DD Advocate Magazine - Issue 5

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Issue 5 | April 2014

DD Advocate Magazine

No place like home Adult Family Living options offer around-the-clock support from live-in caregivers PAGE 14

County boards continuing shared services leadership

Pioneer Center celebrates diamond anniversary

Spire Arts makes a big impact in Dayton




Experience Your Board Can Trust. Every member of your board needs at least four hours of in-service training annually. Why not get it from the attorneys who have worked with county boards of developmental disabilities for more than 50 years combined? Call attorney Stephen Postalakis to schedule DODD-approved in-service training for your Board on the topics of: • Ohio’s Open Meetings Act • Ohio’s Public Records Law • Ethics for Board Members Our lawyers also assist county board clients in the following areas, among others: • Collective bargaining • Labor and employment law • Open meetings and Public Records • Litigation • Unemployment compensation

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Issue 5 | April 2014


DD Advocate Magazine

In This Issue


Bridget Gargan PUBLISHER


3 President’s Letter


4 Sustainable success: Strategic planning is key to building your organization’s future



Ad Sales

DD Briefing


New report highlights shared service achievements by county boards

Ohio Association of County Boards


DD Worldview

8 Out in the cold: Mainstream schools reject children with mild disabilities in Jamaica

Serving People with Developmental Disabilities Bridget Gargan EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | BGARGAN@OACBDD.ORG


DD Leaders

Peter J. Moore

Ross DD celebrates 60 Years at the Pioneer Center


13 Four years strong, Montgomery’s Spire Arts is having a big impact in Dayton


Adam Herman



14 No place


like home

Ann Neu

Adult Family Living options offer around-the-clock support from live-in caregivers

20 Success Stories: Doug Perez DD News

21 News in a Nutshell DD Words of Wisdom

28 Dr. Terry Ryan

Issue 5 | Marc h 2014

DD Advoc ate Magazine

No place like home Adult Fam ily options offe Living around-the-r support fromclock live-in care givers PAGE 14


Two subjects of this issue’s cover story – Jeff and Evelyn – were photographed in their home in Springfield by Adam Herman for DD Advocate.

County board s continuin g shared services leade rship PAGE 6

Pioneer Cent er celebrates diamond anniversar y PAGE 10

Spire Arts makes a big impact in Dayton PAGE 13


Issue 5 - April 2014




DD Advocate Magazine is the official publication and registered trademark (™) of the Ohio Association of County Boards – Serving P eople with De velopmental Disabilities (OACB). All content is cop yright ©2014 O ACB unless otherwise noted. Written permission is necessary to reproduce any material for whic h OACB is the o wner. Every effort is made to ensur e accuracy of content prior to publication. OACB is not r esponsible for inaccur acy that arises after the ma gazine has published. OACB is not r esponsible for information contained within advertisements and does not endorse the pr oducts or services advertised. Inquiries regarding material contained within should be directed to feedback@ddadvocate.com or to: DD Advocate Magazine c/o Adam Herman, Managing Editor 73 E. Wilson Bridge Road, Suite B1 Worthington, OH 43085 For an up-to-date advertising rate card, visit www.ddadvocate.com. All other inquiries may be directed via e-mail to feedback@ddadvocate.com.

President’s Letter DEAR COLLEAGUES: Throughout history, most major shifts in thinking and behavior have taken place not as the result of a single major event, but as the result of constant and gradual force over a long period of time. In recent years, fundamental changes in attitudes, perceptions, and expectations seem to have taken place far more frequently and at much shorter intervals than ever before - so much so that few things can be relied upon for any length of time before their successors come along to replace them. County boards of DD, in their role as providers and funders of services to people with developmental disabilities, are not immune to this new reality of modern life. In fact, now more than ever county boards of DD must be ready to anticipate and adapt to the changing environment around them. This issue of DD Advocate Magazine focuses on the ways in which local leaders are positioning their county boards to not just survive but thrive in our ever-changing world. By sharing their success stories, our goal is to help boards adapt and overcome challenges to funding, structure, and service delivery long before doing so becomes a necessary condition of continued operation. As your new President, I look forward to supporting each and every one of you as we continue working together to enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities. While many changes are likely on the horizon for our system, I am committed to working with you to ensure that these changes have a positive effect on the people we serve.

Laurie Benintendi President, Board of Trustees

Our system’s strength comes from the passion of its members – let us harness this passion to do incredible things over the coming months. Thank you for your continued commitment to our noble mission – I am honored to help lead such an incredible group of talented and dedicated professionals. Sincerely,

Laurie Benintendi President, Board of Trustees


Issue 5 | March 2014







Tim Pfister is the Community Relations Specialist for the Montgomery County Board of DD Services, where he has handled media relations, special events, board publications, and online media responsibilities for the past twelve years. Prior to joining Montgomery DDS, he worked in similar positions for the United States Military Academy and the US Pacific Command in Hawaii. In this issue of the magazine, he writes how people served by the board have improved their community with a mural in the style of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Liz Sheets recently retired as the Public Relations Coordinator for the Wood County Board of DD, where she handled media relations, marketing, social media, and related functions for more than 25 years. Among the many new programs and strategies she implemented during her time at the board was the “Wood Lane Works” slogan, which is still in use today. In this issue of the magazine, she tells the story of Doug Perez, our DD Advocate Success Story, who is working to become an auxiliary sheriff’s deputy.

Mel Marsh is founder and principal of Acorn Consulting, a full-service firm that specializes in strategic planning, team collaboration, and improving work environments for organizations in the public, private, and non-profit sectors around the world. Prior to starting her own business, she worked for the US government, Fortune 100 companies, and private clients. In this issue of the magazine, she discusses the essential elements of a successful strategic plan using the plan she developed with OACB staff as a discussion model.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Leaders

Sustainable success: Strategic planning is key to building your organization’s future BY MEL MARSH / ACORN CONSULTING

OACB trustees and staff recently completed the first year of a long-term strategic plan. Their vision? An organization that provides better support to members while strengthening Ohio’s DD service delivery system as a whole.


trategic planning is a term that is used frequently, but is often defined differently depending on who is asked. Most organizations have come to understand that having a strategic plan is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity.

When a new idea is proposed, a good strategic plan will quickly be able to identify whether or not it deserves the organization’s attention – and if not, empower the organization to move on without wasting precious time and resources.

Good strategic plans will answer three key questions. First, why does an organization do what it does? Second, what is the organization’s vision of the future that is different from the status quo? Third, what is the plan for achieving that vision? While the first two questions may seem simple, they are frequently overlooked by organizations focused on the “what” and not on the “why.” This is why many strategic plans fail – it is not for lack of energy, but for lack of direction.

Last, but certainly not least, a good plan gives an organization the stability it will need to accomplish its goals regardless of who happens to be in the top leadership positions at any given time. When new players come onto the scene, they must find out where they fit in the organization’s vision – not the other way around. This allows for continuity and greatly increases the chances the organization will accomplish what it set out to do in the past.

Successful plans will also provide concrete principles and guidelines that organizations can use to evaluate all past, present, and future programs and services. They help board members and staff maintain their collective focus in environments where good ideas far outnumber available resources.

What tools should a strategic plan include?


Issue 5 - April 2014

Successful strategic plans consist of goals (critical areas of focus) and objectives (specific and tangible accomplishments within each goal).

GOALS Goals provide general outcomes that the organization is working to achieve. For example, the first goal in OACB’s plan involves more proactively advocating for policy and system changes that will benefit people with developmental disabilities. Because goals represent critical areas of focus, there should only be a few. Generally, I’ve found that three to five goals are an ideal range. When organizations set too many goals, they risk diluting their focus and failing to achieve their larger strategic plan.

OBJECTIVES As opposed to goals, objectives are specific. They are usually tangible efforts that provide clear direction on what organizations must accomplish. Goals can have multiple objectives supporting them. To use the same example, two of the objectives that support OACB’s policy goal are to: (1) promote policy positions that are consistent with the organization’s vision and the desires of members while taking into account

other stakeholders’ positions, and (2) better engage families, guardians, self-advocates, and county boards to help influence policy decisions. These are two very specific ways that the larger goal can be achieved.

How do you develop a strategic plan? A roadmap is a common metaphor for a strategic plan. The roadmap contains the starting point (where your organization is today) and destination (your vision of the future), and it specifies the route you must follow (goals and objectives) to reach your destination. The common practice of spending a day in retreat to brainstorm “what we are good at” and “what we want to do differently” is not the way to go! Instead, organizations should be objective and comprehensive in: assessing the needs of their many different audiences and stakeholder interests, identifying their own capabilities and weaknesses, and learning what is happening in their respective industries. Only then can organizations have the information needed to determine what should be in their strategic plans. For OACB, we conducted a detailed survey of members to understand member perceptions in three main areas: Member challenges and how the Association can help Perception of OACB’s strengths and weaknesses Customer satisfaction with (and need for) current products and services

We then interviewed state and national leaders to understand trends and anticipate industry changes. By talking with system stakeholders and organizations that commonly partner with OACB, we were able to better understand outsider perceptions and evaluate our operations to identify opportunities for improvement. Staff and board members also contributed their vision of the ideal future for the OACB and its members – a key component to any strategic plan’s success. Using this information, we collaboratively identified five goals to focus on for the future that would enable us to address changes in the industry, meet the current and emerging needs of members, and maintain focus on improving the lives of people in Ohio with developmental disabilities. Association members can download the full plan in the OACB Data Library (www.oacbdd.org/resources/data-library), with regular updates about the organization’s accomplishments distributed throughout the year on the Web, via e-mail, and on social media.

OACB has drawn a roadmap to reach its desired future. Does your organization have one of its own? For more information about strategic planning, contact the author at mel@acorn-consulting.com.

