more than 20 years, acted quickly to escort this ill person to Mercy Hospital, where his condition quickly deteriorated. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with a split aorta, a situation that could’ve been deadly if not treated immediately. Jim’s training and dedication to those served by the board enabled the patient to receive life-saving medical intervention.

Lucas Lucas DD is supporting a growing Advocacy Coalition comprised of providers, parents, self-advocates and professionals. The group has already conducted several sessions with state legislators and sponsored a bus trip to the Statehouse. The group is focused on determining the information state legislators need to know about the DD system and the best methods of communicating with the legislators. In partnership with the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, Lucas DD is sponsoring The Accessible Communities Education Series for teachers, administrators, students, parents and advocates. The series is titled “Creating Communities that Work for Everyone.”

Miami 2012 will see Miami DD celebrating its 60th anniversary of serving people with disabilities. The year will be filled with activities and programs that will focus on the agency’s growth. The agency began in 1952 serving 8 children and has grown to serve more than 950 children and adults in Miami County. For more information about celebration activities, contact Terry Naas at (937) 440-3002.

Morgan In December, Morgan DD participated in the Employment First Initiative sponsored by the DODD. Leslie Wilson of DODD met with 10 people receiving services, members of their families, the entire SSA department, and staff from the sheltered workshop to begin working toward community employment for those individuals. The training was a catalyst for opening Morgan County’s Employment First office.

Medina Medina DD spent the last month giving back to the community. 700 POUNDS! That’s the total weight of the food items collected as part of Medina DD’s annual “Starving for Donations” food drive. All donated items were delivered to Feeding Medina County for distribution to local food pantries. Medina DD volunteers also donated 1,082 hats, gloves, mittens and scarves collected as part of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” drive. All items were donated to local Salvation Army offices for distribution to local families in need.

Mercer Mercer DD has approved a major reorganization of its center-based adult services components. It is projected that the services provided in center-based programs will become more self-directed by those served and by the teams providing the services. The reorganization was originally planned in order to save money, which is very important as the board was seriously hurt in the State budget. It now appears that the board will save money and improve services.

Muskingum Muskingum DD (Starlight Programs) is celebrating DD Awareness Month with the 2012 theme, “Our Community is Better Together.” In celebration of DD Awareness Month, the board’s Family Education Committee is holding an informative evening on March 13th for its clients, families, providers and community. A provider fair starts the evening, giving families and providers the opportunity to gather information and speak to those who provide services for Muskingum County residents. Following the provider fair, a group discussion will cover the topics of guardianship in Ohio, estate planning, and family support. “Our Community is Better Together” encourages people to understand that when people with disabilities are welcomed into local neighborhoods, workplaces, houses of worship and schools … everyone wins!

Pike Pike DD’s MH primary classroom is seeing promising results. Students with autism often have differing social needs, however

this classroom is seeing students work together, play together, and benefit from a sensory-filled diet. Students have sensory time incorporated into their schedules and utilize a sensory room as a calming strategy. The room was made possible, in part, by a grant from Adena Health Foundation and Pike DD.

Preble The Preble County Cougars’ cheerleaders participated in the 18th annual Preble County Spirit Day in January. Spirit Day is a cheerleading competition among all five county high schools and middle schools. This is the second year the Cougars have kicked off the event. This year they were awarded medals for their participation.

Putnam Through the assistance of WSOS Community Action, Putnam DD will be a recipient of a newly constructed home for three residents. The home is being built according to specifications that will be ideal for individuals being served by Putnam DD.

Ron Enright was excited to see Santa and Mrs. Claus at Richland Newhope’s annual Christmas party.

Richland About 800 people attended Richland Newhope’s annual Christmas party for

DD Advocate Magazine


News in a Nutshell people served by the board and their families on December 9. The event was held at the Richland County Fairgrounds and featured a live band, dancing, snacks, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. During the party, Marc Wolfe was presented with a resolution from State Representative Jay Goyal commending Marc for his 25 years of employment at Richland Newhope Industries, Inc. Marc retired last fall. Also in the holiday spirit, as part of the service and support administration’s annual Community Christmas Drive, 40 families received gift cards ranging from $30 to $50. The gift cards were purchased through donations from employees, Newhope Charities, and Workers’ Council at Richland Newhope Industries, Inc. The Aktion Club collected food and personal care products to restock SSA’s food pantry. The Early Childhood Center assisted another 32 families through its “Adopt a Family for Christmas Dinner” program, while ten individuals were “adopted” by administration employees and received Christmas presents. To wrap up the holiday charity giving, 100 individuals were invited to a luncheon funded by community members where they were presented with a $30 Walmart gift card and a coupon for a free cheeseburger meal at McDonald’s.

small scale just one year ago by paying one employee to shred confidential documents and has since expanded tremendously! The Go Green Department now has numerous document destruction contracts and accepts cardboard, paper, magazines, plastic, tin and aluminum materials. The Go Green Department has partnered with county schools, local businesses, factories, and the community to grow this recycling program, which employs an average of 6 hourly employees to sort and shred documents and recyclable materials.

