DD Advocate Magazine - Issue 1

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Winter 2012

DD Advocate Magazine

Parallel Passions

An Outsider’s Journey through the DD system of Argentina PAGE 16

Dr. Grisel Olivera Roulet, Director Servicio Nacional de Rehabilitación

Block granting Medicaid: A danger to County Boards of DD?

Cuyahoga DD joins the local food movement

Shared Lives Gallery thrives in downtown Toledo




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Winter 2012


DD Advocate Magazine

In This Issue



Adam Herman

3 \ President’s Letter


Jeff Vanik

4 \ DD Advocate Magazine: An oasis of insight in the Twitter generation



5 \ Transitions



DD Briefing

Block granting Medicaid: A danger to County Boards of DD?

Ohio Association of County Boards Serving People with Developmental Disabilities Dan Ohler

DD Leaders


8 \ Developing systems that put people – and progress – first



10 \ DD boards quickly becoming model for shared adminisration in Ohio



12 \ Online video: The revolution will not be televised


County Program Snapshot: Cuyahoga DD’s Cleveland Crops



DD Technology

14 \ New DODD Web site provides more access to data and information






Winter Feature

Parallel Passions

An Outsider’s Journey through the DD system of Argentina

22 \ Shared Lives Gallery thrives in downtown Toledo Person of the Quarter: Alphonso Rowe DD News

DD Words of Wisdom

28 \ Jed Morison


Winter 2012


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 ©2011 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.

DD Artists

25 \ News in a Nutshell



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.

President’s Letter PHOTO BY ADAM HERMAN



round this time of year, I find it useful to take a look back over what I have been able to achieve and what I’ve struggled to accomplish over the past twelve months. This gives me perspective and allows me plan my strategy for the following year. Looking back over 2011, I am proud of what we have achieved as an association. But, as I’m sure you can agree, there is always room for continued growth. One of our biggest accomplishments had to be this year’s state budget. While we did not get everything we wanted on every issue, legislators and executive officials heard our unified voice like never before. That came through loud and clear in the final version of the bill. A responsive and frequently real-time communications and research network – a first of its kind for OACB – supported that voice. Your tireless participation as local leaders was an essential part of every victory and made our defeats far less painful than they would otherwise have been. Thank you for your help. That said, now is not the time for complacency. Looking at the year ahead it is clear that we must maintain our collective voice on behalf of Ohio’s 88 county DD programs like never before. We will likely need all hands on deck as the battle over resources continues in state government – the needs of people with developmental disabilities deserve only our best effort.

OACB Board President Dean Fadel (right) represented the association at the 2011 DD Awareness Month Kick-off Event, which was held in the Statehouse Atrium on March 3. Joining him in this photo are Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities Director John Martin (left) and Ability Center of Greater Toledo Executive Director Tim Harrington (center), who spoke at the event.

The implementation of legislative term limits has decimated predictability and stability in our state’s legislative chambers. In the past year alone, the Ohio House of Representatives has seated eight new members since the start of their term last January. Movement of legislators is rampant. As soon as a legislator is seated, they are on the verge of being a veteran amongst their colleagues. This constant cycle of legislative turnover makes educating lawmakers on the important elements of their respective county DD programs never-ending. The staff at OACB has been working hard to make sure you have the tools and information you need to make your voice heard. Hopefully you have noticed these efforts, and more importantly, you have shared these tools and pieces of information with others. If you haven’t, please let us know how we can do a better job getting them to you. In addition to possible budget changes, there are about 40 bills pending and nearly two-dozen rule changes that have been proposed by the Department of DD since the beginning of last year. We can’t afford to be silent. I look forward to working with you again on behalf of Ohioans with developmental disabilities this coming year. Sincerely,

Dean Fadel President, Board of Trustees

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Advocate Magazine: An oasis of insight in the Twitter generation BY DAN OHLER / OACB


iven the recent explosion in the number of platforms for sharing electronic information, I could understand how some may be left scratching their heads wondering why we would start a new print magazine.

people with the click of a mouse, we sometimes fail to pause and think about what we actually want to say before doing so. Over time, that can deteriorate the quality of not only how we say things, but also what we say when we say them.

It’s simple, really. Look at your inbox and count the number of e-mails you receive on any given day. Then, count how many of them you had time to read, and out of those, count how many of them actually helped you do something important that day. If you’re like me, those numbers probably go a little something like this: way too many, way too few, and no more than a handful.

County boards of DD do important work. Their staff members are leaders and visionaries. They do more good in one day than many similarly sized companies may do throughout their entire existence. For that, they deserve only the best venue to share their ideas on how to better support the people they serve.

With the ability to say whatever we want and distribute it to hundreds (if not thousands) of



With DD Advocate Magazine, OACB hopes to maintain its status as a leading voice on developmental disability issues by offering a permanent forum for ideas, news, and

commentary about Ohio’s DD service delivery system. Presenting thoughtful, relevant content in a clear and concise format, this magazine will help county boards cut through the clutter and engage in the most important issues facing our system. But we cannot do it alone. We hope that you will see the value in this publication and participate as regular contributors. County boards of DD have an obligation to guarantee they are providing only the best services to their communities. By collaborating and sharing ideas in this magazine, we hope to create a lasting record of our discussions for years to come. Either way, one thing is clear – we can’t limit ourselves to 140 characters or less.

Winter 2012







Vicki Rich is Chief Public Information Officer for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Prior to joining DODD, she held multiple positions in the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate; was communication manager and spokesperson for the 2004 G8 Summit Planning Organization at the U.S. Department of State; and served as Vice President of Communication and Public Affairs for a state trade association. In her first contribution to DD Advocate, she discusses the Department’s new Web interface – the DODD Gateway.

Dustin McKee joined OACB as Policy Analyst in December 2008. He is responsible for conducting in-depth research pertaining to various public policy issues that impact county boards of DD, and supports the Association’s legislative activities by collaborating with various local government stakeholder groups, tracking bills, and lobbying on salient legislation and administrative rules pending at the state and federal level. In his first contribution to DD Advocate, he discusses the potential danger posed by federal Medicaid block grants to county boards of DD.

Natalie Lupi has served as superintendent of the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities for the past 17 years. Prior to that position, she was the superintendent of the Fairfield and Hocking county boards, and has been active in Ohio’s DD community since 1983. In her first contribution to DD Advocate, she discusses a recent initiative of the Mid East Ohio Regional Council of Government (MEORC) to create uniform systems and procedures in an effort to increase efficiency, lower costs, and improve quality of services.

Winter 2012

DD Transitions The past several months have been a time of transformation for many Ohio county boards of DD. Staff transitions, promotions, and retirements affected nearly 1 in 5 counties in the second half of 2011 - below are a few notable examples. 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!



Randy Beach, as Pickaway County Board of DD superintendent.

Mary Brandstetter joined TAC, Inc. in Clark County as its new chief executive officer.

Jim Brook, as Ashland County Board of DD director of adult services.

Kristen Helling joined the Ohio Association of County Boards / Bridges to Transition Program to fill the vacancy left by Teresa Kobelt. Formerly of the Knox County Board of DD, Helling joined the Association in September.

Diane (Dee Dee) Kabbes, as Champaign County Board of DD superintendent. Joe Mancuso, as Logan County Board of DD superintendent. Jerry Manuel, as Morrow County Board of DD superintendent. Kristi Marcum, as Shelby County Board of DD business manager. Terri O’Connell, as Union County Board of DD director of adult services. Cheryl Phipps, as Hamilton County Board of DD Services superintendent. Lee Wedemeyer, as Marion County Board of DD superintendent.

Teresa Kobelt left her position at the Ohio Association of County Boards / Bridges to Transition Program to accept a new position at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities as Employment Policy Advisor. She will manage the state’s participation in the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) as well as the department’s Employment First initiatives. Michael Pelcic, former regional employment manager at the Cuyahoga County Board of DD, was hired as superintendent at the Pickaway County Board of DD.

Melinda Slusser, Ottawa County DD superintendent, as superintendent at the Henry County Board of DD. Slusser will split her time evenly between both boards as a shared superintendent. Liz Wagner, business manager for Champaign County Board of DD, as shared business manager for the Shelby County Board of DD. Wagner joins Laura Zureich in a shared administrative role between the county boards. Fred Williams, Fayette County DD superintendent, as interim superintendent at the Highland County Board of DD. Williams will split his time evenly between both boards as a shared superintendent until a permanent placement is made. Laura Zureich, Shelby County DD superintendent, as superintendent at the Champaign County Board of DD. Zureich will split her time evenly between both boards as a shared superintendent.


Nancy Fogelson, former business manager at Morrow County Board of DD, to replace Jerry Manuel as superintendent. John Parkowksi, former division manager of business services at Cuyahoga County Board of DD, to the position of general manager of community and Medicaid services. Alice Pavey, former director of community services at Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services, to replace Cheryl Phipps as superintendent. Kelly Petty, former general manager of community and Medicaid services at Cuyahoga County Board of DD, to the position of assistant superintendent. Cheryl Plaster, former director of administrative services at Marion County Board of DD, to replace Lee Wedemeyer as superintendent.