DD Health Insurance Project Seeking New Enrollees The Office of Medical Assistance, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, is sponsoring a project to enroll people with developmental disabilities onto the “Disabled Adult Child” (DAC) insurance program managed by the Social Security Administration. The Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center is overseeing the project for both departments. The DAC program allows people with developmental disabilities who have a significantly higher monthly income than the typical SSI monthly payment to qualify for the program. Also, two years after the established DAC eligibility date, a person who is enrolled will qualify for Medicare.

Not only does DAC increase benefits to the people with developmental disabilities, but it also saves county boards money on housing subsidies giving them the opportunity to allocate funds to other areas. Over the past year there have been 18 private providers and nine county boards who have participated in the DAC project. Providers and county boards who would like to participate in the project should contact Barry Jamieson at barry.jamieson@osumc.edu or Marilyn Weber at marilyn@mkpathways.com. Participation in the project is free until June 2014, when the initiative will end.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Briefing

New report highlights shared service achievements by county boards BY ADAM HERMAN / OACB Since they were created in 1967, county boards of DD have pushed the boundaries of traditional thinking in the areas of efficiency and innovation. Their unique structure as independent government local entities has allowed them the flexibility to pursue cost-cutting strategies where they make the most sense – resulting in significant savings and improved services for people with developmental disabilities. One of the first early adopters of the “council of government” model, county boards of DD have been realizing efficiencies through economies of scale since the early 1990s. More recently, they have been aggressively adopting shared services arrangements (in which staff members perform functions for more than one board at a time), which has allowed them to direct more resources into life-changing supports for the people they serve. This successful track record has sparked the interest of state policymakers who are currently searching for ways to further promote local efficiency through shared service arrangements. In fact, state policy


Issue 5 - April 2014

leaders have publicly recognized county boards of DD on multiple occasions as leaders in the area of shared services among local governments – a tribute to the system’s responsible stewardship of local property tax payer dollars over the years. State officials’ heightened interest prompted leaders within the county board of DD system to collect objective and clear-cut information on the current status of these arrangements. Using an extensive survey conducted in January of this year, county board superintendents identified how many boards currently share one or more of their major functional service areas with either: (1) another county board of DD, or (2) a council of government. (For a listing of the major functions covered by the survey, see the inset on the opposite page.) The survey results confirmed what many already knew: county boards of DD are highly effective in pursuing shared service arrangements in the status quo. With all county boards responding, superintendents found that:

1. 93% of county boards formally share at least one major function overall, 2. Nearly half (49%) of county boards formally share at least five major functions, and 3. Top management positions were among the most common positions shared, with 17 counties sharing the services of 8 superintendents. On the opposite page, a statewide heat map index shows the saturation rate of shared service arrangements across Ohio. To download a full copy of the report, “County Boards of DD: Supporting People by Sharing Services,” visit OACB’s Web site at www.oacbdd.org/sharedservices.

Building on existing successes Further study is planned to identify additional shared service arrangements that were not captured by the superintendents’ initial survey. These measures include efforts to partner with other local

Major Functions Shared


For purposes of this survey, these major functional service areas included: Superintendent Business Manager Service and Support Administration

Nursing and Medication Administration Quality Assurance

Human Resources Eligibility Determination Functions Transportation Services

TDD Waiver Services Provider Compliance Reviews Medicaid Billing Service

Preschool Services Adult Services

Representative Payee Functions Family Support Services

Behavior Support Services Investigative Agents

PLAY Project (Support for Children with Autism) Home Modification and Adaptive Equipment

Waiver and/or Subsidized Living




government entities outside the DD services realm (such as local transportation authorities, local school districts, and other human services agencies) as well as other for-profit and non-profit entities (such as private service providers, community groups, and businesses) that serve as valuable partners in supporting people with developmental disabilities. In the coming months, OACB shall engage a wide variety of stakeholders in a conversation on how the State of Ohio can further empower county boards of DD in their quest to improve the quality and efficiency of the services they provide. The targeted allocation of state resources into these types of arrangements represents a smart investment for state policymakers.


County Board of DD Shared Services Compiled by Ohio Superintendents of County Boards of DD January 16-23, 2014

Our member boards’ ability to experiment and pursue efficiencies over the past four decades has allowed them to remain flexible and responsive to the needs of local communities at a time when state resources have dramatically fallen – a necessary skill to have when planning for a lifetime of services and supports for people with developmental disabilities (and their families). We look forward to continuing this trend in the months and years to come.

11-12 Major Functions Shared 9-10 Major Functions Shared 7-8 Major Functions Shared 5-6 Major Functions Shared 3-4 Major Functions Shared 1-2 Major Functions Shared

For more information about this survey, or to share your board’s story, please contact Bridget Gargan, OACB Executive Director, at bgargan@oacbdd.org.

DD Advocate Magazine


DD Worldview

Out in the cold: Mainstream schools reject children with mild disabilities in Jamaica BY NADINE WILSON


or this edition of Worldview, we travel to the tropical island paradise of Jamaica – where students with developmental disabilities frequently find themselves unable to obtain a suitable education in a system that rejects them outright for either lack of appropriate resources or fear of lowering traditional schools’ test scores. What do you think? Send us y our thoughts at feedbac k@ddadvocate.com - your comments may appear in a future edition of the magazine.

place to which they refer the child might have a waiting list for testing, might have a waiting list for placement, and so that child is being left out in the cold for an extended period of time,” she told the Jamaica Observer last week.

Editors Note: While this article has been edited for space constr aints, it has not been modified to reflect People First language, for it was written in a community with differing customs and culture than our own.

Rodriguez estimates that about 3,500 Jamaican students aged six to 20 are moderately to profoundly intellectually disabled. However, a far greater number are mildly challenged.

Hundreds of students with developmental disabilities will be left out in the cold this academic year because mainstream schools don’t want them.

It is a real concern for local specialist and executive director of the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities (JAID) Christine Rodriguez.

In fact, some have been booted out of normal schools by their principals, although local experts have said that some of these students — despite their mild developmental challenges — are fully capable of functioning in the regular school system.

“Unfortunately, there are schools that kick the children out and say ‘you are not supposed to be in this school, this is not the school for you’. Those children go home and end up sitting down for a couple of months, for a year, for two years, because maybe the


Issue 5 - April 2014

Until 2009, JAID was known as the Jamaican Association on Mental Retardation; founded in 1956 by the same man who started what used to be known as the Jamaica School of Hope. That school is now the Randolph Lopez School of Hope (RLSOH); the largest and oldest school for children with intellectual disabilities in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean. The provision of services for children with intellectual disabilities was pioneered by Randolph Lopez,

Left: A wheelchair is no hindrance for Shakell Todd, a student at the Randolph Lopez School of Hope, as he leads his peers in the performance of a stirring song during the opening ceremony of a new classroom block at the institution.

“If you are a principal and your success is being measured by what you do with your children, the temptation will always be there for you to focus on the bright ones, because those are the ones who have the most gains to show in a shorter period of time,” she said. However, she cautioned, these already vulnerable children are the ones who suffer. “What provisions are we making for those in society that have, through no fault of theirs, serious behavioural problems, serious learning issues? What provisions are we making for those children?” she asked.

who founded the Jamaican Association for Mentally Handicapped Children in 1955. The school caters primarily to those who have a profound developmental challenge combined with a severe physical limitation. JAID currently operates five similar schools which have a combined total of 29 satellite centres in every parish except for Trelawny. The schools, combined, currently have close to 1,600 students enrolled, with the majority attending the RLSOH in Kingston, and the Windsor School of Special Education in Spanish Town, St Catherine. The school has already enrolled 150 students for this academic school year and is hoping that it will still manage to squeeze in at least a few others from its extended waiting list. That waiting list has 600 students, all seeking admittance to its special-needs institutions. JAID caters to students up to age 20, but even so, those leaving far outweigh those being enrolled each year. “We are always in everybody’s bad books. Everybody feels that we are just being difficult and not wanting to take children, but that’s not the case; we always have a longer list than we can provide for,” Rodriguez said. Still, she sympathises with the principals of traditional schools, who, she believes, refuse special-needs children because of the pressure on their institution to prove high academic performance.

Educational psychologist at JAID, Paulette Levers, said the school is often mistakenly perceived as a treatment centre where children with mental problems can go for two or three years to prepare themselves for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), or the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams. This perception, she said, is not only held by parents, but also educators who see the school as providing a quick fix. “They are of the belief that if the child is not coping in the regular schools, then as long as there is an academic problem that can be linked to a cognitive problem, they believe that this is the school for them,” she said. “As long as they begin to experience a challenge in school and they are underperforming, especially if they are underperforming for two grades or more, most people don’t begin to investigate what might be the real problem; they begin to say this child is for School of Hope,” she added. Principal for the RLSOH, Sylvestina Reid, said she has also found that a number of the mildly intellectually disabled students seeking placement at her school have been turned out by principals of mainstream schools. “This is right across the board; you find them from the prep schools, the private schools and the government schools. Those schools can’t bother to plan appropriately for these children, so they just ask the parents to take them out,” she said. But JAID’s social worker, Deborah Manning, feels some of these principals turn away the students out of frustration.

“Sometimes it is just out of sheer desperation. They really recognise that the child is just not suited for here, but nowhere else will take them, because there are no institutions out there that are in place to deal with the special needs of these children,” she said. She said that parents of these children are oftentimes just as frustrated with their condition and unfortunately abuse them as a result. Some parents, she said, hold unrealistic goals for their offspring which never materialise. “Sometimes when you speak to some of these parents, their goals for their children are so unrealistic, compared to the school’s understanding of this child and what the child is likely to achieve,” she said. JAID’s focus is providing educational, vocational and adaptive skills training for students. As a result of the skills training received, a small number of these students have been able to secure employment in agriculture and horticulture, food preparation, art and craft, and woodwork. However, some parents, it seems, are still not satisfied with the progress their children make. “What has happened to us is that we have a society that is always looking for the perfect child. The media highlighted those children who got 12,13, 15, 16 subjects recently. To do that, you have to be very bright, you have to have a lot of support, you have to work really hard. The reality is that we don’t live in a perfect world,” said Rodriguez. It is believed that some of the issues being faced by intellectually disabled children, especially as it relates to their placement in schools, could be better addressed with the implementation of the much talked-about Special Education Policy. But up to Friday when the Sunday Observer checked the Ministry of Education (MOH) website, there was a notice saying that the policy is still being reviewed. When contacted, June Hamilton, assistant chief education officer in the special education unit at MOH, confirmed that the policy was still being vetted. She said she was unable to give a timeline when it would be implemented. DD Advocate Magazine


A group of teachers and students from 1964 at Western School.

