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For many of us in the disability community, every day is awareness day. But every March we try to spend a little extra time advocating and spreading awareness in the spirit of National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Each March we select a theme to guide our efforts for the month and this year our theme is #universALL. We are striving for a universe where all people can thrive.
At the beginning of 2021, DCBDD hosted a community-wide logo contest to determine the logo that will be used alongside our #universALL theme. The winner of this year’s contest is a family member of someone we serve. Her inspiration for #universALL stems from a few different areas…
According to the artist, “The Earth is meant to represent everyone around the world.The hands circling the Earth are again meant to be inclusive of ALL people. Disabilities can be seen in all shapes, sizes and colors of people. The different colors of the hands are just a small representation of the many different disabilities that can be found universally. For example, the yellow and blue might represent Down syndrome, or the yellow/gold might stand for hearing disabilities or Spina Bifida. The purple could represent Epilepsy or ADHD and the blue shade might represent Reye’s Syndrome or Fragile X. This is just a sample of disabilities represented by many different colors. Finally, while disabilities can affect anyone, the love that connects us all is universALL.”
We hope you are as inspired as we were by this artist’s depiction of #universALL. DCBDD has several different initiatives and events planned throughout the month. Take a look at the list below! We hope you will join us for some or all of them!
And of course, we want to see you using the hashtag #universALL all month long on social media!
Happy Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! How will you be celebrating?
2021 DD Awareness Month Initiatives
- March 10, 2021 – ADA Basics Webinar with the Great Lakes ADA Center
- March 17, 2021 – Zappos Adaptive Webinar with Zappos Employee
- March 31, 2021 – ASL Basics Webinar with EI Supervisor Zakiah Wilcox
Month Long Initiatives
- New banners in Downtown Delaware – If you’re taking a stroll down Sandusky Street don’t forget to take a selfie with one of our banners and use the hashtags #DDAwarenessMonth and #universALL!
- Downloadable Video Background – In this virtual world we find ourselves in, consider using our themed background for your next video call.
- #universALL Stickers and Sanitizers – Be sure to stop in at one of these participating businesses to support their business and pick up a sticker or hand sanitizer with our new #universALL logo!
- Nocterra Brewing Co., Ill Mannered Brewing Company, Long Branch Pizza, Surve, District 13, The Coffee Vault, CrossFit Delaware, Fit Fresh Fast, Coffeeology, Oak & Brazen, J. Gumbos, Wornstaff Memorial Community Library, Honey & Abernathy, Shorty’s Pizza.
- Use Our Social Profile Frame – Visit our Facebook page and select our temporary profile frame for your profile photo. You will help raise awareness all month long!
- Follow Us on Social Media – Follow us on social media to see features of inclusive places in Delaware and 2021 Lifetime of Giving recipients.
Payton is a vibrant senior at Olentangy High School. Amidst all of the craziness of the pandemic, Payton experienced a night like no other when she was crowned homecoming queen during a Friday night football game. Payton described her feelings that night as both happy and a little nervous. Dressed in a beautiful fall dress and her snazzy brown boots, Payton was crowned queen with a silky sash and a blue crystal crown. She was living a real life fairytale.
“It was a proud moment for my husband and me,” shared Payton’s mom, Patty. “We love and appreciate the fact that the Olentangy students have always accepted and embraced her because Payton loves them. The moment we learned that the students chose Payton, it was quite emotional. The Olentangy staff and community have always been so kind and supportive. It was truly the crowning moment of all 12 years.”
Along with the title queen, Payton is so many other things. She is an active participant in Buddy Up tennis, dance, Young Life, and choir. People who know Payton describe her as friendly, humble, and kind. If you spend any length of time with Payton you will be smiling from her infectious personality. It’s not hard to see why her peers voted her queen.
When Payton graduates, she will spend a few years in the Olentangy Act program. After that, Payton plans to be a successful business woman who runs her own business.
We closed the interview with a few inspiring words from Payton. “Be brave and kind. I’ll always be a Brave.”
We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for you Payton!
DCBDD has nearly completed the first year of the the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. Within this plan, DCBDD is focusing on three core goals and their corresponding objectives. The three goals are:
- Maximize opportunities for independence and inclusion throughout a person’s life span.
- Foster a person-centered culture internally and externally to promote excellence.
- Advocate for developmental disabilities initiatives to enhance the lives of all people.
Despite spending much of year one in a global pandemic, DCBDD is very proud of the work that was accomplished in this first year. To review our 2020 Progress Report, please click here. After you review, please click here to complete our brief three-question survey to offer your feedback. The survey will remain open until January 31, 2021.
DCBDD is now accepting Requests of Interest (ROI) for Core Team therapists. Please click here to download a copy of the ROI and Questionnaire.
All ROI responses must be submitted to Tina.Overturf@dcbdd.org via email by Monday, August 10, 2020 at close of business.
Early Intervention and Service and Support Administration have joined forces to create a single department of Programs and Services. The combining of these two departments will provide added benefits to both the people we support and our employees. “A single department provides smoother transitions throughout the lifespan of the people we serve, provides consistency in the quality of services people receive, and increases the knowledge of and access to community resources for the people we support,” explained Superintendent Kristine Hodge.
Leading this department are two familiar faces. Tina Overturf, former Director of Early Intervention, will serve as the Director of Programs and Services. Cheryl Smart, former Director of Service and Support Administration, will serve as the Assistant Director of Programs and Services.
“Throughout my experiences with the county board system, I have come to understand the importance of continuity across all age ranges,” shared Tina. “I look forward to aligning the Early intervention Department and the SSA Department to capitalize on the strengths of each department for the benefit of the people we serve.”
Tina and Cheryl passionately believe in serving others. “I believe in people,” said Cheryl. “We are all humans with talents, imperfections, valued relationships, skills yet to be developed with contributions to make. This agency believes in that and more importantly, DCBDD actively supports everyone’s right and responsibility to lead a fulfilling life of their choice.”
Together, this compassionate duo will transform our Programs and Services Department. “I truly believe that we have the ability to positively impact the people we serve and our community through inclusion and empowerment,” shared Tina. “Our work is to listen and support the connections from each individual we serve to their family, friends, work and community.”