K.C. Chatfield, Individual Support Facilitator in Adult Services at the Scioto County Board of DD reads to a group of children at the Carousel Center Jan. 12. He is assisted by Suzette Doer.

Ross In conjunction with the Pioneer Center, Easter Seals, and the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, Adena Health System presented the Autism Symposium: A Team Approach on February 25, 2012. The symposium focus was on establishing a standard practice for autism diagnosis and treatment. It also aimed to inform and educate medical care providers, teachers, and community members about autism and available regional resources to assure timely treatment. The symposium examined many areas surrounding people affected by autism and other autism spectrum disorders. Part of the presentation was the clinical aspect of working with a person with autism (i.e. early diagnosis, the difference between autism and Asperger’s syndrome, the difference between typical development and the development of a young child on the autism spectrum), while another focused on regional community resources for individuals with autism.

Sandusky Sandusky DD’s adult services program, Sandco Industries, has expanded its employment opportunities and recycling program. The department began on a 26

Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

Scioto Reading is a fundamental part of the learning process. By making reading fun, Scioto DD’s K.C. Chatfield has become an expert at helping an eager bunch of children learn valuable lessons - all while having a good time. Chatfield, who is an Individual Support Facilitator in Scioto DD’s adult services program, volunteers several days each month at the board’s Carousel Center. By using unique voices for his characters and challenging his audience to mimic their behavior, he leaves the children with more than a memorable plot when the story ends. The reading program at the Carousel Center is sponsored in part by the Scioto County United Way.

Seneca The Seneca County Opportunity Center held its 17th annual self-advocacy conference entitled “Individuals for Unity” at Sawmill Lodge in Huron, Ohio. 93 people participated in and enjoyed this year’s theme - “Hele Mei Hoohiwahiwa” which translated means “Come Celebrate Advocacy” in Hawaiian. The Unity Council prepared a weekend of fun

events such as making healthy smoothies, decorating beach flip flops and learning to hula for the dance held on Saturday evening. The event’s keynote speaker, Stephanie Barber, led conversations that empowered self-advocates. Elections were also held at this time for various offices throughout the Opportunity Center so that people served by the board would have a say in the decisions it makes.

Shelby Shelby DD’s Shelby Hills Early Childhood Center (Shelby Hills ECC) in Sidney is dedicated to the educational & developmental needs of preschool age children, whether developing typically or those with a developmental delay. All students at Shelby Hills ECC receive the utmost attention from highly trained and caring staff. Children of this age are full of extra energy, especially during the winter months when they can’t get outside and run some of it off. Staff from the physical therapy department came up with the idea to offer “Fitness Night” to help children burn off extra energy while spending quality time with their parents. A session was held in October and another is planned for March.

Stark The Stark County People First chapters have been busy finding ways to help others in need. Adults at the West Stark Center site are coordinating a collection of pocket change to donate to Akron Children’s Hospital, while members of the Higgins Adult Center raised $519.00 for the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk - where three People First members participated in the event as part of a sponsored team. At the Whipple Dale Adult Center they are hoping to collect books and CDs to send to military personnel, as well as collect non-perishable food items to donate to the local food bank. Collectively, the three groups and employees of the community

enclaves are working with Stark Parks administrators to adopt and care for the Olde Muskingum Trail. Working together, People First and the Parks Board will strive toward making the parks ADA compliant.

women serving in Basra, Iraq. The group sent care packages and candy bouquets, which were shared and enjoyed by all at the base hospital.

Summit Summit DD recently passed its renewal levy with more than 70% support from the community, which has secured its local funding from 2013 through 2018. Summit DD is beginning the development of its Long Range Comprehensive Plan to set goals for the next levy period, which will: evaluate the effectiveness of its programs, increase efficiencies, and improve the quality of services and outcomes for individuals served throughout the county. The agency will be reviewing local, state and national trend data and will be soliciting input from all stakeholders in the development of the plan. If you have input please direct it to Billie Jo David at bdavid@summitdd.org.