The first graduating class at Western School, where the “Pioneer School” as it’s known today was formed.

One of the first cheerleading squads at the Pioneer Center. Circa 1968.

DD Leaders

Ross DD celebrates 60 Years at the Pioneer Center BY PATRICK McFADDEN One by one the students of the Pioneer Center added a shovelful of dirt into the hole in front of their school. Surrounded by elected officials of Ross County, community leaders, as well as both current and former staff of the Ross County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD), each child helped secure their place in history. Together, they had gathered to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Pioneer Center by burying a time capsule. The time capsule contained a variety of mementos donated by students, staff, administrators, and representatives from partner agencies including Easter Seals, Goodwill, and First Capital Enterprises, Inc. (FCE). Items ranged from pictures and news clippings to brochures and product samples from FCE. Students also recorded video messages and musical performances for the next generation of Pioneer students. The electronic files were stored on DVDs and USB drives in hopes that at least one of these technologies will still be accessible in 15 years. An array of promotional materials was also placed in the time capsule from present and past levy campaigns. Great care was taken to ensure that each item included would be perfectly preserved for the 15 years that the box is to be buried. The time capsule will be opened on September 21, 2028, 75 years to the day that the first class for children with developmental disabilities was offered in Ross County. 10

Issue 5 - April 2014

Humble Beginnings

Expanding Horizons

In 1953, the Pioneer Center’s first class was conducted in the basement of the Salvation Army’s Citadel (see image on opposite page) before moving to Trinity United Methodist Church. The class was one of the very first for children with DD in a rural Ohio county. The first classes of any kind debuted in Ohio just one year earlier, with 13 classes operating in six counties serving a mere 150 students.

Ross County was ahead of the curve when counties were formally mandated to provide resources to these children, but they were underfunded. In order to accommodate the mandate, resources needed to be secured. The advocates running the classes looked to the public for support. Like today, they found some of the most passionate advocates in those who knew and loved a person with a developmental disability.

The Pioneer Center began as the Ross County Council for Retarded Children in 1952, run by a group of parents opposed to hiding away their children with developmental disabilities in institutions. Ruth Moser was appointed the first teacher and worked without pay until 1955, while groups such as Kiwanis and the League of Women Voters provided resources to get started. New classes were added in 1958, and again in 1961. These classes provided a much-needed venue for educating children with DD, as they were not eligible for enrollment in the public school system. Early activists and their allies in state government helped push for legislation, passed in 1952 by the Ohio General Assembly, to establish a program for classes and provide money for their operation. Thankfully, as the 1960s approached, the state decided it would close many institutions and send the children back to their homes.

One of these people was Mrs. Harold Barnhart, who donated ten acres of her farm on County Road 550 in Chillicothe with the hope that the land donation could one day help people like her son receive the support he needed. This left Pioneer only in need of financial resources to build a new school, which by that time had moved into the basement of Chillicothe City Schools’ Western building (see images above). Classes there were cramped, and the building’s limitations (such as students’ having to cross through a boiler room to use the restroom) soon made the building’s continued use impractical. For this reason, advocates made the decision to approach Ross County voters with a bond issue to fund the construction of what would eventually become the Pioneer Center. The board’s first campaign was positive and had no real opposition from the community.

What’s in a Word During the early 1980s, the state began changing the definition of the population it serves. Because public schools were required to provide an education for children with disabilities, Pioneer transitioned from a school primarily for children with intellectual disabilities to a specialized center for children with multiple disabilities. The language used to communicate who we are, what we do, and the people we serve continues to play a central role in the discourse about DD. In 2009, with the signing of Senate Bill 79, the state dropped the term “mental retardation” from county board names, which included Ross County and the Pioneer Center. Today, advocates are pushing for greater use of people-first language. This focus on the language in our dialogue about DD is an important vote of confidence from leadership and lawmakers about the importance of communication.

Left: Superintendent Rick Marriott, Chillicothe Mayor Jack Everson, and Director of Communication Patrick McFadden pose with a Proclamation recognizing the Pioneer Center’s anniversary and supporting the board’s service to the community.

When all the votes had been counted, Pioneer Center had won its 0.6mill bond issue by 2,240 votes, which meant that more than $880,000 in building costs could now be financed over a ten-year period. Campaign organizers found that most voters understood how important it was to support the needs of the children who would be instructed there – a sentiment that has largely carried through to present day.

Growth – Moving into the Modern Age After the school was built, Pioneer soon had to return to ask for support for operations because operational funds had not been included in the school’s original request to voters. While the five-year, 0.7-mill levy didn’t pass at first (it narrowly missed a 55 percent majority needed), the school passed a levy on its second attempt and was able to provide both school and sheltered workshop operations. From that point on, Pioneer has been marching forward, broadening its service base, and pushing forward issues that improve the quality of life for people in the DD community.

Frontier Community Services opening the Pleasant Valley group home – a facility that is still in operation today. Five years later, the board moved to the forefront of employment services for people with developmental disabilities and was the first in the state to contract with a non-profit agency, First Capital Enterprises and Main Resources Employment, to provide both sheltered and community-based work for adults. The mid-80s also saw the development of a countywide transportation system for children to get to school and for adults to get to work. Before that time, transportation consisted of parents and volunteers transporting students. Ross County later formed a local chapter of People First, an organization now popular around the state. This self-advocacy group creates community awareness of people with DD. Today, the group continues to volunteer, perform service projects, attend seminars and training sessions, and socialize with community members.

One of the biggest changes to Pioneer’s school services in the 21st century came about in 2007, when the Pioneer Center partnered with Ohio University’s Chillicothe campus (OU-C) to begin focusing more heavily on young children through early intervention programming. The two organizations teamed up to create the Early Childhood Development Center on OU-C’s campus. Currently, the center houses several integrated pre-school classes as well as several different programs, ranging from music therapy to infant massage. These milestones embody the accomplishments that were achieved through the partnership of countless individuals and community organizations.

Celebrating 60 Years of Service To commemorate its 60th anniversary, the Pioneer Center hosted an event in Chillicothe’s Yoctangee Park. The event, “Unity in our Community,” was a way for the Pioneer Center to say thank you to the community members and organizations that have supported the board for so many decades.

In 1979, the board instituted one of the state’s first residential programs. The program was one of the earliest state programs for the promotion of independent, non-institutional living for adults with DD. 1980 was a pivotal year in the state for special education services; legislative efforts resulted in a departmental separation between services for people with mental illness and those with DD. That year was also a milestone year for residential services in Ross County, with

Students of the first class for children with developmental disabilities in Ross County gathered in the basement of the Salvation Army’s Citadel in Chillicothe.

Students were transported to school by parents and volunteers until the mid-80’s, when a county-wide transportation system was developed for children to get to school and for adults to get to work. DD Advocate Magazine


The free event included a community drum circle, a concert, lawn games, refreshments, face painting, balloon animals, prize giveaways, as well as informative displays including an archive of Pioneer Center history. Partner organizations, such as Easter Seals and the YMCA, participated in the event as well, setting up carnival games, mazes, and other activities for attendees to enjoy. The festivities were kicked off with an opening ceremony that included remarks from the Pioneer Center’s Superintendent Rick Marriott, who spoke briefly about the history of the Pioneer Center and its role in the community, as well as Chillicothe Mayor Jack Everson, who presented the board with proclamation acknowledging the anniversary and Pioneer’s important role in the Ross County community (see image on previous page). The celebration was one of the largest the Pioneer Center had ever undertaken and was considered a great success. In addition to the community event, a comprehensive archiving project was also launched for the purpose of creating a fully searchable electronic flipbook of the board’s many milestones. This electronic resource will join a newly dedicated section of the Pioneer Center’s library in documenting and maintaining the board’s history for staff and the general public.

Looking ahead The future is bright for the Pioneer Center. This year, the majority of the administrative staff, who currently reside at the school, will be moving into a new building in downtown Chillicothe where they will be joined by the Service and Support Administration team. The move will provide more space for both school

This group of advocates represents the first chapter of People First in Ross County.