Get to know our two fearless leaders by reading their bios below. We are confident that Tina and Cheryl will continue to move our agency forward and enhance the services our community has come to know and expect.
Get to know our directors!
Meet Tina Overturf, Director of Programs and Services
Tina has been working in the County Board system for 17 years. For the last 12 years, Tina experiences have been focused on Early Intervention. While her most recent experience is in leading our Early Intervention Department, she also has experience in Service and Support Administration, adult services, job coaching, school age services and preschool services. Tina received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Walsh University and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Kent State University.
Tina loves to spend time with her husband and two daughters. Her hobbies are reading and connecting with family and friends. She loves to cook and listen to music (There is always a dance party going on at the Overturf house!).
Meet Cheryl Smart, Assistant Director of Programs and Services
Cheryl began her work in this disability field volunteering in high school with the Summit County Board of DD with their children’s program. In 1986, she became an Independent Living direct support professional (DSP) for a residential agency in Akron, Ohio. While there, she also worked as a support coordinator and home manager for people with disabilities. In 1989, she began working with Goodwill Industries as an employment specialist while attending Kent State University for her Master’s Degree in education and rehabilitation counseling. Cheryl’s work in rehabilitation counseling brought her to the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 1993 for a semester internship. That semester internship has blossomed into a nearly 30 year career of excellent support to people in Delaware County.
Chery is married and has a step daughter, son in law and an amazing grandson. She is a self-proclaimed homebody, enjoys gardening, exploring local and state parks, and traveling with her family and friends.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all finding ourselves in a “new normal.” We first published this blog post with a list of virtual resources for school-age children. We’ve updated this post to also include resources for adults! We hope you’re all staying healthy during this time.
School-Age Virtual Resources
For parents of children who are now learning from home, we have developed a list of virtual resources to assist you. Click here for the list of 100+ resources for online learning, free subscriptions, and activities to do at home!
Adult Virtual Resources
We know that adults are going just as stir crazy as the kids. Click here for a list of resources for virtual tours of museums across the world, free fitness options, and online learning!
Sometimes when we talk about inclusion, we’re really talking about integration. So what’s the difference and does it really matter? The answer is YES.
Integration, according to Dictionary.com, means the “intermixing of people or groups previously segregated.” In other words, I’m here and ready to mingle! But that doesn’t mean I’m involved or accepted into the fold. I simply just exist among others. It’s like showing up to a Spice Girls’ concert wearing a Dave Matthews Band t-shirt… I’m here, among music loving people but clearly do not belong to this herd.
Inclusion on the other hand is being a part of something larger. It’s belonging to a community built on true connection to others. Communities like family at the annual reunion who always includes Aunt Betty. You know the aunt with bad breathe, terrible lipstick and hugs everyone a little too hard? Yeah, Aunt Betty definitely brings something different to the table but the family accepts her because well, she’s family and she belongs. You get the idea.
So when we talk about people with disabilities being integrated (among) or included (belonging) does it really matter? YES! Psychology Today writes in their post The Health Benefits of Finding Your Tribe (September 11, 2012), that “Not only is it human nature to crave intimacy and belonging, it’s also essential preventative medicine.” True inclusion increases health, self-worth, lifts depression and gives people a sense of community and protection. So as you head out this March, be purposeful in the way you bring awareness. Be sure to help Delaware County grow a culture of inclusion by making all people a part of a something bigger, a community that cares for one another. Because in Delaware County, #AllMeansAll.
Each March, organizations around the country celebrate National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (NDDAM). This month is a time for us to rally together in the spirit of awareness for people with disabilities. This March, DCBDD is participating in or hosting a variety of events to spread the purpose of NDDAM throughout Delaware County. Below is a listing of the events we will be supporting throughout the month. Whether you join us for one or all of them, we appreciate your dedication to spreading the word!
2020 NDDAM Events
- March 2, 2020 – Go Blue for Acceptance and Awareness
- Employees and community members will be encouraged to sport their blue attire to kick off NDDAM. Post a picture of yourself on social media wearing your blue attire and use the hashtag #AllMeansAll
- March 13, 2020 – Annual Provider Meeting, Merrick Hall, Ohio Wesleyan
- March 16, 2020 – Intro to 3D Printing, The Maker Annex
- Learn the basics of 3D design and find out how 3D printing can be used to solve accessibility challenges!
- Click here to learn more or to register.
- March 19, 2020 – Lifetime of Giving, Scioto Reserve Country Club
- March 20, 2020 – John’s Crazy Sock Day
- Technically, the official day for this event is Saturday, March 21st. In the interest of getting more people involved and increasing awareness, we will celebrate this day before on March 20.
- Participants will sport their craziest, wild, out-of-the box socks to spur conversations about acceptance and inclusion.
- Take a picture of your crazy socks and post a picture on social media and use the hashtag #AllMeansAll.
- March 26, 2020 – Public Safety Day, Mingo Park
For questions about the events please contact Anne Flanery at email@example.com.
On January 13, 2020, the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DCBDD) will be auctioning our agency-owned vans through the internet auction site Govdeals.com. The following vans will be auctioned off via the site:
- 2011 Dodge Braun with Manual Lift Van listed at 65,109 miles
- 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan listed at 15,337 miles
The vans will be auctioned as-is and DCBDD makes no warranties or guarantees. All purchases are final. Purchases must be within the time-frames outlined on the internet auction.
Should you be interested in the vans, you will be able to access the auction through the website Govdeals.com. An account will need to be created to participate in the bidding.
Please do not contact DCBDD directly with any inquiries regarding purchasing the vehicles. DCBDD will be accepting inquires and bids through Govdeals.com only.
DCBDD has nearly completed the third and final year of the 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. Within this plan, DCBDD focused on six core goals:
- Goal One: Strengthen community inclusion opportunities, supports, and successes
- Goal Two: Increase community employment success
- Goal Three: Educate and support individuals and family members
- Goal Four: Strengthen providers’ ability to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities
- Goal Five: Strengthen person-centered thinking throughout the agency
- Goal Six: Continuously improve internal operations
DCBDD is proud of the many achievements that were accomplished through the work of this three-year plan. To review our 2019 Progress Report, please click here. After you review, please click here to complete our brief 3-question survey to offer your feedback.