In Memoriam Dave Ross (1958-2011) Dave Ross, a tireless supporter of people with developmental disabilities, died unexpectedly in September at the age of 53. For 6 years, Dave had worked as director of adult services at the Nike Center, the non-profit corporation affiliated with the Clinton County Board of DD. Often the voice of reason in chaos, there was a sense of calmness about Dave. He saw the big picture, and kept the needs of those he served as his first and foremost priority. He had high expectations for those around him and was fair in his evaluation of others. This earned him the respect of his employees and the admiration of his colleagues. Always smiling, Dave was well liked by those who knew him. He once told staff that he “never had a morning here that I didn’t want to come to work. I’m fortunate to have a job I love.” We were fortunate to have an amazing co-worker and friend in Dave Ross. Thanks, Dave, for everything. You will be missed.


Kara Brown, former support services director at Union County Board of DD, to the position of assistant superintendent.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Briefing

Block granting Medicaid: A danger to County Boards of DD? BY DUSTIN MCKEE / OACB As our nation continues to debate the most effective ways to reduce the federal budget deficit and debt, there has been increasing conversation among national policy makers regarding the future of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. While all these programs are important, it is essential for stakeholders in the developmental disabilities service system to familiarize themselves with the changes being discussed in Washington in relation to Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that provides basic health insurance and long term care coverage to approximately 1 in 6 Americans.1 Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion about giving states “more flexibility” to manage Medicaid, and some contend that the best way to do that, while simultaneously reducing the debt and deficit, would be to convert Medicaid into a “block grant.” This change would fundamentally alter the Medicaid program and could dramatically affect Ohio’s developmental disability service system.


Winter 2012

Current system guarantees coverage based upon eligibility Under the current Medicaid program, individuals receive basic Medicaid coverage if they meet the eligibility requirements (e.g. having a low enough income along with a disability or a dependent child in the home). The current structure of the Medicaid program creates a social contract between the federal government, states and citizens, which guarantees that individuals who meet the standard eligibility requirements for Medicaid will receive coverage for their basic health and long-term care needs. States who opt-in to the Medicaid program (currently all 50 states participate) are guaranteed that the federal government will pay a significant share (usually around 60%) of the costs associated with their Medicaid program.2 However, the guaranteed assistance from the federal government does come with stipulations. In return for this assistance, the federal government imposes requirements that

States cover particular populations and provide certain benefits to individuals in those populations. The federal government also imposes certain rules on states participating in Medicaid. Namely, that all of the Medicaid services provided be available statewide, that all individuals have the option to freely choose their service provider, and that all members of a defined population be subject to an identical set of eligibility requirements.

Block grants would mean less guaranteed money Under a block grant, the unrestricted financial commitment of the federal government to states and Medicaid recipients would be eliminated, as would many of the requirements that compel states to cover certain populations and fund a specific level of services. Among other things, block granted Medicaid program would probably provide some increased flexibility for states to define the minimum benefits that they wish to provide and more latitude

Opposition in Disability Circles

Federal block grants are not likely to keep pace with overall growth in Medicaid costs, resulting in cost shifts to county boards.

Major disability advocacy groups such as The ARC of the United States (ARC), United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Association on Health and Disability, and a vast array of other prominent disability rights stakeholder groups, as well as others (e.g. the National Association of Counties, the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors) have come out in formal opposition to block granting Medicaid. Their opposition stems from the probable shift in costs to states, counties, localities and Medicaid recipients that would likely occur if the current social contract that exists between states, citizens and their government is fundamentally altered by creating a block granted Medicaid system.4

Are there alternatives?

to define the populations they wish to serve. However, since more individuals qualify for services during recessions, block granting Medicaid would also leave states exposed to the risks posed by the inevitable increases in Medicaid enrollment and costs associated with hard economic times.

Shifting the burden to county boards As many administrators of county boards of DD know, significant decreases in state general revenue fund (GRF) appropriations to county boards of DD have resulted in an increased reliance on dollars raised locally in order to maintain current service levels to people with DD. This cost shift makes it more difficult to reduce the number of people on waiting lists for services, and tries the patience of property tax payers who are suffering from decreased property values and depressed wages. This experience is relevant to the possible outcomes that the block granting of Medicaid would likely have on county boards of DD. This is because the rate of growth in the federal block grant amount would likely not keep pace with the overall growth in Medicaid costs. The logical result of this cost shift to counties would be increased local property taxes, decreased service levels or, more likely, a combination of both.3

While the medium and long term deficit and debt crisis is a critical problem to solve, there are clearly significant problems that could arise if our national policy makers decide to end the current Medicaid financing system and replace it with a block grant financing system. However, the projected increase in Medicaid enrollment, spending and cost are significantly above the projected growth of the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP).5 Thus, maintaining the current Medicaid status quo would lead to a continuation and possible exacerbation of our national debt and deficit problems. So, what do we do to rein in Medicaid spending, while protecting our nations most vulnerable individuals and minimizing the cost shift to states, local governments and Medicaid recipients?

that would blend states’ Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP), limit state Medicaid franchise fees (aka “bed taxes”) to reduce the amount of federal contribution to the Medicaid program and limit the “shell game” played by states looking to leverage more federal Medicaid revenue without increasing the state contributions. Others have proposed requiring states to place people eligible for Medicaid and Medicare (aka “dual eligibles”) in managed care programs in order to reduce overspending on this very expensive population. Still others have proposed restructuring the parts of the Medicaid program for which states and the federal government are responsible. Some states, such as Ohio, are looking at the most effective ways to coordinate the care of individuals with chronic conditions (through so-called “Medicaid Health Home” models of care) as well as “rebalance long-term care” by looking at ways to reduce the use of costly institutional care and serve more people in the community.6

We will continue monitoring the issue Since many of these alternatives look promising and are worth examining further, I will be discussing some of them in future issues of this magazine. Until then, it is worth keeping an eye on the proposals coming out of the so-called “Super-Committee” of Congress, which is currently examining ways to draft legislation that would reduce the federal debt by a minimum of $1.2 Trillion over 10 years. Needless to say, this legislation could have significant effects on Medicaid and other entitlements important to people with developmental disabilities, so it is important to stay tuned.

Although there are multiple proposals being discussed in the health policy community, all contain unfortunate drawbacks. The Obama Administration has floated a proposal

1 Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Publication (#8050-03), Medicaid Enrollment: June 2010 Data Snapshot, February 23rd, 2011. Total Population on April 1st, 2010: 2010 United States Census. 2 Carey, M. A., & Serafini, M. W. (2011). How Medicaid block grants would work. Retrieved from the Kaiser Health News website: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2011/March/07/block-grants-medicaid-faq.aspx 3 Letter to Honorable Paul Ryan, Long-Term Analysis of a Budget Proposal by Chairman Ryan, Congressional Budget Office, April 5, 2011. 4 Open sign-on letter to members of Congress Opposing Block Grant, May 4th, 2011. Retrieved from the Kaiser Health News website: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2011/May/05/Democrats-Advocacy-Groups-Medicaid-Block-Grants.aspx 5 Letter to Honorable Paul Ryan, Long-Term Analysis of a Budget Proposal by Chairman Ryan, Congressional Budget Office, April 5, 2011. 6 Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Publication (#8238), Medicaid and the Budget Control Act: What options will be considered?, September, 2011.

DD Advocate Magazine


Region 5 Counties: Knox, Holmes, Licking, Tuscarawas, Coshocton, Guernsey, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Belmont, Monroe, Washington, Morgan, Perry, Hocking, Fairfield, Muskingum, Noble DD Leaders

Developing systems that put people – and progress – first BY NATALIE LUPI / TUSCARAWAS DD In 2009, the 18 member counties of the Mid East Ohio Regional Council of Government (MEORC) began working with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to develop a model for shared services that would improve efficiency and customer satisfaction at county boards of DD across the state. Having already launched Creative Supports of Region 5, a program that serves high-cost individuals with behavioral issues from multiple counties in community settings, we knew that greater efficiency was not only a worthwhile pursuit but a realistic one given that program’s level of success. With Creative Supports as a model, we soon got to work developing a collaborative concept with the following goals in mind: Involve individuals, families, and their communities in the administration of the larger system; Implement standardized processes related to service and support administrative functions to make service delivery more efficient from county to county; Develop and implement comprehensive quality management processes that promote continuous quality improvement; and


Winter 2012

Develop a five-year business plan for MEORC to ensure the resulting collaborative efforts would have the support necessary to succeed. After much work from all project participants and our partners over the past three years, potentially groundbreaking solutions are now beginning to emerge.

Problems with the status quo To find out where our current systems were failing, we conducted focus groups with various stakeholders in the county board system. These included, but were not limited to: people with developmental disabilities and their families, county board staff, and providers. By analyzing their feedback, we found many areas in need of improvement. Here are some of the highlights from what we discovered:

1. CURRENT ASSESSMENTS ARE CONFUSING, INEFFICIENT, AND UNRESPONSIVE Individuals and their families found the intake and assessment processes to be overwhelming, intimidating, and generally exasperating – as did the county board staff who have to administer them. They also found them to be highly inefficient. For example, while much of the information

collected during the eligibility determination process serves an important purpose, Service and Support Administrators (SSAs) must collect substantial amounts of information that is never used again once that determination has been made. Staff members must also frequently administer the same assessments multiple times because existing computer systems are sometimes incapable of storing their results for future use. This duplication is discouraging for individuals and their families as well as the staff who are trying to serve them.