Issue 5 - April 2014

staff and administration to expand programs, including an increased effort to bolster community-based employment programs. “The move will help us be more efficient and effective with two of the bodies of our programs being housed together,” said Rick Marriott, the superintendent who has been at the helm of the Pioneer Center administration team for more than 30 years. “It will provide a centralized location that will show our community that the Pioneer Center is more than just one building; it is a strong network of support for the people we serve.” The emphasis placed by Marriott on keeping the community informed and involved is recognition of the importance they play in the past, present, and future of the Pioneer Center. “Without the support of the community, we can’t survive,” Marriott said. “Once we set our goals, we have to let everyone know where we are going, what we need, and why our goals are important in order to maintain their support. This will continue to be a top priority as we improve our support for the people we serve.” There is a philosophical component to the work being done, but there are also very real practical implications to this strategy. The most important of these implications is maintaining a certain level of financial support to guarantee continued operations. When speaking with Marriott about changes to come, it is apparent that the future of Pioneer will be more integrated and more accessible than ever before. The model of deinstitutionalization that came about in the latter half of the 20th century will be pushed to another level. The concept

The 1978 Special Olympics State Basketball Champions, still a point of pride for the Pioneer Tigers, who have the championship banner hanging in their gymnasium today.

of living and working in the community is changing and progressing. “There are a couple philosophies binding together to create the movement we are seeing today—the philosophy of the self-advocates, and a philosophy that to live and work in a community mean being more integrated,” Marriott said. “Providing more service options for people to choose from, promoting self-advocacy, and implementing the Employment First Initiative will all be key aspects of the Pioneer Center’s future.” In addition to its community integration goals, Pioneer aims to be more of a support system for local schools. Board staff are following a model they implemented with Chillicothe City Schools two years ago: more classrooms embedded in the schools, with more support services, with a reduction of segregated instruction. “These changes will not happen overnight, but our strategic goals must be focused on these kinds of efforts if we want the people we serve to be able to fully participate in the community,” Marriott said. To integrate students into their neighborhood schools, Pioneer will assist the school in identifying the students’ needs and crafting the best methods of instruction. Marriott explained that he sees the center becoming a resource center for many different professionals and the support systems they provide, including behavioral supports for children with autism, recreational opportunities, and various forms of speech, language, and physical therapy. The evolution of the Pioneer Center, while certainly influenced by outside forces, is guided by a philosophy anchored in integration and buoyed by public support. The center’s growth continues to be supported by a community that rallies around the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. As the Pioneer Center embarks on its next decade of service, they pay homage to their past, and honor those who have enabled them to be in the position which they enjoy today. “Our organization’s history reads like a road map of how far our state has come in supporting people with disabilities,” Marriott said. “Before places like the Pioneer Center existed, the people we serve were often locked away and forgotten. Now, with the help of programs like ours, they have the chance to live a full life. We’re looking forward to where the next sixty years will take us.”

DD Artists

Four years strong, Montgomery’s Spire Arts is having a big impact in Dayton BY TIM PFISTER


n 2010, several people served by the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services decided that they wanted the opportunity to participate in an art program. Board staff discussed their proposal, including the best way to implement a program that would use the unique talents of each person served, and shortly thereafter the Spire Arts program was born. Spire Arts is a habilitation and vocational program available to more than 1,100 people who participate in the board’s day services. In addition to the simple benefit of creating beautiful and expressive pieces of art, both staff members and people served have noticed that there are many remarkable therapeutic, vocational, and educational benefits to participating in an art program. By challenging the people served by the board to explore and expand their artistic abilities, budding artists have begun to offer diverse pieces in a wide variety of mediums. During the reconstruction of one of the board’s four adult services facilities, the group decided to adorn the blank wooden walls surrounding the interior of the building with a series of murals. The results were epic. Not only was the mood of the building and overall morale enhanced by the murals, but a sense of pride and ownership emerged from both program participants and staff alike. Recognizing the desire of the people served by the facility to be a part of the construction project, the construction crew began to involve them in various construction activities.

Now four years in operation, Spire Arts participants are seen as up-and-coming contributors to the local art community, sharing their work and inspiring others with their talents. They benefit from collaborating with local artists and various community art organizations. One project had artists collaborating with the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan’s “Activated Spaces” program, which challenged art groups to bring new life to vacant storefronts in order to show a lively downtown environment. Spire artists provided artwork that was displayed in one of Talbot Tower’s street-level spaces, giving the program high-profile exposure in a busy downtown setting. Another project that interested Spire Arts participants was a public art program that was attempting to beautify a section of East Third Street, located in an economically distressed area of Dayton. Requests for proposals were issued, and the Spire Arts proposal was chosen from multiple applicants to create a mural in that area of town. Due to the proximity of the Second Street Market, a fruit and vegetable theme was selected for the project located at Third and Webster. Their proposal was the idea of Ashley Doolin, a program participant and artist. She drew her proposal based on Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s fruit and vegetable portrait. A selection of individual artists throughout the program, with assistance from staff, helped bring Ashley’s idea to life in an 8-foot by 8-foot mural.

Above: Spire artists beautify an underpass with murals inspired by famous artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Because of their work on this project, program artists were commissioned to expand their portfolio by completing another mural at the Garden Station on Wayne Street, also in the downtown area. In addition, individual artists have had their work entered into the annual “Art & Soul” juried art competition. Their art was sold at the event and is also available for purchase at a local community market – allowing the artists to reap the rewards of their efforts. Spire Arts continues to embrace relationships with other artists and the community. They sponsor events with other artists who have disabilities and work with many local artists to learn and help them grow into better artists, building a large art network for themselves.

Through these endeavors, aspiring artists with disabilities and the Montgomery County Board of DDS shared a common commitment to inspiring lives and serving the community through art. For more information about the Spire Arts program, visit http://bit.ly/13ZwqcZ.

DD Advocate Magazine



No place like home

Adult Family Living options offer around-the-clock support from live-in caregivers



Issue 5 - April 2014


n many ways, Shawn is a typical 19-year-old. He and his father, Taz, look forward to camping trips and like to tinker with technology and gadgets. Sundays are spent watching football, and tonight he wants pizza for dinner.

But their lives are also complex. Shawn has been diagnosed with a severe Autism Spectrum Disorder and needs around-the-clock supervision. He has difficulty with changes to his routine and feeling comfortable around new people. He is non-verbal, and instead communicates through pictures and modified sign language. Taz and Shawn have developed their own shorthand—a language only father and son know. It is indicative of the bond and relationship they have, which Taz feels could not be replaced by outside supports. “Someone said to me, ‘Nobody is ever going to be good enough for your son in your eyes, are they?’” Taz said. “And nobody would. Nobody would take care of him like family, like I would.” Just one year ago, Taz and Shawn did not know what to expect each day. Taz, a single father, worked second shift as a diesel mechanic. Shawn, a student at the time, needed support to complete various aspects of his daily life. He needed someone to identify potential risks and help him make sound choices, like picking out clothes for the day. Using the traditional waiver approach, Shawn had different support providers each day. “They didn’t know him,” Taz said. He recalled coming home from work and realizing his son’s incontinence brief had not been changed. “That was her first and last day working with Shawn,” Taz said. “When it comes to cleanliness, health and respect, there’s no excuse.”

Above: Shawn and Taz sit on their couch planning their day together.

“Nobody would take care of him like family, like I would.” — TAZ

Another time, his provider watched Shawn knock pictures off the walls, causing over $1,000 worth of damage to the home. “He’ll test people,” Taz said. “You have to stand your ground. You can’t let him destroy the house.” Finally, Taz and Shawn found a care provider who stayed with them for a year and a half, and Shawn instantly attached himself to her. “He took to her like a mother,” Taz said. But when a new job opportunity forced her to leave, their situation felt desperate. “It broke his heart,” Taz said. “It destroyed his world when she left. That’s when I decided I’m not going to have his heart broken any more.” The rotation of care providers began again. There were times when no one would show. Often, Taz would stay home from work or leave in the middle of a shift to care for his son. Ultimately, his job let him go. “I didn’t have any other options,” said Taz. “That’s when I discovered Caregiver Homes.”


Person-Centered Care

Left: Like father, like son. Shawn (left) and Taz (right) enjoy ice cream before heading home. “He’s my best friend,” Taz says.

As part of a growing movement and paradigm shift toward person-centered care, Caregiver Homes began serving people with developmental disabilities in Ohio in 2012. Structured Family Caregiving, known as Adult Family Living or Adult Foster Care in Ohio, enables family and non-family caregivers to make the full-time commitment of caring for elders and people with disabilities. The program provides training and support from a professional team including a registered nurse and care manager, as well as a financial stipend to keep caregiving at home and in the community.

DD Advocate Magazine



The program coincides with state-wide efforts to provide quality person-first services such as OACB’s Good Life Network and the Region V “Imagine” Project—an initiative of 18 county boards of DD in eastern Ohio to transform the developmental disabilities system in Ohio through person-centered planning. “Through our Structured Family Caregiving program, referred to as Adult Family Living and Adult Foster Care in Ohio, Caregiver Homes provides a care option that coordinates services, forms lasting relationships, and keeps families together,” said Sue Gregg, Midwest Regional and State Director of Caregiver Homes of Ohio. “These services make it possible for people with disabilities to remain

active participants in the community— something we all take for granted until we are faced with limited options.” Ben Battista, Service and Support Administration Supervisor at the Miami County Board of DD, worked with Shawn and Taz to help them find the care option that worked best for them. After learning about Adult Family Living, Battista recommended the program to Taz. Through communication and teamwork with Miami County, Taz has now been a caregiver through Caregiver Homes for more than a year. “Adult Family Living has given this family the confidence that Shawn’s needs can be met, and it’s given them peace of mind

How to Qualify for Caregiver Homes To qualify, a person needing care must be eligible for Medicaid, benefit from 24-hour care and support, and require help with one or more daily personal care needs (for example, bathing, dressing, transferring, walking, using the restroom, and eating). Caregiver Homes carefully screens interested caregivers to ensure they are suited to making a full-time, around-the-clock care commitment. The screening process includes a telephone conversation, written application, background check, face-to-face interview, and home assessment.

“I want to care for someone the way I want to be cared for. I want to be loved, listened to, and respected. That’s caregiving.” — EVELYN

that the person providing those supports is the best person for the job, and that’s Taz,” Battista said. “I think Adult Family Living was a big boost for county boards and has renewed our faith in person-centered approaches. People want that kind of intimacy and level of care in their daily lives. When you have an option like this, you’re going to be supported by someone who cares for you, and that person is probably going to be a long-term support instead of there being a high volume of turnaround.” Taz and Shawn have now settled into a comfortable routine. They paint old trains and wooden ducks together; they fixed the antique victrola that now sits in their living room. A collection of old lanterns is displayed in their house. Shawn goes on eBay and tells his dad which radios he wants. He even has his own auction number when they visit local auctions. “Shawn is really mechanically inclined,” Taz said.