We had a great time catching up with Jeremy the other day! Jeremy is one active guy and participates in five different sports throughout the year. Jeremy is a member of the Delaware County Special Olympics golf, powerlifting, and bowling teams. He recently reached a personal best for deadlifting 240 pounds and for bench pressing 160 pounds! Over the summer, Jeremy took first place in his bowling tournament and placed second in his first golf tournament. In addition to his involvement with Special Olympics, Jeremy stays busy with Ohio Wesleyan’s inclusive exercise program and the Miracle League’s baseball team.
When he’s not participating in sports, Jeremy can be found cheering on his favorite professional teams the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals, and The Ohio State University. When those teams aren’t performing to his standards, Jeremy has been known to be an occasional Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns fan. Perhaps one of Jeremy’s greatest moments was meeting Hall of Fame, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jack Billingham and receiving an autographed game day bobblehead.
There’s much more to Jeremy than just sports. Jeremy has built quite the fan base at the Kroger where he has worked as a curtesy clerk for the last eight years. Jeremy has several customers who come to Kroger to see him specifically. His employer loves when Jeremy is working on Ohio State Football Saturdays because he gets customers involved in the O-H-I-O cheer all day long. We asked Jeremy how long he would like to work at Kroger and he said, “Fifty-nine years!” We think that’s a great goal.
Jeremy and Kroger have been a great employment match to say the least. We asked Jeremy how he got his job at Kroger and his mom had to giggle. “He wasn’t even trying to get a job,” she said. “We were checking out our groceries and the clerk told Jeremy he should work at Kroger. By the time I had finished paying, Jeremy had completed the application and gotten himself a job!” Eight years later, Jeremy is still working there!
When Jeremy isn’t working or playing sports, he enjoys watching old TV shows like Family Matters and the Cosby Show. He also has a love for music. His favorite singer is Bruce Springsteen and he hopes someday the two will get to meet.
Jeremy is living his best life and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
After bringing home two gold medals and one silver medal from the 2019 Special Olympic Summer Games, Zach’s medal count has reached an impressive 70 medals! Zach has been competing since 6th grade and has become quite the athlete. His favorite sports to participate in are swimming, basketball and track and field.
At the end of the school year, Zach graduated from the ACT Program at Olentangy. Throughout the program he gained employment experience at Panera Bread Co. and We Rock the Spectrum. After working with Zach through the ACT Program, both companies hired Zach to work for them. Zach was the first student from the ACT Program to be hired to work at the Lewis Center Panera. While Zach enjoyed his job at Panera very much, Zach chose to allow more time for college and work solely for We Rock the Spectrum.
Since graduation, Zach has enrolled in Columbus State to pursue a degree in Early Childhood. After meeting with Zach, it is clear he has a true passion for working with children. We asked Zack how he helps children at work and he said, “When a kid is having a difficult time I take them to the calming room.” Zach went on to explain how he takes time to understand what the child needs and how he can help them feel better. Zach is known to many of the children at We Rock the Spectrum as “the funny man.” If you’ve ever met Zach, you’d know why. He has an infectious smile and exudes happiness. Zach is a compassionate teacher that any student would be lucky to have.
Outside of his work and school, Zach enjoys watching movies, reading comics, traveling and playing video games with his friends. He loves learning about historical events and visiting different battle fields. His ability to rattle off movie trivia and historical facts is remarkable. We asked Zach’s mom what she would like people to know about him and she said, “That he is smart, hardworking, friendly, and has a great sense of humor.” We couldn’t agree more! We know Zach is destined for great things and we look forward to seeing where he goes next!
Passionate, adventurous, and determined are just a few of the words we would use to describe John. After 25 years of service, John retired from his beloved job at Orton Ceramic in 2015 after being diagnosed with cancer. Loving his job and the people he worked with, John had hoped to work for 30 years. While his cancer diagnosis interfered with this plan, John remains connected with his former coworkers and has not let his diagnosis keep him from living his best life.
John’s life is impressively busy. Passionate about volunteering, John works at Big Walnut’s Friends Who Share every Monday morning sorting clothes for people and families in need. His commitment to service doesn’t end there. John is also an active member of his church, St. John Neumann, sings in the choir, and is a Fourth Degree Knight of the Knights of Columbus.
In addition to volunteering, John stays active through various hobbies. John is a very talented woodworker and has created many pieces of furniture for his home. He is also quite skilled at model trains and was proud to show us his latest additions to his train sets. John also loves to travel. Whenever he crosses into a new state, he likes to film himself walking over the state line. The story of John would not be complete if we didn’t convey his passion for Ohio State. John enjoys cheering on the buckeyes and even has in own cheerleading uniform to share his spirit. He hopes that someday he can meet head coach Ryan Day.
John’s positive nature is enjoyed by everyone who interacts with him. His smile is contagious and spreads joy wherever he goes. We continued to be amazed by all that John is able to fit into a week and we can’t wait to see where he travels to next!
Due to a power outage, DCBDD will be closed today, July 3, 2019. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Helpline at 740-369-3316.
Please note that our request for proposals for strategic planning facilitation released on April 24, 2019 incorrectly listed two submission deadlines. Interested parties should submit their proposals no later than May 8, 2019. Our apologies for the miscommunication. Please click here to review the complete RFP.
Meet Bonnie and Tony. This dynamic duo has been successfully working together for over 30 years. Bonnie has been part of Tony’s life in different ways and currently supports him as his provider. During a time when Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are in high demand, it is rare to hear of a provider being with one person for such a long period of time. So what has kept these two together for so long? Bonnie said it’s because, “he accepts me and I accept him. The good days outweigh the bad for both of us.”
It’s hard to miss the sparkle in Bonnie’s eyes as she talks about her relationship with Tony. “My kids have grown up with him, he knows my animals and I can tell he likes to be with me,” Bonnie shared. When talking about what Bonnie and Tony enjoy doing, it is clear that Bonnie knows everything Tony likes and dislikes. Bonnie knows what Tony needs to have a good day and just what to do when challenges appear.
Marty, Tony’s mom, shared that Tony would never be where he is today without the support of his two dedicated providers Bonnie and Kathy. “If you know Tony, we have been good advocates for him,” explained Bonnie. Tony has been living in his own apartment for eight years, something his mom never thought would have been possible. “We were concerned about how [Tony] would do living on his own, but he did just fine,” Bonnie proudly exclaimed.