2. ASSESSMENTS ARE ALSO TOO RIGID AND IMPERSONAL In addition to being inefficient, many criticized what they saw was the impersonal nature of the assessment process, primarily in that it focuses on finding out what someone cannot do instead of what they can do. Static variables that take into account only a person’s disabilities made focus group participants feel like their input was not valued. Individuals and their families responded that they would like to be treated like customers who understand their personal needs better than a one-size-fits-all form, and that they would prefer not to be viewed simply as service recipients seeking benefits.


Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work, and teaches people how to perform experiments on their work using the scientific method. It also teaches people how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes.1 Corporations like Toyota, Ford, Intel, and Lockheed Martin have all included elements of the Kaizen philosophy in their problem-solving strategies. 1 SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA.ORG

3. TECHNOLOGY HURDLES STAND IN THE WAY OF IMPROVEMENTS Many participants said that major improvements to information systems are needed if efforts toward simplification and personalization are to be successful. They felt that county board staff (and others involved in the direct care and support of people with disabilities) must have access to real-time information about a person’s plan to ensure the appropriate level of service is being provided. They also recognized that a plan did not have to display all of a person’s information to all service providers in order to be useful, and that technology solutions can help identify and display only the most important pieces of information in a streamlined and efficient platform.

4. INSTITUTIONAL COMPLIANCE VS. INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS Focus group participants believed that instead of focusing on the person and his or her success within the plan – county boards put more emphasis on “being in compliance” with rules and regulations. They also pointed out that there is no established process for individuals and their families to offer feedback that can be used to improve the quality of services provided. In general, they felt these misplaced priorities tend to result in resources’ being wasted on non-value added activities at the expense of a person’s successful plan implementation.

Designing a dynamic, person-centered system After receiving this feedback from the focus groups, project participants assembled cross-functional workgroups similar to Kaizen

improvement teams (see Wikifact above) to begin creating standardized processes and systems using a person-centered philosophy. After months of study and collaboration with nationally known person-centered systems consultant Mary Lou Bourne, the improvement teams came up with what they believed to be the optimal system. On the whole, they agreed that the re-designed system should contain a person’s data in an organized, integrated, and easily accessible platform that is available to all service providers in a person’s plan. Data should be Web-based and updated in real time, with the goal of achieving a nearly paperless system that reduces waste without affecting practical functionality for service providers. To be successful, team members stipulated that the new system must put the customer’s needs first by identifying what is important to the person and not just for the person when creating and implementing that person’s plan in the assessment process. If this were to happen, they argued, individuals and their families would likely become more active participants in their plans’ success. Supporting these methods must be a universal information technology platform to enable county boards, provider agencies, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), and the broader health care delivery system to access and use a single source of information for each person. The combination of individual/ family participation and a powerful new information storage platform will allow board staff to see across multiple organizations and make decisions that will improve the entire care system’s capacity.

The teams also made the case that the system must be able to quickly adapt to changing plans in order to remain effective and preserve efficiency. With streamlined processes and a universal platform, feedback and changes can be more easily incorporated into a person’s plan.

Work is underway to implement these changes These ideas were communicated to DODD, which is currently in the process of building an Enhanced Information Data System (EIDS - see page 14 for more info) that incorporates many of the goals of our person-centered system. County boards’ business environment is rapidly evolving, and project participants are hoping our proposed system will effectively meet the challenges that arise as this transformation continues. But, we also understand these efforts are only the beginning. Implementing the system envisioned by the improvement teams will require an investment of time and resources at all participating counties, as well as a meaningful paradigm shift away from the traditional model of service delivery and toward a community- and family-based support model. We believe this is not just possible but critical given our changing environment. We must continue to evolve ourselves if we hope to remain relevant – simply embellishing obsolete processes, systems, and ways of thinking is no longer an option. If these efforts to create a person-centered system are successful, we believe county boards of DD will be much better prepared to adapt to an ever-changing world. AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Special thanks to project co-sponsor Nancy Neely/Licking County Board of DD and all project participants for their contributions to this article. -NL

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with their findings? We welcome your thoughts. Please feel free to submit your feedback about this issue to leaders@ddadvocate.com. Your submissions may be printed in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

DD Advocate Magazine


Knox/Coshocton DD superintendent Steve Oster (second from left, at table) discusses how his boards have saved money and improved their programs as a result of sharing one administrator during a recent meeting with Governor John Kasich.

DD Leaders


DD boards quickly becoming model for shared administration in Ohio BY DAN OHLER / OACB Ohio’s county boards of DD were created to be problem-solvers. Established in the 1960s as a way to help people who were not adequately served by the medical and social systems of that era, county boards have surmounted many obstacles over the past five decades to become a national leader in the provision of services to people with developmental disabilities. Their latest challenge is Ohio’s current economic crisis, which has drastically cut into resources meant to support an ever-growing (and increasingly costly) population of people with disabilities. While making ends meet has been an ongoing struggle for DD boards throughout their history, the combination of state funding cuts and falling local tax revenues has caused increased concern among county boards today than in years past. To overcome this challenge, a number of innovative solutions have been proposed by leaders within our system to help keep the lights on until the economy improves. One of these solutions – shared administrative staffing – has received much-deserved attention over the past year for its potential to permanently alter the way we think about cutting costs and allocating resources within our system. Strictly looking at the issue from a cost perspective, it’s easy to see the appeal. This past June, the Shelby and Champaign County Boards of DD entered into an agreement to split the personnel costs of two employees – Shelby County Superintendent Laura Zureich and Champaign County Business Manager Liz Wagner – in an effort to promote greater collaboration and reduce overall expenses. While it is too early to tell just how well their collaborative efforts will turn out, the cost benefit was immediately clear – sharing these


Winter 2012

two staff members will save the DD boards approximately $170,000 per year. In October, the Henry and Ottawa county boards of DD entered into a similar agreement to share the services of Ottawa DD superintendent Melinda Slusser, reducing their collective costs by approximately $85,000. As this magazine went to print, the Perry and Hocking county boards signed an agreement to share one superintendent between them (starting January 1, 2012) that will result in substantial savings there, as well. These six counties are following in the pioneering footsteps of Belmont, Harrison, Noble, Knox, Coshocton, Fairfield, and Vinton counties, which have been successfully sharing superintendents and other key staff members for some time. Their early success, along with the sharp increase in shared administrative staffing agreements in 2011, has attracted the attention of Governor John Kasich, who praised their ingenuity and pledged his support for similar collaboration during a meeting on the subject in September (see photo on this page). It is safe to say that many – including other state government officials and leaders from government entities in other systems – are watching closely to see how these arrangements fare over time.

If their current success continues, it is likely that county boards of DD will soon become models of innovation for shared administration throughout Ohio. While no one can be certain how many counties will eventually adopt shared staffing agreements in the coming years, the primary argument in their favor – reducing expenses – remains a salient one. Voluntary efforts toward collaboration that produce cost savings and the potential for improving the quality of services is preferable to mandatory cuts down the road. In times of financial belt-tightening like those we are currently experiencing, every effort must be made to ensure that the services provided by county boards of DD will continue to reach their intended recipients, no matter how difficult that may be for those who are required to deliver them. Shared staffing offers a happy medium that could easily spare more draconian cuts down the line should our state’s economy fail to improve. OACB will continue to support counties that want to experiment with new and innovative ways to become more efficient and better serve people with developmental disabilities. To do anything less would be a disservice to that problem-solving philosophy that created our system so many years ago.

Superintendents aren’t the only staff members crossing county lines to report for duty. At least 13 counties have some form of formalized shared staff arrangement among management employees. SUPERINTENDENTS:



Belmont, Harrison, Noble, Coshocton, Knox, Champaign, Shelby, Fairfield, Vinton, Henry, Ottawa

Belmont, Harrison, Noble, Champaign, Shelby

Belmont, Harrison, Noble, Fairfield, Vinton



Belmont, Harrison, Noble, Coshocton, Knox

Perry, Hocking

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, Simplified 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 affiliated 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


DD Leaders

The revolution will not be televised


BY ADAM HERMAN / OACB 3 billion videos are watched every day on YouTube. Every minute, 48 hours of new material is uploaded, which will be watched in 25 countries by people who speak more than 40 languages. In one month, more video content is uploaded to YouTube than was produced over the past 60 years by all three major US television networks – combined. Is it any wonder that online video is the number one source of Internet traffic in the world today? Let’s face it. People nowadays have a lot going on in their lives. With the stresses of work and family and seemingly never-ending to-do lists, free time is an increasingly rare and valuable commodity. If given the choice between watching Dancing with the Stars or looking up information about local government programs that help people with disabilities, most would choose the celebrities. But what if those local government programs came to them? And what if their message was delivered in a way that allowed a person to sit back and do as little thinking as possible after a hard day at the office? According to a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “the rise of broadband and better mobile networks and devices has meant that video has become an increasingly popular part of users’ online experiences. People use these sites for every imaginable reason – to laugh and learn, to watch the best and worst of popular culture and to check out news. And video-sharing sites are very social spaces as people vote on, comment on, and share these videos with others.” If the social media revolution has taught us anything, it’s that people love to take photos and videos of themselves (and just about anyone else they know) and share them with the world. There’s a good chance your county board’s families are already making videos on their own – the only problem is their videos don’t have your message in them. Online videos are opportunities for your


Winter 2012

board’s programs to shine, and – for better or worse – they won’t be going away anytime soon. Why not take advantage of that? I know what you’re probably thinking. “I don’t have the time, money, or expertise to make online videos for my board, and frankly, even if I did – people in my county aren’t big on YouTube. It just isn’t worth our effort right now.” Consider these facts before ruling out online video entirely – they just might change your mind.