Issue 5 - April 2014

Providing Support and Structure Three more hours. Ten months. Thirty minutes. Shawn needs to know when things are going to happen, ranging from when he will see his care team, to when he will get to do one of his favorite activities. Today, it is all about when they will go out for ice cream. “A half hour, Shawn.” Taz points to the clock that Shawn studies and gives him times for upcoming events— mile markers to set expectations for the coming days, weeks, and months. It brings a new meaning to “around-the-clock” caregiving, and it is yet another sign of the consistency Taz is now able to provide, and the promises he is able to keep. “I don’t think Taz feels like he has to take on the world alone anymore,” said Christine Kristanich, Caregiver Homes Branch Manager for Columbus. “If I could build a model caregiver, it would be Taz. When I’ve gone with him to meetings, he speaks from the heart. He doesn’t pretend that Shawn doesn’t have some challenges, but he also expects his son to be treated with respect. Taz is such a good advocate for that.” Taz leans on his care team for support. He receives monthly visits by his care team and enters daily notes about his son’s health, behavior, and general well being. “My care team is always there for me and Shawn,” Taz said. “I call them for advice, and to make sure I’m doing things right. The daily notes help me find patterns in his health, which is helpful.” Since Taz took on the full-time caregiver responsibilities, Shawn’s health has improved. When Taz first gained custody of his son, Shawn was 9 years old and only weighed 31 pounds. “Shawn’s mom did not want him to get big,” said Taz. “She worried if he got big, she wouldn’t be able to handle him. She wouldn’t let him eat in the house because he’s very messy when he eats. She didn’t want to clean the mess up, so she made him eat on the porch. It took forever to get him to eat in the house.” Shawn’s mother is no longer very active in Shawn’s life. It took two years, but now Shawn’s weight is within normal limits. Taz’s care team reminds him to take his own health into account, and together they are in the process


Above: Evelyn, Jeff, and Harold sit together in their living room.

of identifying an alternative caregiver so he can take respite if necessary. Thirty minutes pass, and Shawn reminds Taz it is time for ice cream. On the drive, Shawn wants the radio turned up. Like it is for other people his age, the music never seems to be loud enough. He wants to feel it. Father and son sit side by side at a table, wearing baseball hats, eating orange sherbet and ice cream. They recently moved from Miami County to Darke County, but despite the distance, they still make the 45-minute drive to visit their neighbor and cut his grass. Taz said he feels it is important to give back whenever they can because “Caregiver Homes has given us so much.” “Taz went with the company that was best able to show him the ropes and make sure he’s supported,” Battista said. “I think he has gained a lot of skills. By working with Caregiver Homes, he has not only been helpful to Shawn – he’s been able to help himself, too.” Taz says he believes his full-time caregiving role was the right option for his family. “Shawn is my best friend,” Taz said. “If you love the person, caring for them at home is the best thing you do for them.”

A Non-family Caregiving Model Just a year ago, Jeff, 31, spent much of his time alone. He would go many hours without communicating with anyone. Jeff is diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability and depression. Only qualifying for two hours of support a day, he became isolated from the world around him. He kept his blinds closed, became less concerned with his appearance, stopped cleaning his apartment, and did not take his medications regularly. Without someone to care for him, Jeff, pictured above, stopped caring about himself. That all changed when he met Evelyn. “I treat him like he’s part of the family,” Evelyn said. “I love caring for him and teaching him. He’s so eager to learn, and he’s a lot of fun to be with.” A few years ago, Evelyn was providing support to Jeff on an independent basis for a few hours a week. Their bond was instantaneous. She would help him clean his house to make his environment safer and more comfortable. She often invited him to her home because he was so isolated. But when Evelyn experienced a stroke, it would be a year before they saw each other again.

During that time, Jeff was relying on other support providers. The day Evelyn’s doctor told her she was well enough to go back to work, she received a call about Jeff. “I know God had his hand in this one,” she said. In the time Evelyn had been away from Jeff, she was told human services came into Jeff’s home to evaluate his living situation. Exterminators had to be brought in. The state was considering moving Jeff to a nursing or group home. In the span of just one year, Jeff, who only qualified for two hours of care a day, was possibly going to move to a full-time care facility. “They felt he was in such bad condition that he needed to be there,” Evelyn said. “They called me and said that I knew him best. They wanted my input.” What Evelyn found upon her arrival broke her heart. Jeff had not taken a bath in several weeks, and he had developed sores on his legs. He was staying home all day, skipping work, smoking cigarettes, and drinking liters of Dr. Pepper each week. Jeff was no longer letting people come into his house to help him, and those who did quickly left.

DD Advocate Magazine



Above: Jeff (right) and Evelyn’s son Brayden (left) have become fast friends since Jeff moved in.


“I walked into this meeting about Jeff’s future, and I cried,” Evelyn said. “I said, ‘I don’t know what you all have been doing, but I’ve got him now.’ We cleaned him up, cleaned his house, and brought him home.” “If I don’t have her,” Jeff said, “I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, and I don’t go to work. I wasn’t happy.” Above: Jeff goes on family trips and vacations with his new family, including a trip on an Ohio riverboat last August.

When she and Jeff heard about Caregiver Homes, they knew they had found their answer.

What It Means to Care Like Family


Evelyn hears the familiar sound of a bus pull into the driveway. “There he is,” Evelyn beams, smiling before Jeff even gets to the door. When he walks in, she can immediately tell something is wrong, in a way that only a loved one can. “You look upset. What happened?” Jeff opens up and tells her about his day. He tells her he wanted to sit in a different place on the bus. She encourages him to speak up to the bus driver. They talk it through. With a tender hand upon his hand, she reassures him that she is listening, that he is loved. As the oldest child of 12, Evelyn learned from a young age what it means to be a caregiver.

Above: “If I don’t have her,” Jeff says, motioning to Evelyn, “I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, and I don’t go to work. I wasn’t happy.” 18

Issue 5 - April 2014

“That’s my gift, to be able to care for someone,” said Evelyn. “I want to care for someone the way I want to be cared for. I want to be loved, listened to, and respected. Not just a roof above my head and food; I’m talking about all those needs met. That’s caregiving.”

When Jeff’s Paths Coordinator heard about Caregiver Homes, she immediately thought of Evelyn and Jeff. In just one week’s time after learning about the program, Evelyn was officially a caregiver through Caregiver Homes. Now Jeff lives with Evelyn and her husband Harold in a home that is warm and inviting; a candle makes the home smell like pumpkin pie. Jeff calls them Mom and Dad. Evelyn cleaned out the upstairs so he can have his own “man cave.” “That is his domain,” Evelyn said. It is a far cry from the empty apartment he used to live in. Now his home is abuzz with activity. Evelyn’s granddaughter walks in after school and makes her grandmother some tea; their small dog barks in the background. Evelyn is preparing macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight. “Her family loves me,” Jeff said. “And I love them.” Jeff looks through photos of his new family on Facebook. He reminisces with Evelyn and Harold about trips they have taken. Their conversations are a quick back-and-forth— special inside jokes between family. Harold and Jeff banter, teasing each other and making playful jabs. Their affection for each other is palpable. They often play golf together, sneaking off for father-son adventures.

their quality of life and helps them make decisions about their care. Knowing about his medication increases medication adherence and makes Jeff feel capable and proud. He can speak about his medication with his doctor. Care teams are always assessing whether there are new opportunities to help the people we support take a bigger role in their overall care.” Not only is Jeff interested in his own care, but also he is passionate about self-advocacy. He runs upstairs to get a card for the R-word: Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. The campaign is intended to raise awareness about the importance of people-first language. Jeff is proud to share the card with others and to be an ambassador for the cause. His person-centered care plan focuses on his goals and aspirations. He plans to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity so that he can help people who do not have a home. Evelyn encourages him to make new friends. The constant supports and relationships that are the foundation of this care model have

allowed Jeff to meet his personal goals and thrive in his community. For a person who is used to being the sole caregiver, Evelyn is happy and relieved to have the support of her care team. “It’s awesome to now have a team,” Evelyn said. “They are wonderful. They’re always available. They aren’t in a hurry to get off the phone with me. They are there to find out what I need, and they don’t talk to me like I have to rush.” Evelyn recommends Caregiver Homes to anyone who has “room in their home and in their heart” for a person who needs a family environment. “People like Shawn and Jeff are thriving through the person-centered movement,” Kristanich said. “They are a reminder of the benefits of providing people with options and then making their choices a reality through collaboration, communication, and people-first care planning.”

“What would you do without him?” Evelyn says while looking at her husband. “You’d be so lost.” She smiles.

Jeff is also learning about his medications. Tiffany Ward, RN, is part of his Caregiver Homes care team, and she helps him understand medications based on his individual learning style. She believes that because Jeff has stability and a family he feels accountable to, he takes more ownership over his health and care plan. Education, she says, helps in all areas of his life. “For the people we serve, this skill set broadens their independence and increases their self-esteem,” Ward said. “It improves


“Everything has improved,” she continued. “He shaves, wears clean clothes, goes to work for a few hours a day, and he cleans his room. He loves to be involved. His social skills are improving. He’s very polite. I’ve been teaching him how to read and write, and he’s learning skills like how to count money.”

Above: Jeff talks about changes at his job with Karen Morgan, his care manager, during a routine check-in visit.

To learn more about the Structured Family Living program offered by Caregiver Homes, contact Branch Manager Christine Kristanich at ckristanich@caregiverhomes.com or 614-493-7030. For more information about how to qualify for this service, visit Caregiver Homes online at www.caregiverhomes.com or call 866-302-5961.

DD Advocate Magazine


Far Left: Doug explores the interior of a sheriff’s cruiser as part of a citizen’s academy. Left: Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, Doug Perez, Deputy Jill Holland, and Chief Deputy Eric Reynolds (left-right) are photographed at the Sheriff’s office in Bowling Green.