“People forget about their own lives when they have a child with a disability,” shared Marty. “It’s important to keep your interests and be your child’s advocate. Finding a balance is the key.” Bonnie commended Marty for the job she and her husband have done in supporting Tony in his transition to adulthood.
We asked Bonnie what advice she would offer to people interested in becoming a DSP and she said, “You must have a lot of respect for the people you work with.” Tony and Bonnie’s mutual respect for one another is definitely a key contributing factor in their longtime relationship.
Tony is fortunate to have such wonderful support in his life. But more importantly, many others are fortunate to have Tony as a part of their lives.
The Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DCBDD) is requesting proposals for strategic planning facilitation services to guide the development and implementation of our next three year plan. The purpose of this three year plan is to enhance the services and support we provide to our community.
Interested parties are asked to submit their detailed proposal to Superintendent Kristine Hodge at Kristine.Hodge@dcbdd.org. Proposals must include a timeline for scope of work, cost projection, past strategic planning experience, and references. Please submit your letter of interest and proposal no later than Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
To read the full RFP, please click here.
Ben is a charming, sweet, 19 month old and recently graduated from our Early Intervention program. Ben loves swimming, playing with his older brother, and reading books. At two months old, Ben’s parents were referred by their doctor to DCBDD to receive services through Early Intervention. “When you hear developmental disability, your brain immediately goes to the dark side,” shared Ben’s mom, Maura. As scary and overwhelming as this news was, Ben’s family was immediately surrounded by support.
When Maura met Ben’s DCBDD Service Coordinator she said she immediately felt like family. She walked them through the process of navigating the system and accessing the support Ben needed. We asked Maura what advice she would give other parents and she said, “You’re building your toolkit. Put your trust in the team, they know what is best.”
Supporting Ben in his goal to learn to walk was a true team effort. Ben’s older brother Patrick enjoyed helping Ben with his strength exercises. Patrick would places stickers on Ben’s toes to encourage him to reach his toes. Now, Ben is so mobile it is hard to keep up with him!
Maura and her husband felt very supported by their Early Intervention team. “They helped us find tools and solutions,” said Maura. “They helped us find a helmet for Ben and really expanded our knowledge base of available resources.” Maura felt like the tools they received were practical and easy to work into their everyday routine.
“He has more independence. We are grateful for all the possibilities out there for him now,” shared Maura.
We are so proud of you, Ben! Keep up the great work!
Last year during the holidays, the Glenross community organized a spectacular light show. Over 130 homes participated in this synchronized display of holiday lights. According to NBC4i, “the display took more than 500 hours to set up and program.” While the free light display for community enjoyment would have been enough, the neighbors took it a step further. Hoping to support one of their own neighbors, the community accepted donations from visitors who came to see the light show. Together, they raised over $2,000!
So who is the neighbor who benefited from this amazing display of community generosity? Let us introduce you to the star of the show, Miss Lucy. To the outside observer, Lucy is your average three year old. She loves books, birthday cakes, and playing with her siblings. What you can’t see, is Lucy’s extremely rare mitochondrial disorder known as NUBPL.
According to the NUBPL Foundation’s website, “NUBPL is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects children. There are zero FDA approved treatments for this disease.” The severity and impact of NUBPL is different for each person. With no current cure or even treatment available, families of children like Lucy are left to raise money to fund more research.
We asked Lucy’s mom what advice she had for other parents. She shared three important tips: 1. Spread awareness; 2. Connect with other families; and 3. Don’t be afraid to share your story. “We have many people on this ride with us and we have a great community,” she said.
Lucy’s family was overwhelmed with gratitude for their neighbors’ generous idea to turn the Lights of Glenross into a fundraiser for NUBPL. To read the full Lights of Glenross story, click here. To follow Lucy’s journey, join her Facebook Group We Love Lucy – NUBPL Warrior.
This heartwarming story of community is just another example of how we are #BetterTogether.
Like many six year olds, Caden is very interested in Ninjas! As Caden’s parents thought about different activities he might enjoy, they thought karate would be a great blend of physical activity and his love for ninjas. Caden’s mom called a few different dojos to see how they would feel about having a child with Down syndrome in one of their classes. After receiving a variety of responses, she was excited to receive the Delaware YMCA’s response that they’d be more than happy to have Caden join their class.
Caden has been practicing martial arts for just over a year at the YMCA. “The YMCA worked with us to develop a plan specifically to help Caden reach his goals,” explained his mom. While the YMCA’s plan is very individualized, Caden works on his goals by participating in classes with typically developing peers and is held to the same expectation as the other students.
We asked Caden’s mom what advice she would offer other parents and she said, “Don’t put limits on your kid and set high expectations.”
From breaking boards, to sparring with his older brother, to the “cool” outfits, Caden enjoys all of the elements associated with martial arts. While Caden has a lot of fun in his class, they also talk about very serious topics such as bullying and getting away from bad guys. “Caden doesn’t know stranger danger,” explained his teacher. “That’s a very real concern. We teach him how to get away from a bad guy.”
Caden loves to compete in martial arts competitions and has done quite well! “at the December tournament he earned a first place medal in board breaking, and a second place medal in self-defense against typical peers,” his mom proudly shared. We had the opportunity to observe Caden in action at one of his practices. At the end of the practice it was Caden’s turn to test for his next belt level and with no surprise, he earned it!
These classes cover more than just physical exercises. They learn about the origins of martial arts, responsibility, and respect. “Those behind us are learning from us.” This phrase is an important teaching point in the class. “Caden has made a lot of progress since starting martial arts,” shared his mom. “Outside of class he is more engaged and developed better listening skills.”
We celebrate the inclusive opportunity the Delaware YMCA has created for kids of all abilities to develop healthy skills. Congratulations to Caden on his latest martial arts achievements! Together we are #BetterTogether.
DCBDD is on a 2-hour delay due to weather. We will reopen at 10 a.m. If you experience an emergency, please contact Helpline at 740-369-3316 and ask for the DCBDD SSA on call.
Today, February 1, 2019, DCBDD will be on a 2-hour delay due to the level 2 snow emergency.