Almost everyone is now watching online videos The audience for online video is diverse in age, social background, and geography – online video isn’t a trend, it’s the new norm. According to Pew, “rural Internet users are now just as likely as users in urban and suburban areas to have used these sites, and online African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than internet-using whites to visit video-sharing sites.” In that same report, they found that 1 in 4 adults on the Internet watch an online video at least once a day, with 71% of adults on the Internet watching videos regularly, if not daily. These numbers show that your message runs the risk of not being heard by a rather large audience if online video isn’t incorporated into your overall outreach strategy.

Modern technology is cheap and user-friendly Aside from buying a camera capable of producing decent-quality clips (some models are as inexpensive as $99, with many advanced HD models falling comfortably under the thousand-dollar mark), online video is largely a cost-free activity. But you may not even have to buy anything. Many digital cameras (possibly even the one you’re already using) are equipped with video modes, and most mobile phones have shockingly good video cameras as a basic feature. Plus, manufacturers are now routinely packaging

their products with do-it-yourself video editing programs that make slick online videos easier than a PowerPoint presentation. What used to take days now takes hours (or minutes) to put together.

High return on investment Even the most basic online videos can help county boards tell interesting stories about real people who live and work in their communities. It certainly won’t hurt your levy’s chances if one of your videos goes viral in county inboxes before Election Day, and even if you’re not on the ballot – a little positive attention never hurt anyone. Plus, the stories are already there – you don’t have to write them, you just have to be in the right place at the right time with enough battery life to get it on tape. It’s also worth mentioning that struggling news outlets crave “authentic” online videos. Today’s newsrooms are stretched increasingly thin in every market. Online video is an easy way to add color and depth to a story that might not otherwise receive coverage. Publishers and editors understand the power of online video, but their reporters don’t have the time or the resources to go out and shoot it themselves. A video link in a press release is an easy way to move your story to the top of their to-do list.

The bottom line? As online video continues to develop and become more of a part of our daily lives, we must be ready and willing to use it to our benefit. With a little time, a little creativity, and a little effort, you can turn your Web site, social networks, and county inboxes into commercials for the important work your board is doing – all you need to do is press record.

To access the Pew report referenced in this article, visit http://bit.ly/rauCKi. (case sensitive)

“They like coming here because the farm is a nice break from the noise and


fast pace of city life.”

DD Leaders

BY LISA BREWER / OACB In 2010, the Cuyahoga County Board of DD and its affiliated non-profit organization (SAW, Inc.) came together to create an urban farming program for people with developmental disabilities. That partnership – Cleveland Crops – began with one farm on Stanard Road on the city’s near east side and has since expanded to 6 sites throughout Cuyahoga County. Program organizers expect participants to experience their busiest growing season yet as demand for local, sustainably farmed produce continues to rise in northeast Ohio. “Many people are surprised when they hear the Cuyahoga County Board has an agricultural program because everyone associates us with Cleveland,” said farm manager Gerry Gross. “But that’s a big part of the attraction for our participants. They like coming here because the farm is a nice break from the noise and fast pace of city life. When you’re out here, it’s easy to forget you’re only ten minutes away from downtown.” Program participants complete a five-week agricultural training course where they learn basic agriculture concepts and methods, including: soil composition, planting, tending, harvesting, and distribution of fresh fruit and vegetable products. In addition to learning about farming practices, all applicants must complete an equipment safety course and commit to working up to 30 hours a week to help maintain the farm.

Once they have completed their training period, program participants receive a certificate of competency and become employed at one of several CCBDD farm sites. Some have even been placed at other related green industry businesses. Rich Hoban, director of sales, marketing, and entrepreneurial projects at SAW, Inc., says that increased participation for people at CCBDD will likely be possible in 2012 because of rising customer demand. He and other project organizers hope to grow the program to as many as ten farms over the next few years, employing up to a hundred people with developmental disabilities. “Locally produced food is very popular right now,” said Hoban. “Some of the big-name restaurants in the area are purchasing their ingredients from our farms because they can say it was grown just down the street. Our market keeps getting bigger as word gets out, so I can easily see us continuing to grow over the next few years.” In addition to providing participants with job skills, organizers say Cleveland Crops provides the community with other benefits. By utilizing sustainable farming practices, participants are helping lower the environmental


County Program Snapshot: Cuyahoga DD’s Cleveland Crops Cleveland Crops Manager Gerry Gross (left), Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (center), and Cuyahoga DD superintendent Dr. Terry Ryan (right) at the Free Stamp Garden ribbon-cutting.

impact commonly caused by traditional farming methods. Also, because farm sites are commonly located in blighted areas, neighbors appreciate seeing the program’s well-manicured fields flourish in spaces once occupied by abandoned houses and empty lots. This is one of many reasons Cleveland Crops has attracted the attention of many local elected officials, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Ward 3 City Councilman Joe Cimperman. Both recently attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony near the Free Stamp in support of a vegetable garden planted by the program’s farm workers (see image on this page) in Willard Park. The Cuyahoga County Board of DD has become a surprise leader in agricultural programs for people with developmental disabilities in Ohio by proving that anything – even a vegetable garden among Cleveland’s skyscrapers – is possible with a little creativity and hard work from everyone involved.

Would you like to know more about the Cleveland Crops program, including how you can possibly create a program like it at your county board? Contact Gerry Gross at (216) 538-1303 for more information or e-mail him at gross.gerry@cuyahogabdd.org.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Technology

New DODD Web site provides more access to data and information BY VICKI RICH / DODD When the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) set out to improve its online access to information and services, leadership began with a collaborative assessment of current needs and future goals. That meant considering more than website content and functions, but also looking at the entire landscape of the way DODD was interacting with and conducting business with its stakeholders— and how it would need to conduct business in the years to come. “We saw more than an opportunity for a facelift of our website, because our whole approach in goal-setting over the past five years has been integrated and comprehensive,” said John Martin, Director of DODD. “We know that we can make better decisions more often when we have current, reliable data to support decision-making. That understanding drives our approach to technology leadership and upgrades— including the new website that went live in October.” 14

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Bryant Young, the department’s Chief Information Officer, focused on the challenge of delivering on this vision. With the confidence of the recent successful deployment of the Medicaid Services System, DODD IT staff developed an integrated solution that delivered website content and game-changing electronic business processes. The newly developed website and corresponding portal allow users access to: An online provider certification wizard; Electronic provider certification fee payments; and A robust provider lookup and industry accepted integrated security. One of the new features of the site is the ability to communicate interactively with users through the use of dashboards and alerts. “This truly enhances the way we interact with the community that we serve,” said Young.

An example specific to county board needs includes a new feature that allows County Board staff to pull up-to-date, comprehensive reports on providers doing business in their county. These reports—available from a secure area and only accessible to authorized accounts upon logging in—allow counties to view pertinent information on providers. The reports include whether providers are actively on an individual’s plan to provide services, providers’ certification application and renewal status, and certification expiration dates. Counties can view the services provided, as well as the effective dates of those services; making the reports a valuable resource of relevant, accessible data. Efficient collection and management of information and data on providers is important for DODD, county boards, and people with disabilities and their families. As Martin noted, better data helps drive better decisions, and it’s also true that better data and resource management makes business processes run more smoothly.

At right is a screenshot from the new DODD Gateway. In this section, providers are able to more efficiently enter information using pre-populated data, thereby reducing the need for duplicate entries.


that. Now providers have a portal where they complete the process with an automated program collecting required information as they go, and a structured e-mail notification system keeping them informed of status regularly. We have better data, a better process, and more responsive service capabilities.” The Department’s Division of Medicaid Administration saw several opportunities in managing processes better with more online service capabilities, and the Information Technology Team responded with the Provider Certification Wizard. “We’ve now gone paperless on applications and renewals for provider certification, and that’s offering more efficiency from both a time-management perspective and record-keeping accuracy,” said Patrick Stephan, Deputy Director, DODD Division of Medicaid Administration. Now providers use the Provider Certification Wizard in the DODD website to complete all materials needed for applications and renewals. The program assists applicants by pre-populating demographic data on forms instead of requiring repetitive entry of the same material, walks an applicant through all the sections of applications, collects necessary disclosure statements, and gathers all forms in one place for applicants to download, sign and submit. “The provider certification process requires multiple forms, requiring duplicative information,” said Stephan. “The old process gave too much room for errors and missing information, with a lag time for correcting

Better, more accurate information on providers not only helps DODD and providers better manage time and resources, but also offers more service opportunities. Providers now have opportunity and an expectation to maintain and update their demographic and service offering information. This provides value at all client levels, from giving providers a place to keep accurate and current information in the DODD database to offering ready access for counties and individuals when seeking appropriate provider services. In addition to the secure reports that county boards can access, the public area of the site also now features an enhanced Provider Search Tool. “When we talked to individuals and families about their greatest need for additional information through our website, a better provider search tool was at the top of the list.” Martin said. “Families needed a place where they can search for providers offering the services they seek, in the locations they live. That need ranked right up there with complete, readily accessible contact information for DODD staff and county boards.”

function within the department. The toll-free number to the support center is prominent in the contact area and is also present on each page of the site, along with toll-free numbers for reporting fraud and reporting abuse and neglect. DODD also put priority emphasis on informing website visitors about contacting County Boards for access to services. Individuals and families researching the section of the website dedicated to resources for them, can access a clickable map of Ohio. From the map, by clicking on their county, they will get complete contact information for their County Board. “It really all adds up to us using our technology resources to gather, share and analyze better information,” said Martin. “We’re proud of the capabilities our new website offers, and the opportunity that presents for more interaction and communication with all our stakeholders. It’s part of our larger technology support goal of arming Ohio’s DD system with comprehensive and accurate information about where we are and what we need to improve. And it’s pretty exciting to have a brand new website with new and helpful tools!”