Tuscarawas Starlight Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), Tuscarawas DD, and the Ruth Carlson Starlight Foundation recently partnered with the Aultman Foundation to purchase fitness equipment for use by the Tuscarawas DD adult programs (and by staff when not in use by people served by the board). The Aultman Foundation generously donated funds to purchase an elliptical machine with safety arms, two recumbent bikes, one spin bike, several sets of stretch bands and kettle balls, as well as fitness and nutrition videos. Space and media equipment were allocated by Tuscarawas DD in its Service and Support Center, while the Ruth Carlson Starlight Foundation funded the purchase of many incentive items for those served by the board who are working hard to achieve fitness goals.

Wood Thirty-eight Wood Lane/Wood DD employees were recognized at the 11th annual Wood County Employee Recognition program held in the Courthouse Atrium on January 12. Wood County Commissioners James Carter and Tim Brown and County Administrator Andrew Kalmar presented awards to each employee. These thirty-eight staff collectively represented 410 years of service to Wood DD!

Wyandot Angeline Industries’ Art Connections held its Grand Opening on December 2, 2011 in Carey, Ohio, preceded by a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Carey Chamber of Commerce. Having a location in the community has been a vision of Angeline Industries for quite some time. Art Connections’ artists are now part of the community, which reflects Wyandot DD’s continuing efforts in expanding community connecting opportunities for adults with disabilities. Art Connections, which is full of unique products created by studio artists, is located at 205 S. Vance St. in Carey.

Union The Union County Health Department recently announced that the Early Intervention team at the Harold Lewis Center was nominated and will be the recipient of this year’s Community Health Partner Award. The award is presented at a luncheon in March.

Warren Sgt. Larry K. Frantz of the 104th Chaplain Detachment presented a banner from his unit as a ‘Thank You’ to Warren DD adult services ‘Candy Bouquet’ group for their generosity and support of the men and

DD Advocate Magazine


Words of Wisdom DD Advocate recently sat down with

Steve Oster






of DD Superintendent Steve Oster and asked fifty questions about his views on life, leadership, and lessons learned for this issue’s Words of Wisdom profile. Ten of his responses have been selected to appear below without their prompts. Which






we should feature next in our Words of


Wisdom series? Send us your suggestions at feedback@ddadvocate.com!


Many times people may tell you no because they don’t understand an issue. Patience is the most overrated

My career has taught me there are no limits to what I can do if I put my mind to it. It has also taught me to be passionate about what I believe in.

virtue. Sometimes in life you just need to go for it to achieve the best result. If you wait too long, you miss out on great opportunities.

People come and go in your life. Sometimes it is tough not hearing from someone or having to say goodbye, but it helps build character and defines a road map for your life.


If you feel something is right to do, you need to go out on the limb and take a chance and ask for forgiveness later.

E-mails tend to control people’s lives. We have lost the art of writing a personal note. I wish


they had never been invented.

I tell people I weigh less than I do, but who am I fooling?


Spring 2012 / The Awareness Issue

I was an extra in The Shawshank Redemption and have appeared in catalogs and magazines across many states…does this make me famous?

Planning for your special needs: Life Insurance protection for people with developmental disabilities Through your requests, focus groups and the true desire to have peace of mind, we now have a life insurance policy that will cover the cost of burial expenses for people with developmental disabilities. The Arc of Ohio, Oswald Companies and Nationwide have joined together to bring you life insurance protection for burial needs and beyond including: Nonmedical underwriting, SimpliďŹ ed applications and Specialized policies for burial expenses. Parents often wonder how much it will cost to continue care for their child once they are gone. If you have questions about the policy or special needs planning please contact Oswald Companies or The Arc of Ohio and we are happy to assist you.



Toll free 1-855-772-7264

The ARC of Ohio, Oswald Companies, and Nationwide are not aďŹƒliated with each other. While Nationwide may make payments to Oswald Companies based upon sales of policies to The Arc of Ohio members pursuant to a general agent agreement and exclusive marketing arrangement, Nationwide does not otherwise endorse Oswald Companies in any way. The ARC of Ohio does not receive any compensation from Nationwide or Oswald.

DD Advocate Magazine


Ohio Association of County Boards Serving People with Developmental Disabilities 73 E. Wilson Bridge Road, Suite B1 Worthington, OH 43085 www.oacbdd.org



This magazine was processed for distribution and mailed by people with developmental disabilities employed at SAW, Inc. in Cleveland.

Franklin J. Hickman Janet L. Lowder David A. Myers

Meeting the lifetime legal needs of children and adults with disabilities, the elderly, and their families

Public Agency Advocacy & Training Mediation & Litigation Special Education Law


Turning Your Obstacles Into Opportunities

Elena A. Lidrbauch Judith C. Saltzman Mary B. McKee Amanda M. Buzo Lisa Montoni Garvin Andrea Aycinena