Meet Sarah! Sarah is an exceptional young lady who is not only incredibly intelligent but is also heavily involved in her community. She is a member of National Honor Society, Key Club, Spanish Club and Board Game Club. Outside of her extracurricular activities at school, Sarah has worked as a ZooAide for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, volunteered at the Westerville Public Library’s Summer Reading Program and worked at the Stratford Ecological Center. In addition to all of these activities, Sarah works eight hours a week at Kroger in their Click List department.
As a junior, Sarah was invited by Nationwide Children’s Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders to participate in a panel discussion at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Nearly 80 medical students converged to hear from a panel of four people who are on the autism spectrum. “Not only did the students learn about autism, but they also saw me as more than my disorder,” Sarah shared.
While Sarah works and is very involved in a variety of clubs, she has made time for her schoolwork and done quite well. Sarah has an accumulative GPA of 4.6251 and was recently notified that she is a semifinalist for a National Merit® Scholarship. In her application for the National Merit®Scholarship Program, Sarah wrote about her journey through autism. At the end of her essay Sarah wrote the following:
“I may always struggle with regulating my emotions and fitting in, but whenever I doubt myself, I only have to reflect on my past to see how far I have come. My challenges were great, but my past has paved the way for my future success. As I did on the panel, I can continue sharing my story to inspire others to always improve, no matter how difficult change may seem.”
After high school, Sarah plans to attend either Miami University or The Ohio State University to study zoology and conservation. We asked Sarah what advice she has for others who are considering college and she said, “Go for it! Lots of colleges have disability support programs.” Wherever she chooses to attend, the school will be lucky to have her!
Best of luck to our National Merit® Scholarship semifinalist, Sarah! You’re a success and inspiration to us no matter the outcome of the award.
Addie and Alex are two years apart and share a very typical but also special sibling bond. In addition to their special love for dance, Alex and Addie work together to spread the word about the importance of inclusion. Addie is a fierce advocate for Alex. “[She] is a very caring and funny sister,” Alex shared.
The Kearns family has been participating in the Columbus Buddy Walk for 15 years, raising thousands of dollars for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO). In 2017, Addie launched Buddies Inc. to help with raising more funds and awareness. She is the youngest Buddy Walk team captain in Columbus. We asked Addie what inspired her to start advocating for her brother and others with disabilities and she said, “When I was in second grade I noticed people not being treated fairly. They’re the same as us and should be included. All Down syndrome is, is a copy of their 21st chromosome. We’re more alike than we are different.”
2017 was a busy year for Buddies Inc. They organized ice cream socials, participated in World Down Syndrome Day, hosted a vendor table of artwork created by Addie, and watched on Facebook Live as Alex’s photo was featured at the Buddy Walk in New York City. Out of 3,000 submissions, Alex’s photo was chosen as one of the select few to feature in Times Square.
When Addie grows up, she is considering a few different career options — occupational therapist, dance therapy, or potentially working as an advocate. As for Alex, he hasn’t decided what we would like to do after college. In the meantime, he stays busy as the ball boy for the soccer team, playing basketball, spending time with friends, and learning new dances.
We asked Addie what was next for Buddies Inc. and she shared they will start raising funds for the 2019 Buddy Walk! Additionally, she hopes to increase her Instagram followers for @buddies._.inc and hopefully get her biggest role model @ellentv to follow her back!
Keep up the great work Addie and Alex! We love your enthusiasm and appreciate your desire to create a more inclusive world.
Andrea has worked for the Foot & Ankle Wellness Center for almost four years. As an active participant in the Delaware community, Andrea knows many of the patients that come through the door. She is always a smiling face that welcomes people to the Center. “She is fun and sociable” shared her supervisor. “Andrea is always looking for things to do.”
For the most part, Andrea’s work at the Foot & Ankle Wellness Center consists of shredding and scanning documents. Andrea likes to stay busy and when she has free time, she helps the marketing department fill goodie bags for upcoming events.
Outside of work Andrea likes to play Wii bowling, attend For Friends and community events, and watch her favorite shows Rosanne and the Last Man Standing.
We asked Andrea what advice she has for others who are thinking about applying for a job. She said, “Go and see how you like it. Check it out before you apply.” Andrea enjoys participating in the office’s Fifth Wednesday events. On months that have a fifth Wednesday, the office closes early and goes out into the community to volunteer or do team building activities.
When talking about the support she receives from her Support Administrator at the County Board Andrea said, “I like working with her. She knows everything and helps me out. She is my role model.”
We are happy to see Andrea enjoying her longtime employment with the Foot & Ankle Wellness Center! #EmploymentFirst
On Monday, November 19, 2018, Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DCBDD) launched into a day filled with giving thanks. The day began with a Thanksgiving Luncheon for the entire staff of DCBDD prepared by members of the administrative team. “I always approach Thanksgiving with an attitude of gratitude,” shared Superintendent Kristine Hodge. “Our staff does so much to support people in our community. This is just our small way of saying thank you for their hard work and commitment to providing excellent services.”
After staff finished their Thanksgiving lunch, they dispersed into the community for an afternoon of giving back. A total of nine different community partners were touched by DCBDD’s outreach. A group of staff assisted United Way (UW) with cleaning and decorating the UW Teen Room as well as, assembling diaper bags and cleaning the UW Kid’s Room. Several teams from DCBDD stopped by a few of Delaware City’s elementary schools to practice reading with children one on one. Another group of staff members helped prepare for the distribution of turkeys and meal kits for the Hunger Games Drive by sorting the donated food into complete meal kits. Other teams from DCBDD spent time visiting with residents at Willowbrook, stocking shelves at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, organizing items at Lutheran Social Services food pantry and sorting toys at People In Need for the Holiday Clearing House. A final group of staff members made fleece blankets to be donated to Turning Point and Delaware County Jobs and Family Services for new babies born in need.
“I was able to spend the afternoon at the Willowbrook Day Program volunteering with a group of residents,” shared DCBDD employee Lisa Fowler. “I feel blessed to work for an agency that cares for the well-being of the staff and offers opportunities like these to share our time in the community in places where we are appreciated. Gratitude feeds the soul.”
DCBDD appreciates the support it has received from the community of Delaware. “These outreach opportunities were a great way for us to share our gratitude during this season of Thanksgiving,” said Hodge.