Want to see the new Web site or contact DODD? Visit www.dodd.ohio.gov to learn more.

The website features a comprehensive DODD contact section as a menu item on the front page of the site, divided by location and

DD Advocate Magazine


Winter Feature

Parallel Passions

An Outsider’s Journey through the DD system of Argentina STORY AND PHOTOS BY ADAM HERMAN / OACB


he five of us are huddled together in a large, dark room near the center of the facility. Light from the hallway does not penetrate the closed door behind us, and I can hear the unmistakable sound of someone searching for a light switch beside me. Staring into the black, I get the strange feeling I’ve been here before. I know that can’t be true, because I’m standing in a residential

hospital more than 5,000 miles away from home. Still, something seems familiar. The light switch finally clicks behind me but no lights turn on. Then something catches my eye, and I scan the darkness to find it. That’s when I realize the floor in front of me is moving.


Winter 2012


This article is written from the perspective of a non-native Spanish speaking person with a functional but limited knowledge of the developmental disabilities system in his own country, let alone a country halfway across the globe. While my hosts graciously answered all of my questions with the help of local translators, language barriers and simple time constraints undoubtedly prevented a deeper probe of the issues at hand. That said, I believe this represents a faithful portrayal of the system as I saw it at the time, and apologize for any inaccuracies that may have found their way into these pages. I can assure you they are completely unintentional, and if discovered, will be rectified in a future issue of DD Advocate.

Left: A recently remodeled residential facility at La Colonia de Montes de Oca. Below: Residents of Fundacion A.P.E.X. pose with Fernando Martín and staff for a photo during my visit.

Another switch clicks and a rush of water, air, and light erupts from the corner, bathing the room in an unearthly shade of purple. The once-unremarkable shoelaces in my translator’s sneakers are now glowing bright white in the gloom, and as my eyes adjust, I can now see the floor is not so much moving as it is casting ever-so-gentle waves of colored light from tiny pinpricks in the carpet. It suddenly makes sense why this place feels so familiar – I am standing in a South American sensory room. The strange feeling of familiarity I experienced while standing in the dark at Hogar San Camilo that afternoon was one I would feel many times during my journey of discovery into the DD service system of Argentina. And, just like the other-worldly black lights illuminated what had moments

National standards, local care My journey began on the campus of the National Rehabilitation Service (SNR), a division of the Argentine Ministry of Health that – among other responsibilities that will be discussed in a moment – advises the Minister of Health and other national policymakers on disability issues. Their offices are located in the leafy, tree-lined streets of the Belgrano neighborhood of Buenos Aires, housed in a series of low-slung, white stucco buildings with Spanish tile roofs. The campus itself has a storied history as it was once was home to a leadership school founded by none other than the country’s famed matriarch herself, Eva “Evita” Peron. After making my way through the facility’s marble hallways to what surely would have

“Despite some fundamental differences in structure and resources, the disability systems of Argentina and the United States have much in common.”

before been shrouded in mystery, my exposure to their system showed me just how many universal challenges remain for providers of services to people with developmental disabilities across the globe. After discovering that our two systems have much more in common than one might imagine, I hope to share some of my experiences in order to shed light on potential opportunities for collaboration in the future between our two countries.

been the principal’s office, my translator for the morning took me on a brief stroll through the grounds to familiarize me with the agency. Soon after, I met with Dr. Grisel Olivera Roulet, a warm and elegant woman who – in addition to being a licensed ophthalmologist and director of a national disability agency – holds three master’s degrees in varying disciplines and serves as an instructor in the schools of Economics and Public Health at the University of Buenos Aires. DD Advocate Magazine


Winter Feature




Your Questions The dedicated staff members at the SNR were gracious enough to provide answers to a most of the questions submitted by OACB members, though the language barrier again proved difficult as their misunderstanding of a few inquiries was evident in their answers. That said, all of their responses (many of which are incorporated in this article) have been posted on the DD Advocate Web site at www.ddadvocate.com for reader review.

We were joined by a handful of her top lieutenants, a representative of a national disability advocacy group, and a non-profit provider of services to people with disabilities mandated by the court system into institutional care. For more than two hours, we discussed how – despite some fundamental differences in structure and resources – the disability systems of Argentina and the United States have much in common. While Argentina’s framework of government is similar to that of the US (a federal system divided between states/provinces and a national government), the Argentine system differs slightly in that it places all responsibility for developing and enforcing policies and procedures surrounding the assessment of disabilities with a national entity instead of permitting the provinces to make their own determinations. The role of the provinces and sometimes even city/ municipal governments is to deliver services, with SNR regulating and enforcing standards for those individuals and institutions that provide them. Provinces are not permitted to create their own models for service distribution and care as states have done in the US. There are no entities similar to


Winter 2012

county boards of developmental disabilities at the state or local level in Argentina, as developmental disabilities are not treated as a distinct subset of disability throughout the country (more on that later). Like Ohio and other parts of the United States, Argentina maintains different systems for serving people with disabilities and providing treatment to people with mental illnesses/substance abuse issues. While the systems are separate, they are both structured to encourage the highest amount of autonomy possible for those who are receiving services. This philosophy of “auto-determinación” – or self-determination – is a hallmark facet of the Argentine disability system and extends into other areas of society where people with disabilities are served. A prime example of this would be in the nation’s education system. Unless they are profoundly limited in their ability to understand or participate in the learning process, children with disabilities are educated alongside non-disabled students in standard schools. However, for those who do have profound limitations, specialized schools have been established to provide ability-appropriate

education using personalized curricula (similar to Individual Education Plans in the United States) in order to capitalize on a person’s strengths and encourage the learning process. In some cases, this may result in the institutionalization of children, but it is not always a requirement.

Same concepts, different methods The process to determine eligibility for government benefits for people with developmental disabilities and the subsequent distribution methods for said benefits is somewhat different than the United States, though it does bear some resemblance to Social Security programs (SSI/SSDI). For a person seeking government benefits, Argentina’s eligibility process begins at the SNR. A nationally accepted certificate of disability is the goal for those seeking assistance from the government, for it allows the holder to access a host of benefits not otherwise available to the general public. For people with developmental disabilities, there are no such things as Service and Support Administrators (SSA) to create service plans, however some government agencies responsible for providing services do make recommendations to guide individuals and


their families in the right direction. Once certified, individuals can obtain services from government-approved providers on an as-needed basis in accordance with the benefits permitted by their certificates. Like most other developed countries, Argentina has a robust public health care and social service system that provides for its citizens based on their level of need and not on their ability to pay. While private and non-profit health care schemes do exist, the majority of people with disabilities receive benefits from the federal government. According to data from the SNR, 70% of people with disabilities have some form of government benefit, while 30% declare no benefit. While some states (provinces) and local governments may contribute financially to disability services, the vast majority of funding travels directly from the federal government to individuals receiving services. In addition to traditional government financial benefits, an assortment of other benefits – like handicap-accessible parking permits, subsidized fares on public transportation, and a waiver of the country’s national car tax – are provided to offer people with disabilities reasonable accommodations to encourage their integration into daily life. Nearly every sidewalk I traversed in Buenos Aires had accessible cutouts at crosswalks and

street corners, and I spotted several of the internationally recognized blue and white parking permits in cars parked throughout the capital during my stay. This high level of accessibility and accommodation in developed parts of the country could have been one reason that the government recently made the decision to add a person’s physical environment and even their geographical location as evaluation criteria (alongside traditional medical and functional tests) to the list of factors considered when determining a person’s eligibility for a disability certificate. This appears to be a considerable departure from the model currently used in Ohio and the United States, wherein a person who meets a certain set of medical and/or functional criteria will be eligible regardless of his/her geographic location or level of access to accommodations. These environmentally based eligibility factors were only recently adopted by the Argentine government so it remains to be seen what their long-term implications will be. In any case, they provide an interesting point for comparison to the model used in the United States. While on the topic how disability is measured in the Argentine system, it is worth mentioning that no special attention is given to the age a person becomes disabled when determining whether or not he/she is eligible for government benefits. Nor is


The sensory room at Hogar San Camilo.


These handmade children’s blocks are one of the products from the sheltered workshops at La Colonia.


The headquarters of the Servicio Nacional de Rehabilitación (SNR) in Buenos Aires.


From right: Fernando Martín, Veronica Vento, Adam Herman, Dr. Grisel Olivera Roulet, and Jorge Rossetto pose with agency staff and other meeting attendees following the discussion at SNR.

the cause of that disability given much significance – to the Argentine government, a person classified as disabled at 2 years of age due to an intellectual impairment present at birth is viewed in the same way as a person who is classified as disabled at 35 due to injuries sustained in a car accident. This lack of distinction between developmental disability and general disability made it difficult during some of our discussions to create an apples-to-apples comparison of our countries’ two systems. That said, we generally concluded that both are similar enough that accurate thematic and philosophical comparisons could be reached even if all of their points would never totally align.