Success Stories: Doug Perez BY LIZ SHEETS Doug Perez wanted to work in law enforcement since he was 5 years old. He met his first police officer during a “Safety Town” class, and has been mentally preparing himself to join the field ever since. “I have a great respect for them,” he says of law enforcement officers. “I have always wanted to make a difference.” Now in his early 20s, he may soon have that chance. Doug receives services through the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities and works at Wood Lane Industries. Obstacles that could stand in the way of achieving his goals, including a severe vision impairment, have proven no match for his passion for police work. In his free time, he keeps track of the Sheriff’s Department by listening to his scanner. He can identify Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and each of his deputies by the sound of their voices. He also knows their badge numbers and codes they use while on duty. “A minor injury is 4,” he says, recalling several codes from memory. “At the beginning of a shift they say ‘car in service 33.’ Out of service is 37.” This past summer, Doug’s uncle discovered that the Wood County Sheriff’s Office would soon be hosting a Citizen’s Police Academy. The program is an opportunity for citizens to see first-hand what happens in the office and participate in hands-on training scenarios. Deputy Jill Holland, who runs the Academy, said Doug’s mother called and asked if her 20

Issue 5 - April 2014

son would be able to apply for the program. The deputies could not see a reason to exclude him, so he was invited to participate. On September 6, Doug and his cousin Natalie Loerna began a nine-week class with twenty-two other academy students. Topics included 9-1-1 emergency response, communications, report writing, internet safety, identity theft, and information about the detective division. Several learning experiences Doug participated in have included an in-car ride-along, practicing at the shooting range, and touring various law enforcement and judicial facilities. During target practice, with the help of a special response team officer, two of Doug’s shots hit the target dead center. Doug’s positive outlook is contagious, and motivated the other members of his class throughout the 8-week program. “When they saw Doug try things, it gave them confidence to try. It opened everyone’s eyes,” Holland said. As an active participant in the program, Doug took every opportunity to learn and apply what he knew. “I got to ride along with Deputy (Brian) Bonnough,” he recalled excitedly. “He needed to follow up on a motorcycle accident at the hospital. I can’t reveal the patient’s name... that’s confidential you know. But I can say he was ok.” The deputies have been regularly impressed by Doug’s abilities in the program. One class

was devoted to a mock trial. The case included testimony and a video clip from a dash cam. “He may be blind, but he has better vision than most of us,” said Chief Deputy Eric Reynolds. “Doug came up with the right verdict because he could sense what others were missing. He couldn’t see the video, but he listened carefully, and took in all of the testimony. Some of the students only focused on what they saw,” Reynolds said. According to Sheriff Wasylyshyn, Doug has already completed an application for the Wood County Sheriff’s Auxiliary. “Nothing is a given, but Doug wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said. “We’re looking to see how we can incorporate him into our dispatch efforts at special events like local festivals and the county fair. It’s a win-win for everyone, and we’re excited to find ways to offer him that opportunity.”

For his perseverance toward achieving his career goals in spite of his limitations, Doug Perez is being featured as a success story in this issue of DD Advocate congratulations, Doug! For more information about the many different programs offered by the Wood County Board of DD/Wood Lane, visit www.woodlane.us.

News in a Nutshell Ashland Boyd, a student at Dale Roy School, was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at both the Women’s and Men’s Ashland University basketball games in January. Unfortunately, he passed away before having his day in the spotlight, leaving all who knew him with a void in their hearts. In an effort to recognize Boyd’s talents and pay tribute to his memory, Ashland University held a tribute basketball game in his honor, at which a recording of him singing the national anthem was played. The university also presented a plaque to members of past Special Olympics teams, who were in attendance to perform at the halftime break.

Ashtabula Recently, Ashtabula DD received an overwhelming response from area businesses that wanted to participate in the board’s Business Advisory Council. Since that time, nineteen area businesses have become members of the council. The purpose of the council is to provide community employment staff members with mentors and partners in the business community who can alert the board to upcoming job opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. In addition to the advisory council, the board is looking forward to providing a Summer Youth Program later this year.

Athens Athens DD is holding its annual Disability Awareness Festival at the Athens Community Center in March, featuring presentations, exhibits and information from approximately 30 local agencies. These agencies include: day service and residential providers, health care providers, The Athens City Commission on Disabilities, self-advocacy groups, and staff/departments within Athens DD. This year’s theme, “Ability@Work,” focuses on promoting the employment abilities of people regardless of their disability. In other news, a new unique partnership


with Atco, Hocking College, and a local horse farm owner is providing therapeutic horseback riding lessons for area adults with developmental disabilities. The Atco Horsemanship Program began in 2012 and teaches people served by the board to work with and ride a horse while improving physical performance and enhancing social skills. Athens DD plans to expand the program this year to Beacon School students to begin serving children.

Auglaize Auglaize Industries, the adult workshop in Auglaize County, is in the process of constructing a bocce ball court complex at the Bremenfest Park in New Bremen. The concrete and carpeted court complex will consist of side-by-side competition size courts with benches and lighting. Both courts will include side cutouts for wheelchair accessibility. The complex is being constructed in close proximity to a large parking lot, shelter house, and accessible playground, making it an ideal location for tournament play. A fund drive to cover construction costs is currently under way.

Belmont-HarrisonNoble Alliance The three county boards in the BHN Alliance (Belmont, Harrison, and Noble) received four-year accreditation awards, plus one year each for “Areas of Excellence” from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. The accreditation review of the three boards was completed simultaneously, the first time an accreditation review of multiple boards was completed at one time by the state agency. In other news, the Harrison County Board of DD created its first-ever website that can now be accessed at www.hcbdd.org, while the Belmont County Board of DD unveiled an updated website at the beginning of the year at www.bcbdd.org.

Butler Butler DD is hosting its 20th Annual Community Recognition Dinner on April 6. Event organizers expect more than 400 people to be in attendance to honor more than 200 volunteers, businesses, and organizations that have helped people with developmental disabilities to reach their full potential.

Carroll The board recently approved an Annual Action Plan as well as a four-year Strategic Plan to put greater emphasis on community employment, self-advocacy, and the further integration of services offered by the board into community settings. One of the first elements of the board’s increased focus on community employment was the hiring of a job coach to help five people currently employed by the workshop find jobs at local employers. The Carroll Hills management team continues to look for additional ways to improve integration by reducing the number of people using the workshop and improving transitional services with local school districts. Increased community housing options are also a top priority for the board as part of their strategic plan.

Clark Clark DD is sponsoring its first-ever DD March Madness celebrity basketball game on the board’s Kenton Street campus to commemorate DD Awareness Month. Local celebrities like County Commissioner Rick Lohnes, Auditor John Federer, and Police Chief Steve Moody will be playing against the Special Olympics Tigers team. Admission is free and open to the public.

Clinton As of March 1, Orion, Inc., the non-profit component associated with Clinton County Board of DD, is a separate, private provider of services. The decision was made after much study, discussion, and planning. Orion held an open house celebration the first week of March in honor of this undertaking, as well as to celebrate Disability Awareness Month.

DD Advocate Magazine


News in a Nutshell Coshocton Coshocton DD’s workshop, Hopewell Industries, is now a private entity. This transition occurred in late 2013 without any interruption of services for individuals supported. In other news, Coshocton DD’s Hopewell School is having a Kids on the Block interactive puppet show in March to focus on promoting tolerance and understanding of peers with disabilities. These educational puppet shows are a community service that features three skits, each casting a light on three different disabilities. Last, but not least, the board recently launched a redesigned version of its website – the new version can be accessed at www.coshdd.org.

Delaware In February, Delaware DD presented eight “Lifetime of Giving” awards to honor Direct Support Professionals as well as people with disabilities who have set an example by being a role model for themselves and others. Dominick Marchio was chosen to receive the Kathy VanBuskirk Outstanding Service award, which recognizes individuals who provide outstanding care for individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition, Dawn Meigs of Delaware was awarded the Nancy Richards Self Advocate of the Year award. This award honors those who routinely advocate for themselves and for others with disabilities.

Fayette The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department has become one of the biggest supporters of the Fayette County DD Special Olympics program. The deputies, led by Sgt. Matthew Weidman, have raised funds, donated items, and helped serve at the annual spaghetti dinner. This past summer, the Sheriff’s Dept. participated in a softball game against the Special Olympics Dragons to raise money in support of the program, later holding


Issue 5 - April 2014

another softball game with the Washington Court House Police Department for the same purpose. Both events were very successful in raising much-needed funds for the program, and cemented the strong partnership between the Sheriff’s Department and the Fayette County Special Olympics Program.

Fairfield JobFusion, the employment division of Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities, recently held its grand opening event for DiscoverU at River Valley Mall. DiscoverU offers a unique opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to receive training and hands-on experience through classroom activities and internships. Grand opening attendees had the opportunity to tour the location and learn more about the innovative ways Fairfield DD is working to bring about a vibrant community where people can lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions. Many state and local leaders spoke during the grand opening, sharing their encouragements for DiscoverU to the more than 100 community members in attendance.

issues with local children. Gallia DD is also hosting an Open House to share the workshop, school, and preschool activities with members of the community, as well as showcase people served by the board who are employed in the community.

Geauga In order to better serve people who live in houses owned and operated by the board, Geauga DD is undertaking a remodeling project to deliver much-needed structural updates. These updates include the creation of single-occupancy bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and roll-in showers, as well as larger, more open social areas. One house, which has already been completed, features a centralized commercial kitchen where meals for multiple houses can be prepared at a significant cost savings. The people who live in these homes are adjusting nicely and enjoying their new amenities. Along with the renovations, the board is also in the process of transitioning its residential program from 40 participants to 25. Some residents have already moved out voluntarily and have become very happy in their community homes.