DCBDD has nearly completed its second year of the 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. Outlined in this plan are six core goals:
- Goal One: Strengthen community inclusion opportunities, supports, and successes
- Goal Two: Increase community employment success
- Goal Three: Educate and support individuals and family members
- Goal Four: Strengthen providers’ ability to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities
- Goal Five: Strengthen person-centered thinking throughout the agency
- Goal Six: Continuously improve internal operations
In preparation for the final year of the Strategic Plan, DCBDD would like your feedback on how well it did in accomplishing our 2018 goals. To review our 2018 Progress Report, please click here. After you review, please complete our brief 3-question survey to offer your feedback.
Creative, funny, smart, and inquisitive are a few words that describe Emma. She is all around our American Girl. Emma is an active participant in her community, loves to read, and enjoys crafting things with her hands.
Emma just completed her sixth year of 4-H and has been elected as the incoming president for her 4-H club for 2019. According to Ohio 4-H Family Guide, “all 4-H programs focus on active involvement and quality experiences that stimulate lifelong learning of values and skills.”
This past year, Emma took a wide variety of projects to the fair. She took scrapbooking, sewing, vegetable gardening, seed art, and even made her own fairy garden. Emma received a total of seven blue ribbons and two outstandings. Her outstanding awards were for her beautifully designed seed art and for the pumpkin she grew.
Emma sews for more than her 4-H projects. It’s something she truly enjoys and has a lot of fun choosing the patterns. Emma has made custom clothing and quilts for her large collection of American Girl dolls. Her favorite outfit that she made for her dolls was a t-shirt and coordinating velour skirt. “I asked Emma if she wanted to make the skirt out of a fabric that is easier to sew,” shared her mom. “But she confidently said, ‘Nope I can do it!’ and she did.”
In addition to her joy of sewing, Emma loves to read books. She has so many books that her dad had to bolt her bookshelf to the wall to keep it from tipping over! “I know where everything is at the library. They should hire me to work there,” she teased. Emma’s favorite books are the American Girl books, especially those that teach her about the American Girl dolls she owns. When we asked Emma what she thought she might want to do after school it was no surprise when she said she might become a librarian!
Emma is the youngest of six. She and her siblings have a close relationship and have grown up in a tight knit family. While the support from her family and community have been important, Emma’s mom also shared that the support of DCBDD has made things a lot easier. “When I have questions I can get help,” she shared.
We are happy to be a small part of Emma’s wonderful life. We look forward to seeing what Emma takes as her fair projects next year!
Rick has been working with The Alpha Group for almost 20 years! Currently he is enjoying working on the janitorial crew. Rick finds joy in knowing his job creates clean spaces for others to enjoy. His favorite part about working at Alpha is spending time with his coworkers.
Outside of working at Alpha, Rick is an avid fan of all things Ohio State and the Walking Dead. In his free time, Rick likes to spend time outdoors fishing, camping, or riding bikes with his partner Marsha. We asked Marsha how she’d describe Rick, she smiled and said, “He’s a hard worker, a good person, and a good person to talk to.” When it comes to household chores, Marsha and Rick are good teammates. They take turns doing the cooking but since cleaning is one of Rick’s favorite jobs, he calls “Dibs!” on that.
Someday, Rick hopes to own his own lawn business. “I’m intelligent and I work hard,” he said. Keep up the great work Rick! With your determination and work ethic we know you’ll be successful!
Meet Emily. Emily is an all-around rock star. She is an excellent student and is involved in more extracurricular activities than most kids her age. She plays electric guitar, practices taekwondo, rides horses, plays various sports, is a member of 4-H, and in all of her spare time, works at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (The Zoo). Did we mention Emily is a rock star?
A junior at Buckeye Valley, Emily places a high priority on her school work. She excels in her academics which her mom attributes to her extreme work ethic and dedication to her studies. Emily knows that to be accepted into a zoology program in college, she must put in the work to get good grades in high school first. Emily’s passion for animals and desire to be a zookeeper someday is what inspired Emily to apply to work at The Zoo.
Becoming a Zoo Aide is no easy task. Emily had to compete against 200 other applicants, go through an extensive interview process, and explain to The Zoo why they should hire her over someone else. To prepare herself for this experience, Emily participated in a job readiness training. During this training she learned about what she should wear to an interview, practiced how to communicate with coworkers, and participated in mock interviews. This 8-week course proved to be very useful in preparing for her interview with The Zoo.
When it came time for Emily’s big interview with The Zoo, her job coach accompanied her. However, Emily was so prepared from her job readiness course that she never needed to lean on her coach for support. They asked Emily why they should hire her and she confidently answered, “I am a hard worker and passionate about animals.” Emily interviewed so well that they offered her one of the positions in the Zoo Rides Department on the spot. We asked her what it felt like to hear she had gotten the job and she exclaimed, “It was awesome!”
Emily has worked as a Zoo Aide since 2016 and Rides Operator since the Spring of 2018. Some of her responsibilities include educating guests about animals, operating rides, and driving the train around The Zoo. In recognition of her excellent work as a Zoo Aide, Emily has received her fair share of Zoo Cash which is awarded by coworkers and visitors when they see a Zoo employee doing a good deed. It’s safe to say that Emily loves her job. Like most people who frequent The Zoo, Emily has her favorite exhibits and animals too. She enjoys the manatees, Asia Quest, kangaroos, giraffe feeding, and monitoring the polar bears on The Zoo’s tablet. “I have always wanted to work at The Zoo. This was a good way to get my foot in the door.”
We asked Emily what advice she would give to someone applying for a job and she said, “Practice before you go in for your interview. Don’t give up on what you’re trying to achieve.” Wise words from such a young professional!
In her free time, Emily enjoys playing video games, watching movies and writing letters to her favorite celebrities. Emily has written to Adam Sandler, Tia Torres (Pit Bulls & Parolees), Dr. Pol (Nat Geo Wild), Duck Dynasty, and Colleen Ballinger (YouTube celebrity). She has received an autographed picture or personalized note from all of these celebrities. The next star she plans to write is Kelly Clarkson.
We know that whatever Emily sets her mind to, she can achieve. Keep up the great work Emily!