Parallel journeys a world apart Such thematic comparisons would be plentiful throughout the remainder of my journey. Following some ceremonial gift exchanging (special thanks to Passion Works Gallery for contributing two of their iconic flowers) as well as some obligatory photo taking, I was shuttled to a state-run institution about 50 miles from the capital in the small rural town of Torres. It was there that I remember thinking – had the residents and staff not been speaking to me Spanish – I might have somehow stumbled through a magic door into any number of county board sheltered workshops back in Ohio.

DD Advocate Magazine


Winter Feature During my visit, I toured a number of institutions sponsored by various government and privately operated entities. My first stop was at La Colonia de Montes de Oca, a large state-run facility that primarily focuses upon people with intellectual developmental disabilities. During our car ride out of Buenos Aires, Jorge Rossetto (the director at La Colonia) outlined a number of the ways he and his staff are trying to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities at his facility.

Above: In a program similar to sheltered workshops, residents creates rugs, mops, and other products for sale to the general public at La Colonia de Montes de Oca.

For most of the past decade, a concerted effort has been made by officials and DD professionals at all levels of Argentina’s service delivery system to move away from the institutional service model in favor of home and community based services (HCBS). Their movement mirrors that of the United States’ deinstitutionalization efforts. While no high court decision similar to Olmstead predicated their recent shift, many national laws and international agreements adopted since the turn of the century have embodied the goals set forth in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision. The only major difference, of course, is that Argentina’s efforts were largely voluntary. This is not to say that their system is having an easier time moving toward HCBS than that of Ohio and the United States. The institutional model of care delivery in Argentina is still prevalent – in fact, I would argue more so than in Ohio – but leaders within the system are working hard to facilitate this change as quickly as possible. 20

Winter 2012

Most of the initiatives he described (which I would later get to see first-hand) are very similar to Ohio’s current efforts to promote HCBS. Newly created pilot programs are attempting to move residents of the institution into community-based group homes where they will live next door to people without disabilities. Taking that concept a step further, another first-of-its-kind effort is being tested to allow two women with developmental disabilities to live alone with very limited supervision – sometimes receiving only a weekly check-in from their former institutional caregivers. These efforts have simultaneously reduced overcrowding at La Colonia while giving people with disabilities greater personal autonomy, both of which are major goals of the HCBS movement’s supporters. The early successes demonstrated by these programs are encouraging, but there is still a great deal of work to be done before the Argentine government is convinced that a deinstitutionalized care model is preferred when serving people with developmental disabilities. Not content to wait the natural progression toward HCBS care, however, Rossetto is also working to slowly reduce his existing population through various new policies and programs. These include returning long-time residents without significant limitations back to their families and closing the doors to new admissions from areas outside the town’s immediate vicinity. La Colonia staff members also understand that this process will be a slow one, and are hard at work making changes to create an environment less reminiscent of the oppressive institution it once was. Less than a decade ago, severe overcrowding and staff shortages had resulted in horrific living conditions for people with developmental disabilities. By implementing structural and aesthetic enhancements, improving program choices, and re-allocating staff resources, the individuals who are now in charge of the facility are attempting to make

the institution a happier place to live while progress toward a community-based system moves forward. Despite the fact that I had never been there before, I could immediately see changes were underway when I arrived. Some buildings already had their dull, white exteriors painted over with carnival-like tones of fuchsia, chartreuse, and electric blue, while others were in the early stages of undergoing similar treatments. Recent staff additions had expanded the number of high-level support professionals in each building from three total (a doctor, a psychologist, and a nurse) to three per floor, dramatically increasing residents’ quality of life. In fact, upon entering a number of their sheltered workshop and day habilitation buildings, I was surprised by the extent to which many of their programs bore a striking resemblance to some adult services programs I have visited in Ohio – the obvious difference being that county board adult services rarely include residential support. Under the watchful eyes of their direct support staff, residents were taking part in the production of a variety of useful objects (mop heads, children’s toys, etc.) that would eventually be sold to the local townspeople at a marginal profit. The staff I spoke with in these workshops all understood that they had a long way to go until their facility would be a better place for people with disabilities, but they also seemed genuinely optimistic about the direction the institution (and its expanding roster of community-based treatment programs) was heading. Given what I heard of their plans, it would be hard not to be optimistic. On our drive in, Rossetto had pointed out several acres of empty fields that physically separated the institution from the nearby town. He informed me that plans to develop the space for multi-purpose use – houses, businesses, recreational facilities, and the like – were being proposed in an effort to literally close the gap that exists between the townspeople and the residents at La Colonia. His hope, if the project continues forward as it has thus far, is to further integrate his residents into the town’s daily affairs and vice versa, laying the groundwork for new community-based service and residential opportunities in the future where none currently exist. Future efforts like these, coupled with an expansion of existing programs to encourage community-based service delivery, show a promising future for the people at La Colonia – and for Argentina’s system as a whole.

in what will hopefully become an ongoing dialog between professionals in these two countries. We have already spoken with the Nisonger Center/University Center for Excellence at Ohio State University about such efforts, and they have expressed a great deal of interest in opening channels of communication to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between our two countries. Further meetings have been scheduled with other similar players in the Ohio DD community, and we look forward to reporting on their progress in future issues of DD Advocate.

Above: Federico Maggio, head of institutional communications for La Colonia, explains how recent reforms have reduced a multi-floor facility from hundreds of residents to dozens.

Doing what’s right, not what’s required

system of social services can be transformed for the better. And transform they will.

What I found most inspiring about La Colonia’s transition away from the institutional model, as well as the general opinions and attitudes expressed by many of the people I spoke with during the remaining stops on my tour, is that all of the efforts to move toward HCBS and an improved quality of life for people with developmental disabilities appear to be largely voluntary. Political conditions in Argentina are such that Rossetto and others like him in the field can do what they want – current President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner and her ruling Front for Victory party are known for being very supportive of human rights and social service/public health causes. Despite that support, there is no top-down decree from any particular entity or agency mandating these actions be taken.

Taking the next step

Argentina did ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2008, but frequently such documents are largely symbolic and carry little threat of enforcement in actual affairs. National laws on disability exist, but they have existed for a long time without any major enforcement effort behind them. The efforts I was witnessing were not simply political lip service to a popular academic or legal rights movement – these professionals were making conscious decisions to improve their system in the interest of the people with disabilities they serve. To them, the words “least restrictive setting” are not an edict subject to judicial interpretation; they are a new philosophy under which an entire

While my experience in the field of developmental disabilities during the time of this trip was limited to a little more than six months, it didn’t take a seasoned expert to realize that the challenges facing providers of DD services do not differ based upon geography, culture, or language. They represent a human challenge, and one we must work together to overcome.

Doctors, scientists, researchers, and public health specialists are working in cities and countries around the world to find new solutions to the problems facing people with developmental disabilities. With recent advances in communications technology and information sharing networks, there is little reason that anyone should have to undertake such an endeavor alone. Through this effort and others like it, we hope that OACB can provide a lasting contribution to a better quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. To learn more about how you can become involved, or to see photos from my trip and read the responses provided to member inquiries from DD professionals in Argentina’s system, visit www.ddadvocate.com. Have questions or want to offer your feedback about this story? Send us an e-mail at feedback@ddadvocate.com. Your response may be printed in a future edition of this magazine.

To that end, OACB is reaching out to stakeholders and opinion leaders in Ohio’s DD service community to take the next step

Acknowledgements This article would not have been possible without the generosity of time, patience, and resources of countless individuals in Argentina’s disability system. While I do not have all of their names, the following people have my most sincere gratitude for providing me an experience I will not soon forget. Until we meet again, thank you. Dr. Grisel Olivera Roulet, Director,

Fernando Martín, Fundacion A.P.E.X.;

Servicio Nacional de Rehabilitación (SNR);

Elsa B. Mechanik, FENDIM;

Prof. Silvia Laura Bersanelli, Secretary

Dr. Susana E. Sequeiros, CONADIS;

General, Comisión Nacional Asesora Para la Integración de las Personas con Discapacidad (CONADIS);

Dr. Jacqueline Spengler, SNR;

Lic. Jorge Santiago Rossetto, Director,

Jorge Manghi, Consulate of Argentina

La Colonia de Montes De Oca;

Federico Maggio, La Colonia de Montes de Oca; (Chicago); and

Sebastián Conti, SNR translator;

The staff at SNR, CONADIS, La

Veronica Vento, SNR translator;

Colonia de Montes de Oca, Fundacion A.P.E.X., and Hogar San Camilo.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Artists

Shared Lives Gallery thrives in downtown Toledo BY LON MITCHELL / LUCAS DD Snuggled into the old warehouse district on the southern edge of downtown, the Shared Lives Gallery and Studio has quickly become a must-visit destination in Toledo’s growing art scene since opening in 2007. Located directly across from the Mud Hens minor-league baseball stadium, the studio attracts sports fans and art aficionados alike by tastefully displaying colorful, original creations from artists with developmental disabilities.

Below: Shared Lives artists Mike Mock (left) and Linda Richards at work in the studio.