Guernsey Franklin The Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities has adopted a strategic plan for Adult Services programs in response to state and national trends, shifting enrollment, and the state’s Employment First initiative. One of the recommendations will consolidate four workshops into three over the next year. The report provides continued emphasis on community employment for individuals, while maintaining options for adults with developmental disabilities.

Gallia In recognition of DD Awareness Month, Gallia DD is hosting a luncheon for community leaders that will feature vocal performances from Guiding Hand School and Preschool students. The board will also make its yearly donation of a library book to the local elementary schools that features special activities to spread awareness of disability

Currently, 12 people served by the board have enrolled on the Self Empowered Life Funding (SELF) Waiver. The board hopes to enroll an additional six people on the waiver this year. SELF is a waiver that is completely self-directed. It provides a variety of services to individuals that help them live independent lives.

Hamilton Diana Mairose, founding member of the Hamilton County Advocacy Leadership Network, has been elected President of the Ohio Self Determination Association and Vice Chair of Advocacy United.

Hancock Improving the early diagnosis and support of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) continues to be an area of major focus for Hancock DD (Blanchard Valley Center). In the past, Hancock DD did not have the

necessary staff expertise to be able to diagnose a person with an ASD, resulting in families’ having to travel to other counties to see physicians with long waiting lists. Thanks to a partnership with Dr. Cheryl Huffman, a local pediatrician, the Autism Diagnosis Education Project (ADEP) now allows this type of service to be delivered within Hancock County. Also part of the board’s focus in the area of ASD is a new Web site – Hancock County Autism Learn and Connect (www.hcalc.org) - that was developed by University of Findlay student Micah Stevens to provide information and resources about the many programs at the local, state, and federal level that help families who have loved ones with ASD.

Hardin The Hardin Pioneer Aktion Club was named the 2013 winner of the Community Service Award at the annual meeting of the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance. When initially chartered in 2010, the Hardin Pioneer Aktion Club had 13 members. Since that time, the group has expanded in size, enthusiasm, and effectiveness. The club now has 25 members who are all unified in their efforts to serve the Hardin County community. Their passion for service to others is unmistakable in their astounding 38 service projects completed in 2013.

Henry To kick off Henry County DD’s celebration of March as DD Awareness Month, HOPE Services held their 2nd Annual Soup Challenge on March 3. The board invited residential and day habilitation service providers to make their best soup recipe and bring it to the event. This year, 11 agencies signed up for the challenge, where two awards were up for grabs. Celebrity judges selected the Grand Champion and participants voted for the “People’s Choice Award.” Many bowls of soup and a great deal of fun were had, with all donations benefiting a fund to help four Special

Olympians from Henry County travel to and compete at the USA National Games.

Highland Up & Beyond Art Studio, associated with Highco Industries in Hillsboro, was created last year to offer a creative space for artists with disabilities to draw, paint, create, and generate a new stream of personal income. The studio is based on the concepts introduced by Patty Mitchell and Robert Lockheed of Collaborative Art International (www.collaborativeartinternational.com). Many people have discovered “hidden talents” that hereto had not been uncovered. You can visit the Art Studio weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 8919 U.S. 50 East, Hillsboro, OH 45133.

Hocking The Hocking Chiefs basketball team had the opportunity to play the Perry DD basketball team during halftime of a recent Ohio University Bobcats game. The Chiefs came out on top 4-0. Also, staff held a retirement party in February for Dennis Hoffer, the board’s Vocational Program Coordinator. Dennis was with the Board for ten years, playing a vital role in day-to-day operations as well as the ongoing renovations of the Hocking Valley

Industries building. Dennis brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to his roles as Production, Transportation and Maintenance Manager. Dennis also always volunteered to help with Special Olympics activities, which he plans to continue now that he has retired.

Holmes Self-advocates met with the Holmes County Commissioners for approval of a DD Awareness Proclamation celebrating this year’s theme, “Ability@Work,” on March 3. A community luncheon was on March 7, and the community All-Star game was held at West Holmes High School on March 20. Other activities included talent shows, a carnival, therapy dog visits, visits from high school students, Amish school tours of the Training Center, a talk by Sue Thomas (FBEye) and a “talker” presentation at a local elementary school. In other news, Christine Brown helped local self-advocates meet with State Representative Dave Hall (pictured below). In May, the board will hold its 38th Annual Spring Festival on May 9-10 to support services for people with disabilities and their families.

Huron Four artists from Artist’s Open Studio will have their work displayed in a statewide traveling exhibit – “Accessible Expressions Ohio.” The artists and their work are: Stacey Bartlett, “Faceless Woman” (acrylic painting); Tracey Bartlett, “Sydney Skyline” (pastels); James O’Dor, “Little Puffin” (ceramic); and Tony Ringholz, “Jenny Lake” (oil painting). The traveling exhibit is sponsored by VSA Ohio, a statewide organization focusing on arts and disability. The Huron County entries are part of a 75-piece exhibit of two- and three-dimensional art created by people with developmental disabilities across the state.

Knox The Knox County Board of DD has received a rare “no citation” four-year accreditation as well as a one-year “Areas of Excellence” award from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Knox DD also received the “Partnership For Excellence DD Advocate Magazine


News in a Nutshell Spirit Award” for its commitment to a quality journey through application of the Baldrige Criteria for Excellence. In other news, Knox DD is holding its 7th Annual Celebrity Omelet and Pancake Dinner in March. This very popular event provides community leaders the opportunity to literally serve the public through creation of omelets and pancakes to order. It also provides a valuable chance for the community to spend time getting to know people with disabilities served by the board. The event, which continues to grow every year, will raise funds to benefit three local self-advocacy groups: People First, Aktion Club, and ICAN2.

Lake Lake DD (Deepwood) is holding a series of events to celebrate DD Awareness Month. The very popular Deepwood Idol program returns, in which 12 acts sing, dance, and perform stand-up comedy on the big stage in the hope of winning prizes awarded by celebrity judges. As part of the normal program, each “Idol” is treated to limousine rides, professional hair and make-up sessions, and lunch prior to the big show. Also returning is the Broadmoor Bobcats versus Area Coaches basketball game, in which local coaches team up to compete against the Bobcats in front of a large community audience with all fund-raising proceeds benefiting Broadmoor school. Last but not least, the board is holding a Skype session with an entrepreneur with Down syndrome as well as a panel of people with disabilities and employers who will talk about the importance of community employment.

Licking In Licking County, families with children who reach age three and are eligible for board services will soon be able to continue to receive in-home intervention services provided by an early childhood developmental specialist. Through a new service offered by Licking DD, this specialist will visit the child/family approximately once a month and provide services through a simple plan developed with family members as partners. These plans will take into account the child’s developmental needs and the family’s concerns and priorities. For more information, contact Judy Buehler, Director of Early Childhood Services for Licking DD at 740-322-6915 or judy.buehler@lcountydd.org.

Logan A new “community first” policy put in place late last year at Logan DD is helping to direct upcoming goals and activities this year for the agency. The policy builds on the board’s existing employment program by partnering with local businesses, churches, and recreational facilities to create a more integrated environment for the people served by the board. Another group within the agency that is working toward a community-centered focus is the new self-advocacy council called SAFE, an acronym for Self Advocacy for Everyone. SAFE was formed after five people served by the board attended a Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility (Project S.T.I.R.) training last year.

Lawrence County Board of DD is holding its 15th Annual Chili Fest and Craft Show for DD Awareness Month in Coal Grove. Winners of the contest will be featured here in the next issue of DD Advocate. 24

Issue 5 - April 2014

Lucas Ohio Department of DD Director John Martin has recognized Lucas County as a leader among urban districts in community-based employment. The Director made that comment during a news conference to identify Lucas County as one of seven counties that will work with the state in putting a model together for enhancing community employment opportunities. Lucas County will receive a collaboration grant as part of the Employment First Initiative. In other board news, the recipient of the annual Spirit Award is Carlene Defalco, the parent of a daughter with Down syndrome who has spent a lifetime in volunteer activities with Special Olympics, the Arc, and the Lott Industries Parent Group. The Lucas County Board of DD created this award in 2007 to acknowledge individuals who are devoted to helping make the lives of people with developmental disabilities more fulfilling and productive.




his/her employer. So far, five employers have been showcased along with eight of their employees.

One of the ways the Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD) is promoting the hiring of people with disabilities is through the use of messaging on bus benches located throughout the community. Contact information for Lorain DD’s Community Employment Department is on 27 bus benches throughout the county; each of these benches also features an person with developmental disabilities and

The Madison County Board of DD has a new columnist for its monthly newsletter, The Madison Express. Mike Ellis, president of the Madison DD self-advocacy group Madison Advocates for Progress (MAP) will write columns discussing individual rights under state law and the impact those rights have had on his life. In addition to his writing duties, Mike also applied for and was successfully hired as the Production Coordinator for Tourism at MATCO Services in London. Mike says the reason he wanted to take the position was to show other people served by the board that hard work and training make any job possible.

Mahoning Susan Cramer is on a mission to help people one penny at a time. Sue, a program enrollee at the Mahoning DD’s Meshel MASCO day program, has been collecting pennies from family members, co-workers, social clubs, and complete strangers to donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Each year, Meshel MASCO teams up with WQXK’s Hometown Morning Show radio hosts Doug James and Mary Ann Graff to collect money during the “Quest for a Million Pennies” Radio-thon. With the help of the Youngstown Vindicator, and the support of family and friends, Susan has collected over $650.00 in pennies. A recent newspaper article caught the attention of a local book club that started collecting pennies for Sue. Helping people one penny at a time is Sue’s way of giving back to the community that has so strongly supported Mahoning DD’s programs.

school to work is community employment and the accessing of services outside of a segregated environment.


to discuss their job responsibilities and the skills needed to do their job. Career Wise is offered twice a month for program participants interested in learning about the variety of occupations in the world of work. In other news, the University of Dayton Lady Flyers opened their doors to people with developmental disabilities in January for their tenth annual shoot-around. Over 200 people came to learn some new moves from the very talented Lady Flyers, who invited all participants to their next regularly scheduled game the following evening.