Hudson is a sweet, charismatic, musical and above all, strong 10 year old. Just before starting Kindergarten, Hudson was diagnosed with Juvenile Batten’s Disease (JBD). There are currently 14 different forms of JBD, each varying greatly from person to person. Similarly, the symptoms experienced by each person are unique. Approximately two to four out of every 100,000 children in the United States have JBD. While JBD is a very rare, Hudson and his family remain positive and focused on the future.
When it comes to musical instruments, Hudson has played just about all of them. From guitar, to piano, to drums, Hudson loves them all. “Anything that stimulates his senses,” explained his mom. In addition to his fascination with instruments, Hudson likes to read, travel, and try new foods. Unlike most 10 year old boys, Hudson loves vegetables. “We have learned to cook some of the strangest vegetables,” shared his mom. “We have made everything from broccoli to rutabagas and he likes them all!” Hudson has also been a joyful participant of Special Olympics and even qualified to go to State Games.
For Hudson, one of the symptoms he has experienced with JBD is blindness. While you might think losing his sight over time would be a frustration, “he has never complained about his vision,” shared his mom. “Hudson is so resilient and adapts to everything.” A fun fact about Hudson is he can tell you the name of any state or country just by feeling its shape.
We asked his parents what they have learned from Hudson and they said, “Hudson has taught us how to be parents of a child with a disability. He has shown us that we don’t need to sweat the small stuff.” A few years ago, Hudson and his family did not have much hope for the current treatments available for JBD. They were all too aware of the symptoms Hudson would soon experience and the devastatingly short life expectancy that comes with JBD. But recently, their hope has flourished with new clinical trials that seem promising. To advance these important research efforts and clinical trials, Hudson’s family established the Hugs for Hudson Research Fund at the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (Beyondbatten.org/Hugsforhudson).
Some of the treatments now in sight are thought to be able to slow the progression of this disease and extend life. In partnership with other families who have a child with JBD, Hudson’s family joined the “Be Project.” The Be Project is a campaign to raise $6 million in 24 months to fund this new treatment. Since 2016, these families have raised $5 million. With only a few months left, they are actively working to raise the last $1 million needed towards their goal. As a part of this campaign, there is a “Be The Change” call to action encouraging participation in their text to donate initiative. By texting HUGS to 501501, a $10 donation will be added to the next phone bill to support continued research for Hudson and all of the other children impacted by Batten disease.
As a special part of their fundraising efforts, Hudson’s family has teamed up with the Columbus Blue Jackets for a night of hockey and philanthropy. On October 20, for every CBJ ticket purchased, $10-$20 will go back to support Hugs for Hudson. For more information regarding this event, visit: bluejackets.com/hugsforhudson.
Hudson and his family have found great support from families all over the world and through their support administrator at the County Board. Together, Hudson’s family continues to persevere and live life to the fullest.
As we left Hudson’s home, his mom said, “I can’t wait for you to come and do a follow up story next year! We have so much hope for the impact this treatment could have on Hudson’s quality of life.” We are excited to follow up with Hudson too! Stay tuned for more Hugs from Hudson in 2019!
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of NDEAM is to provide education about disability employment issues and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.”
The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.”
Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, DCBDD will be highlighting stories of successful employment and employment resources. “DCBDD is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Superintendent Kristine Hodge. “We want to spread the important message that providing inclusive gainful employment opportunities is beneficial to both the employee and the business.”
DCBDD has proposed a new 0.4 mil continuous levy for the November 6, 2018 ballot. DCBDD currently serves around 2,500 people from birth throughout their lifespan. Over the past 5 years, DCBDD has seen enrollment grow by an average of 3% each year. This significant growth is projected to continue. DCBDD has proposed a 0.4 mil continuous to support and sustain this growth. The facts and information below explain the reason for the new request.
About the 0.4 Mil Continuous Request
- It will generate $3,131,579 per year to support the continued growth and demand for services (based on 2017 assessed values)
- The cost to the taxpayer is $14 per year (based on a home valuation of $100,000)
- If the 0.4 mil levy passes, DCBDD will allow its existing 0.56 mil levy to expire
Why is DCBDD requesting this levy?
- 79% of the people served by the board are children
- The cost to serve a child on average is $2,101 compared to the average cost to serve an adult which is $16,293
- In the next 5 years, 159 children will transition to adults increasing services by nearly $8.5 million
- The 0.4 mil continuous levy provides a long-term and stable funding source for DCBDD
- The 0.4 mil levy supports DCBDD in preparing for future growth and demand for services
What existing levies does DCBDD have currently and what are the plans should the 0.4 mil levy pass?
- Currently, DCBDD has a 0.56 mil levy and 2.1 mil levy which are both up for renewal in 2020
- Should the 0.4 mil continuous levy pass, DCBDD will allow the 0.56 mil levy to expire resulting in a tax decrease for taxpayers
If you have questions or comments about the upcoming levy, please contact 740-201-5810 or send us an email.
DCBDD is now accepting informal Requests of Interests (ROI) for our Early Intervention Core Team Primary Service Providers. Interested applicants must apply by October 8, 2018. Click here to learn more or to apply
Can you imagine a world where you were completely dependent on another person to do things for you, take you places, and help you with daily tasks? Chris couldn’t either, and thanks to technology he doesn’t have to rely on others to be independent!
Meet Chris. Chris is a senior at Ohio Dominican University (ODU) double majoring in business and insurance. During his time at ODU Chris has played drums in the marching band and enjoyed different social activities. In his free time, Chris loves trying different instruments. “There isn’t an instrument I don’t have an interest in,” he said. The piano was the first instrument he learned but he said it has taken a back seat to the guitar. In what little free time he has left after work, school, and music, you might find Chris working on cars, a hobby he has picked up along the way.
Even as a full-time student Chris found time to work at Apple as a sales specialist, a job he’s enjoyed now for three years. We asked Chris what his favorite thing was about working at Apple. While some might say the product discount, Chris responded with, “The people you meet. Apple fosters an honest environment where it’s not so much about selling but about a conversation of what the customer wants and needs.” As a part of Chris’ job, he helps customers set up their new devices and demonstrates what the products can do.
When it comes to technology, Chris embraces all it has to offer. He showed us how his new smart glasses and braille display work. His smart glasses are connected to a service called Aira where he can connect to an agent anytime, anywhere. Chris has used Aira to navigate new places, travel, and even to check the temperature gauge on his grill. “Through technology over the years I have gained a lot of independence.”