“New visitors to our studio are awe-struck by the color, the variety of work on display, and the quality of each piece,” said Lori Schoen, studio manager. “Many of the regular participants in the city’s monthly Art Walks tell me this is one of their favorite stops.” Standing on the sales floor it is easy to see why. The space, which had previously housed a traditional art gallery, is well suited for its new purpose. White walls, focal lighting, and stark wooden floors allow vivid colors to explode from the paintings and sculptures created by Shared Lives artists. “Another popular aspect of our artwork is that our artists use many “green” materials in their pieces,” Schoen said. “For example, we make jewelry and flowers from pop cans. Cast off pieces of Plexiglas become Christmas Trees. Used printing plates from the newspaper are transformed into wall clocks. Our artists and their staff mentors are very creative in finding new uses for old products.” Schoen, whose professional background is in art and not in the developmental disabilities field, admits being “a bit apprehensive” when she started the project four years ago for the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Lott Industries. “But that apprehension did not last long. In here we are all about art.” 22

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What began as a day habilitation program quickly turned into a viable business model as individuals created unique and saleable fine art. While some pieces are mass-produced (such as the wall clocks made from discarded Toledo Blade printing plates), many others are one-of-a-kind originals. All Shared Lives artists retain reproduction rights to their work and earn royalties when their creations are used on merchandise, like T-shirts, greeting cards, and baseball caps. Shared Lives currently features the work of about 30 artists, though Schoen sees the program growing. “I’m hoping to work with at least 100 artists, expand the gallery, and offer more art classes in the near future,” she said.


Original art, prints, and branded merchandise have become very popular among collectors in Toledo’s art and business communities. With holiday shopping upon them, gallery artists and staff have increased production in preparation for the buying season. “I hope people will choose to start their gift shopping here,” said Schoen. “We have something unique for everyone’s taste.”

All artists offer an impression of themselves through their creations. It is no different with the artists at Shared Lives. The studio, at 20 North St. Clair, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Out-of-town art fans can view and purchase selected works by visiting the studio’s Web site and online store - www.sharedlivesstudio.com.

DD Artists

Person of the Quarter: Alphonso Rowe BY WENDY PLANICKA / BUTLER DD Alphonso Rowe’s enthusiasm for painting is contagious, as is his bright, cheerful smile. He loves to have an audience when he works, and is not shy about showing off his creations when finished. As InsideOut Studio’s most prolific artist, Alphonso’s abstract paintings have been on display at art exhibits throughout Butler County and across the state. He has won multiple awards for his work, with one piece recently being submitted to the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for display in its international headquarters in Arizona. He has been commissioned to create paintings for local businesses, selling at least a dozen pieces in the past year.

he carefully chooses which paint color to use and applies it in thick, broad strokes. He These accomplishments and more have then smiles at his work, steps made Alphonso Rowe of Butler County back, gives it a second look, the DD Advocate Person of the Quarter for and laughs. Repeating this Winter 2012. process over and over with additional colors and strokes, PHOTOS BY BUTLER DD everyone around him can feel A practiced hand a timid interest in art. He was curious, his joyful creative energy as To express his artistic vision, Alphonso uses but hesitant. He liked bright colors but the final image slowly begins to emerge. a measured and thoughtful creative process. didn’t have any experience with drawing or Selecting the biggest paintbrush in the can, Alphonso typically paints about twice a week painting. It was only after studio staff put and completes as many as four paintings a a paintbrush in his hand that his creativity PHOTO BY ADAM HERMAN month. His work frequently showcases his began to blossom. Alphonso doesn’t usually favorite color – red – though he has recently say much, but he speaks volumes through been including other colors (especially those his art. His paintings are bold and awash found in natural elements, such as leaves or with bright colors that say far more than flowers) into his palette. He is also working to words ever could. create perspective within his pieces so that Quite the social butterfly, Alphonso enjoys the audience is further drawn into his world. making plastic bead necklaces for his many friends at Liberty Center. He is also a valued Speaking through paintbrushes member of Liberty Center’s volunteer When he first started coming into the art Alphonso with Sherry Dillon, InsideOut Art Studio cleaning crew, helping to wipe down tables supervisor, during a recent visit with OACB. studio a year ago, Alphonso showed only in the art studio and vacuum classrooms after a busy day of fun and activities. When he’s not creating beautiful paintings or crafts at the Liberty Center, he loves to go to Congratulations to Alphonso Rowe for being the first-ever Person of the Quarter! Do you know the movies with his niece and play musical a person who receives services from a county board of DD that deserves recognition? Send instruments in his spare time. us their information at feedback@ddadvocate.com. We would love to feature him or her in a future edition of the magazine! DD Advocate Magazine



Winter 2012

DD News

News in a Nutshell



Adams Venture Productions, Inc., the adult program of Adams DD, had another successful year with the Farmer’s Market. A greenhouse will be constructed within the next two months and they are looking forward to educational classes and an earlier planting season in 2012. PHOTO BY ASHTABULA DD

Hannah Bowser, Bob Reidl, Job Coach Debbie Nelson, and Job Coach Jan Church.


Blast carries a new theme from year to year which is reflected in party decorations and activities. This year’s theme was “Trains and Railroads,” featuring the Freedom Train, a pet project of non-profit board member, Gary Katterheinrich. As former administrative director of the Neil Armstrong Airport in New Knoxville, Katterheinrich converted an old airport baggage hauler into a replica of an old steam engine. Project costs are partially offset through advertising opportunities on each train car’s side panels where businesses pay a nominal fee to exhibit their company logos and phone numbers.


The voice you hear on the phone when you call Ashtabula DD will now be a person with a developmental disability. Hannah Bowser and Bob Reidl job share, each working 4 hours per day. The Superintendent of Ashtabula DD, Anne Zeitler, believes that they are excellent job matches. They are very competent, and their pride and enthusiasm comes through the phone lines, loud and clear.

Carroll Hills School is implementing Project MORE for the 2011-12 school year. Project MORE is a Mentoring in Ohio for Reading Excellence program that is scientifically based, provides 1:1 volunteer instruction at individual student’s reading level in grades K-4, and has shown month-to-month gains for students with disabilities. Carroll Hills has already found several volunteers to be reading mentors.



Athens DD’s Passion Works artist Fred Cremeans recently traveled to Colorado to show his artwork in a well-known gallery. The Old Gallery in Allenspark, Colorado is known for its ongoing PHOTO BY ATHENS DD support of fine art in the area and beyond. August 18 marked the opening of this exciting Colorado show. And by all accounts, it was incredibly fun and successful. Fred is a natural host and tour guide! Visitors were thrilled by the quality of Fred’s art and spent lots of time getting to know Fred and his wonderful family. Fred conducted an impressive 2-hour artist demonstration, which was well attended. Congratulations, Fred!

Five talented Art on Main artists recently won ribbons in the fine arts exhibit at the PHOTO BY CHAMPAIGN DD Champaign County Fair. The winning artists were: Molly Traylor - 3rd place (Acrylic/oil painting); Emily Henry, 1st place (Mixed media); Milana Vignovich, 3rd place (Mixed media); Chris Teets, 1st place (All other media); and Anna Nagy, 3rd place (All other media).

Clark Participants from Clark County and elsewhere took part in the annual Kenton Caper bicycling event to raise money for the Clark DD Levy Campaign and Goodwill/ Easterseals Miami Valley. Riders had a choice of 8-, 22-, or 36-mile routes with snack stops along the way. The Kenton Caper logo was created by Dennis Fugate.

Coshocton Coshocton DD recently purchased a building across from their Adult Services Program. The building will house all of the service and support administrators and community employment staff.

Darke The Employment Services team at Wayne Industries Adult Day PHOTO BY DARKE DD Program has recently partnered with several community agencies to be a part of the Darke County Community. Projects have included: acting as Grand Marshal in the Greenville Holiday Parade, volunteering at Darke County Parks, participating in Adopt-A-Highway with the Ohio Department of Transportaion, and more. Those receiving services through the Darke DD/Wayne Industries Adult Program are proud to be contributing members of their community.


Auglaize In appreciation for their hard work, the staff and non-profit board of Auglaize Industries conducted an annual Summer Blast in Auglaize County for the adult workshop’s 110 adult clients. The Summer

Jennifer Lemmons & Jim Finley after their 22 mile bike ride in the 4th Clark Annual Kenton Caper Bike Tour.


Delaware DD and The Alpha Group of Delaware recently sponsored several events to mark National Disability Employment Awareness Month for area employers. Throughout the year, The Alpha Group, Inc. will put increasing resources and coordination efforts into getting the message out to employers in greater Delaware County.

DD Advocate Magazine


Fayette The Behavior Support Advisory Council (BSAC) of Fayette County recently took a family activity day to Leeds Pumpkin Farm in Ostrander, Ohio. The BSAC group is made up of families with special needs children that are seeking outside support and connection to resources. Twice a month these families participate in a support group while trained staff watch their children. The BSAC also provides respite and family activity days scheduled throughout the year.

Fulton Fulton DD has been partnering with middle and high schools in Fulton County to present an assembly to students PHOTO BY FULTON DD entitled “Spread the Word to End the Word.” Based on the Special Olympics campaign, Fulton DD has developed an assembly that includes two staff, six students, and three people with disabilities. The message is presented using videos, conversations, and skits. Three presentations have been given and three more are scheduled. Feedback has been wonderful.

Greene In September, Behavioral Support Services Manager Diana Holderman received the Ed Comer Award for Excellence in Service to Individuals with Co-occurring Intellectual Disability and Mental Illness at the Ohio NADD (National Association for the Dually Diagnosed) Conference in Columbus. The award is presented annually to an Ohioan who makes extraordinary contributions in the field of mental illness and intellectual disabilities. Congratulations, Diana!