Mercer Mercer DD has received a five-year accreditation from the Ohio Department of DD. This is their second consecutive five-year award. The board is also beginning to train its entire Adult Services staff in the “Do the Right Thing” intervention program.

Miami The Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities is now participating in the Autism Diagnostic Education Project (ADEP). The ADEP team has partnered with a physician in Miami County who has been trained on the medical component of an autism evaluation. The ADEP is a partnership between the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) and Akron Children’s Hospital/Family Child Learning Center. The project aims to correctly identify the early signs of autism and aid in early intervention.

Montgomery The Liberty Adult Services Center of the Montgomery County Board of DDS has started a new guest speaker series called “Career Wise.” Guest speakers are invited

Every day after school you’ll find freshman team manager Jonas Hetrick preparing the court for the Oak Harbor High School Girls Varsity Basketball team. Their coach, Tom Kontak, relayed that Jonas takes his job as manager very serious. Jonas has Asperger’s syndrome (AS) and receives services through the Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Although people with AS can frequently find social situations to be very difficult, Jonas proves there is an exception to every rule - he’s popular in school, likes sports, and plays the baritone in the band.

Morgan People served at Mary Hammond Training Center are excited about the new thrift store and snack shop ventures they are planning to open in April. The snack shop will offer daily lunches and snacks, coffee, and other beverages. People who attend Mary Hammond on a daily basis will have the opportunity to learn transferable employment skills that could someday transition to a more independent community employment setting. The new program will also employ others in the community who are not eligible for services, thereby increasing our integration efforts. The board’s ultimate goal for adults and students transitioning from

The Perry County Board of DD recently hosted its first-ever “Together WE Can” Appreciation Event, where more more than 150 attendees (including government officials, business leaders, community partners, and families served) honored five individuals for their outstanding dedication and involvement with the board. “Together WE Can” was established to recognize those individuals, businesses, and organizations that promote the concept of community inclusion of people with developmental disabilities. The event is intended to become an annual activity.

Pickaway Five Pickaway DD enrollees were recently hired at Scioto Downs Racino, located just north of Pickaway County, following a mini job fair for interested county board participants that was hosted by the gaming company. From a competitive pool of applicants, the racino chose who they felt would best meet their needs. All jobs that have been offered are full-time positions, complete with health care, fringe benefits, and paid time off.

DD Advocate Magazine


News in a Nutshell Preble


The Preble County Cougars are looking to make it two in a row over a team of local celebrities at the 2nd Annual Preble County Big Dance. The Cougars won big in last year’s first-ever basketball game over the Generals – a team that features local law enforcement officers, government officials, and local business leaders. The game was held in conjunction with the kickoff of DD Awareness Month, with all proceeds supporting Preble County Special Olympics.

In support of DD Awareness Month, the Pioneer Center is launching an art program with the help of local businesses and the Pump House Art Gallery. Art created by students at the Pioneer School will be on display at the Pump House Art Gallery in Chillicothe from March 6 – 22, and will be sold at a silent auction at our 10th Annual DD Awareness Awards Banquet. Picture This - Custom Framing has given an in-kind donation to help with framing, while BBB Music is supplying the board with musical instruments for the evening’s entertainment. All proceeds from art sales will go toward purchasing art supplies in order to expand the program’s footprint on the community. In addition, a Provider Fair, Spa Day, and several student-oriented events will be held for people served by the board. To cap things off, students, staff, and partner agencies will be distributing pinwheel bouquets to nearly 100 organizations around Ross County.

Putnam In May, Putnam DD is on the ballot requesting an additional 1.6-mill levy for a ten-year period. The need for a new levy is driven by a number of factors including the board’s increase in residential support options along with a renewed emphasis of community employment. In order to provide the necessary supports to sustain a person served in a job that best fits their needs, additional resources are necessary.

Richland People served by Richland Newhope now have the opportunity to gain on-the-job experience in a food service setting. On January 28, the City Garden Café opened at the Mansfield Municipal Building. The café is operated by Richland Newhope Industries, Inc. (RNI) in partnership with the city of Mansfield. It’s open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. serving breakfast and lunch items, including specialty sandwiches, salads, soups, and gourmet coffee. The café employs 12 people, including a full-time manager. RNI is also operating a kiosk serving a limited menu and stocks vending machines in the building.


Issue 5 - April 2014

Seneca The Seneca County Board of Developmental Disabilities has entered into a partnership with Tiffin Mercy Hospital to take over the operations of their Bistro Café. The café offers a large variety of coffee and other hot drinks, as well as cold and hot sandwich options to hospital patients, visitors, and staff. This venture will provide an opportunity for individuals to work in a food service setting while interacting with people in the community.

of its support from a local chapter of the United Way. Recently, the employees of the WVCLC held a quarter auction to help raise operating funds for the board, resulting in a very well-attended community event that was successful in aiding the center’s cause.

Stark Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities has received a three year CARF accreditation in the areas of Child and Youth Services; Community Employment Services: Employment Supports; Community Employment Services: Job Development; Organizational Employment Services; Services Coordination; and Governance Standards Applied. In addition, Stark County was recently one of six pilot projects selected for a Local Leaders Implementation Program under the Employment First Initiative signed by Gov. Kasich in 2012. In other employment-related news, Stark DD job coaches Peggy Leitzel and Jim Keller became Certified Employment Support Professionals through a process offered by the Association of People Supporting Employment (APSE). Leitzel and Keller also completed “Proctor Training,” enabling Stark DD to be the very first testing site in Northeast Ohio for APSE’s training model.

Tuscarawas Shelby In 1992, Shelby DD asked families of children with disabilities what services they needed. Parents responded that they needed childcare for their children so that mothers and fathers could go to work each day knowing their kids were receiving quality care. Shelby DD said by helping to create the Wilma Valentine Creative Learning Center (WVCLC), which, 21 years later, is still operating today. While the center has benefited from many in-kind donations from the board over the years, it remains a non-profit agency with its own Board of Directors that receives a substantial portion

The Tuscarawas County Board of DD recently welcomed a newly formed self-advocacy group called “The All Star Advocates.” The group consists of people with a variety of abilities that formed to empower themselves and others to become more independent and stay involved in the community. They receive supports from a number of residential and day providers. All Star Advocates will be hosting their first multi-county self-advocacy meeting in March, which will feature self advocates from Seneca County speaking on the topics of community employment and “knowing yourself.” For more information about these activities, contact Self Advocacy Coordinator Briana Glasgow at 330-432-7880.

Union Congratulations to Alan Mayberry, who graduated from Columbus State Community College this past December with an associate’s degree in Accounting. Alan is served through WorkNet, the community employment division of the Union County Board of DD. Currently, Alan works part-time as a Deputy Auditor in the Accounts Payable division of the Union County Auditor’s office. Alan is planning on working towards his certification in internal auditing during the next 18 months. His dream is to someday work full-time for the Union County Auditor’s office and knows college will certainly help him achieve his goal. In other news, Superintendent Kim Miller resigned his position at the Union County Board of DD after seven years of service to take a position with the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency (OOD). Kara Brown shall serve as Interim Superintendent until a permanent replacement has been named.

and future goals of the. Members of Voices Speaking Out also attended the DD Awareness and Advocacy Day at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, as well as the People First of Ohio conference in Wilmington.

Wayne Mario Ray is a young man who was one of the first to attend the Wayne DD’s career tech training program. Within two months of learning and fine-tuning his skills, he found a position with Uncle Mike’s Beef Jerky in Wooster, where he assists their staff with a variety of tasks for a full forty-hour week. Mario’s favorite task is placing the meat on trays before it is cooked and dehydrated. He picked up the job very quickly and was warmly welcomed by his peers and bosses. They are a tremendous natural support for Mario that contributes to his ongoing success. Most recently, Mario won first place at the “Meat Olympics” – a sure sign of career success in the field if there ever was one.

Williams Warren Warren DD recently held an Open House for the public to learn more about Voices Speaking Out – the board’s self-advocacy group. VSO gave a presentation on the history of self-advocacy and the impact it had made on the developmental disabilities field during the event, as well as discussed steps they are taking toward independence


Last year, the Williams County Board of DD launched a community employment program as part of its overall strategy to continue the evolution of employment options available to people served. The board is currently looking to fill 15 community employment placements through a partnership with the Department of DD and the state’s Employment First program. Currently, three program participants have entered the job development phase and five more are slated for job development in the near future. In addition to its partnership with the state, the board is currently exploring multi-agency and business collaborations to support people entering community employment positions. Feedback from local leaders and program participants has been above and beyond expectations.

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DD Advocate Magazine


Words of Wisdom Dr. Terry Ryan retired last y ear after serving

Dr. Terry Ryan

for more than a decade as superintendent of the Cuyahoga County Boar d of DD . Dr. Ryan recently became a consultant at O ACB, where he will assist in the

Association’s strategic

direction on issues r elated to Olmstead and integrated service provision. We asked Dr. Ryan to share his views on life, leadership, and lessons learned - ten of his answers appear below without their prompts as advice for future leaders in this issue’s Words of Wisdom profile.


Our work is serious. Humor needs to be used strategically.

Sometimes “no” is the right call. You just have to put your ego aside, listen, and regroup. In 20 years, Ohio will still be the best a t serving our population, but our r ole as service provider will be significantly diminished.



Issue 5 - April 2014

You are not always the toughest guy in town. We are not the only service agency available to provide services and supports to people with developmental disabilities.

It is much easier to deal with life as an optimist. EACH LIFE HAS MEANING. THERE IS POTENTIAL IN EVERY PERSON.

I like who I am and would not want to change my personality. Changing my personality would change me.

DD Advocate Magazine



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

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

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