Hancock Blanchard Valley Center is delighted to announce the Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC) has just awarded the program a grant for more than $444,000 to provide additional employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Last year Blanchard Valley Center had the opportunity to partner with the National Organization on Disabilities and Lowe’s Distribution Center to initiate an outreach project designed to train and employ people with disabilities at Lowe’s Findlay location. Little did BVC know that


Winter 2012

today, a mere year and half later, 20 people with disabilities would be working at Lowe’s! Last year this project was supported by an RSC grant for more than $250,000, which BVC used to provide job coaches for this and other employment opportunities.

Holmes The Holmes County Training Center’s Dental Clinic had a digital X-ray machine installed recently with grant support from the Austin-Bailey Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton. Patients are exposed to less radiation and the improved image quality has made the dentists happy (and has led to improved outcomes). Holmes DD also recently received a $50,000 donation from its parents association and used the funds to purchase a new school bus. Last but certainly not least, the following individuals joined the Holmes DD staff: Rhoda Mast as a part-time school principal; Kevin Duff as the new transportation coordinator; Sharon Gray as school secretary; and Grant Fox as a new teacher for the STARS class. An estimated 250 people attended the pig roast/open house/ice cream social to celebrate the new school year.

Huron Looking to make the best use of available space and create room for a growing adult services program, Huron DD has moved several classrooms and programs between Christie Lane School, the Elizabeth Gerken Family and Child Center, and Sarah’s House. After nearly 50 years at its original home, Christie Lane School moved to the Gerken Center. Early Intervention has moved from the Gerken Center to Sarah’s House, joining Help Me Grow. Non-vocational and community support programs will move across the parking lot from the Christie Lane Industries building to the classrooms vacated by Christie Lane School.

Jefferson In conjunction with the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, Jefferson DD is having an energy audit completed on all county-owned buildings. The detailed study of the buildings will determine the energy consumption and operational characteristics of each building operated by the board and make specific recommendations to reduce energy consumption and operating costs. Once the study is completed the Board will determine the scope of the project to upgrade the energy efficiency of each

building based upon the recommendations of the auditing company and available funds.

Lawrence After more than 20 years of employment, Paul Brown has retired from his duties as the Transportation Supervisor in Lawrence County. Thank you for your service, Paul.

Licking Licking DD board members are in the midst of conducting strategic, long-term planning to prepare for the future. After the New Year, the Board plans to kick off a campaign to renew its five-year, 1-mill levy that was first passed in 1987 and was last replaced in May 2007. PHOTO BY LORAIN DD

Kathy Bevaque and Director of the Department Of Developmental Disabilities John L. Martin

Lorain As a facilitator of the training series Triumph Through the Challenges of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Kathy Bevaque has helped hundreds of parents, caregivers, and professionals understand FASD and how to help those living with the disability. For all of her hard work, Kathy was recently honored as the FASD Professional Advocate of the Year at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. Congratulations, Kathy!

Mahoning The clowns from the Aut Mori Grotto Clown Unit took time away from big shoes, red noses and clown cars to make a child smile in another way. Clown Donald “Doc” Lambert headed up the crew that delivered a new Rifton Positioning PHOTO BY MAHONING DD Chair to Leonard Kirtz School (LKS) student LaTawon Townsend. The seat and base enables the student to sit comfortably while doing activities and allows some relaxed out of wheelchair positioning. The chair is also equipped with wheels on the base that allow LaTawon to self-propel and explore his environment while interacting with his friends and family. This new freedom increases mobility; aids

in physical development and can open up a wide variety of new adventures. The physical therapy staff at LKS spearheaded the acquisition of the Rifton Chair to increase LaTawon’s independence and social development. Thanks to all who contributed!

Mercer A symposium was recently held with past and present parents of children served in Early Intervention (EI) as well as Mercer DD’s entire EI staff, county Help Me Grow staff, and others. The object was to discuss how services were and are and could be delivered to families. The whole day was a productive experience for everyone. It is the board’s desire that every effort be made to provide services in the best manner(s) possible, from the families’ perspective. The parents involved in this symposium helped clarify for the staff and board how to best serve.

Morgan Morgan County residents Sharon Bear and Seth Dille recently attended the Project S.T.I.R. conference, held at the Salt Fork Conference Center. They have now organized a local advocacy group called the “MoCo Stand Up Speak Up Group,” and will soon meet with Morgan County Commissioners, as well as other groups in the county, as they continue to advocate for themselves and gain leadership skills.

Ottawa Five vacationers from Ottawa DD, along with two support staff, headed to Hocking Hills the first PHOTO BY OTTAWA DD weekend of October for some horseback riding, hiking, and a plane ride. A great time was had by all!

Preble Preble DD has earned a four-year accreditation certificate from the Ohio Department of DD (DODD) for the first time in the history of their agency. Staff are proud to be recognized for delivering quality services and supports for the individuals and families they serve. The agency plans to apply for a fifth year certification under the “Areas of Excellence” model, which is the highest certification level offered by the Department.


Richland The Aktion Club at Richland Newhope Industries, Inc. has been busy collecting 386 pounds of food and more than $300 during a local Harvest for Hunger campaign coordinated by the Cleveland Area Foodbank. For its efforts, the 62-member club was named the first recipient of the new Tom E. Crawford Award for best overall service project. The Richland County Aktion Club has also recently held two fundraisers to help pay for convention-related and other club activities, including sending Halloween treats to their “adopted” platoon of 13 soldiers in Afghanistan.

Sandusky The School of Hope in Sandusky County has purchased a new “TAP It” machine from donated funds. The large, touch-screen machine can differentiate between intended and unintended touches, and will enable the students to utilize computer programs that they may not have otherwise been able to access. The machine is ADA compliant and adjusts in height and also can rotate the screen from vertical to horizontal depending on the needs and position of the child. The board also recently purchased four iPads for classroom use as part of a continued effort to incorporate new technology into the delivery of services. PHOTO BY SCIOTO DD

Service and Support Administrator Staff Sgt. Bill Pennington presents ‘Patriotic Employer’ award to his supervisor, Donna Royse, SSA Director at Scioto DD.

Scioto Scioto DD’s Service and Support Administration (SSA) Director Donna Royse was recently recognized as a Patriotic Employer by the Employer Support Program of the Ohio Army National Guard and Reserve. The Employer Support Program is an initiative of the Ohio National Guard and the U.S. Department of Defense that recognizes employers who support employees in the military.

Shelby Stingers team members and coaches who participated in the 2011 Special Olympics State Tournament.

Shelby The Shelby County Stingers (Special Olympics softball team) recently participated in the Special Olympics State Softball Tournament, bringing home the State Championship Trophy in the perfect ending to a long and hard-fought season! Shelby DD congratulates these team members and the coaches and volunteers who devote a great deal of their time and energy supporting people with disabilities in Shelby County.

Tuscarawas Staff recently held a series of events to mark Disability Employment Month, involving local elected officials, family members, and people with disabilities in an ongoing discussion and awareness campaign about the importance of disability employment. Local TV and radio stations were involved in the board’s efforts to help educate the public about disability employment, earning Tuscarawas DD some great attention in the community. Superintendent Megan Manuel and Asst. Superintendent Bill Caplinger cooked hot dogs and hamburgers as members of the administrative team served the food to all agency staff.


Warren CB In order to thank all of the terrific staff members, the management team recently hosted its second-annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon. The agency also recently completed its CARF review and is expecting a great accreditation report!

DD Advocate Magazine


Words of Wisdom


DD Advocate recently sat down with Franklin County Superintendent Jed Morison and asked fifty questions about his views on life, leadership, and lessons learned for our first-ever Words of Wisdom profile. Ten of his responses have been selected to appear without their prompts as a glimpse into the mind of a man who – despite what others may believe – could very well be making it all up as he goes along.


“There are times when I simply have to make quick decisions, with the hope that I will have the support of the board or others involved after the fact. Thanks to the staff who advise me, we have a pretty good track record, but I have had to learn from my mistakes on more than one occasion.” “I regret not learning a second language. If I could be granted the ability to do one thing perfectly without having to work or practice at it, I’d like to speak Spanish.”

“HAPPINESS IS BEING HEALTHY, SAFE, HAVING BASIC NEEDS MET, BEING CONTENT, HAVING PURPOSE AND BEING COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN. HAPPINESS IS NOT ABOUT HAVING “THINGS.” “We are in the people business, and with so many great people to work with and support, it is hard not to have a positive outlook. “I am fortunate and lucky to have chosen a career I continue to thoroughly enjoy.”


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“One can never be objective about his own compensation.” “I have a pretty simple philosophy, mostly taken from my parents: Love your family, have faith, be kind to others, work hard, and have a little fun once in a while. Success to me is measured by how well I do in these areas.” “Years ago, a staff member and good friend gave me a chair made out of a toilet seat. I’m still working on the true meaning of the gift, but it was good for a few laughs.” “Establish your own credibility first, do more listening than talking, learn names, avoid cliques, work hard, and set a good example.”

“SOMETIMES I FOOL PEOPLE INTO THINKING I ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.” “In the developmental disabilities field, Ohio is one of the best-kept secrets in the country, because people are receiving excellent services comparatively.”

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



Franklin J. Hickman Janet L. Lowder

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 www.hickman-lowder.com

Turning Your Obstacles Into Opportunities

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

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