Chris learned to read braille when he was in pre-school. Chris shared that a common topic of discussion among people who are blind is “Is braille relevant?” To which Chris confidently shared, “Braille to me is literacy!” Chris likes being able to use his new braille display to read to himself instead of relying on another person or audio to read aloud to him.
So how does the braille display work you ask? Well to those of us in the room watching Chris’ demonstration it was pure magic. But Chris would tell you it’s not magic but rather a quick connection to Bluetooth. In a matter of seconds, Chris can connect his phone to his braille display and be browsing the web, answering email, and scrolling through social media just like anyone else who is sighted.
We asked Chris, how technology has changed his life. “It has leveled the playing field. I remember going to school and trying to do everything by hand. It wasn’t until high school that I started using more technology and developed a real passion for it. It’s insane what technology does for us. I’m holding my breath for autonomous cars. To me, that could be the biggest game changer.”
As someone who is more than familiar with technology, we asked Chris what advice he’d give someone who was hesitant about trying technology. “Don’t be intimidated by it. I’ve always embraced technology and never approached it with a mindset of worrying if it didn’t work.”
“I can’t thank [the Board] enough for your support. Helping me access technology has opened a lot of doors. Having someone that works with me to put together a new plan and ask me what I need has been a big help,” Chris shared.
Chris is looking forward to graduating in May and putting his degree to use! While he’s still not sure just exactly where he wants to be, we know that wherever he lands he will succeed.
A year ago, Taryn was working on strengthening her mobility and walking independently. Today, Taryn is an active 2 ½ year old who is rock climbing, running, and living her life to the fullest! She has made great progress but that didn’t come without hard work and a lot of self-determination.
During an appointment with Taryn’s physician, Taryn’s parents asked about activities that would be helpful towards her progress. They were thinking about enrolling her in dance or swimming. To their surprise, their doctor recommended rock climbing. Taryn’s mom admitted she was a little hesitant about the idea and was not sure if there was a gym that would even take on rock climbing with a child so young. Nevertheless, she called Vertical Adventures which is well known for their adaptive climbing clubs for youth and adults with disabilities.
This was a first time experience for her coach Nick. Nick went to school for teaching with a focus on K-12 physical education. Children under the age of four would be a new adventure for him but one he grasped willingly with both hands. “When we first started, I couldn’t even get her off the ground” explained Nick. “Now she’s really strong. We are thinking about moving her up to the pre-school group (4-5 year olds). The ability is there.”
The connection between Coach Nick and Taryn is palpable. When we asked Nick what is his favorite thing about coaching Taryn he smiled and said, “Seeing her grow. Witnessing her growth first hand is incredible. I try to journal about all of her milestones as she reaches them. She continues to surprise me.”
While rock climbing has been a huge benefit to Taryn’s physical growth, she has also advanced mentally. Prior to her rock climbing lessons, Taryn was reluctant to try new things explained her mom. “Her confidence has grown. Now, she goes right up to different playground equipment without any hesitation.” Additionally, rock climbing has helped Taryn’s awareness of her body. As she calculates which rock to step to next, she is thinking about where she is currently before she makes her next move.
Her parents have even noticed Taryn practicing her climbing breath to self-regulate when she is frustrated. One night at the dinner table, Taryn’s parents noticed she was starting to get frustrated. Before they attempted to intervene, they saw Taryn taking deep breaths to relax. “I asked her, ‘Where did you learn to do that?’ and she said, ‘Coach Nick!’” shared her proud father. The variety of skills Taryn has learned through her climbing practices have proven to be applicable in many other areas of her life.
In 2019, Nationwide Children’s Hospital will be partnering with Vertical Adventures to conduct a research study on the impacts of rock climbing and children with cerebral palsy. Nationwide Children’s has been following Taryn’s journey closely and is excited to see how rock climbing could positively impact more children like Taryn.
Way to go Taryn! We are continuously amazed by your progress and inspired by your positive spirit!
National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) is recognized each year to make a concerted effort to get people with disabilities registered to vote, educated about this year’s election, and prepared to cast a ballot in November. This year, NDVRW is July 16 -20, 2018. The Delaware County District Library (DCDL) and the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DCBDD)are teaming up in the national campaign also known as REV UP. The REV UP campaign launched by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in 2016, is a nonpartisan initiative that coordinates with national, state, and local disability organizations to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. The Campaign focuses on voter registration, education, access, and engagement. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!
To learn about how DCBDD and DCDL are partnering during this week, read the press release below!
Sisters Ellie and Savannah have just finished their freshman year of college at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) and now proudly go by the description of sophomores. Completing the first year of college is an accomplishment for every college student. For Ellie and Savannah, their first year was a first for MVNU as well. The Perry sisters attended their freshman year with their provider, something no MVNU student has ever done before.
Ellie, Savannah, and their brother Will are triplets. When the time came to choose a college, the family searched for a school that would fit all three of their interests and needs. Before applying to MVNU, the family met with the Office of Student Success to talk about the accommodations Ellie and Savannah would need at school. “The college was very accommodating. They coordinated the classes Ellie and Savannah had in common so that they could share their provider when possible,” explained their mom, Michelle.
Once they determined MVNU was going to be a good fit for all three, the next step was managing the tuition. “We didn’t think it would be possible to send three children to MVNU,” said Michelle. Through a combination of academic and community scholarships, 82% of Savannah and Ellie’s tuition was covered. The scholarships lifted the final barrier for the Perry family allowing all three to attend MVNU.
Both Savannah and Ellie were happy to report it was a successful freshman year. Savannah achieved the Dean’s list both semesters and Ellie was published in the spring edition of the MVNU Literary Journal. Savannah is majoring in psychology and Ellie is majoring in English. We asked them both what surprised them about their first year of college. Ellie shared, “I was nervous to meet new people and I was surprised how quickly I made good friends.” Savannah shared, “People have been really nice. I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.”
While Ellie and Savannah are enjoying some time off school, they’ve signed up to take a few classes over the summer. In the fall, Ellie has applied for a job in the writing lab to help other students with academic writing. Both Savannah and Ellie are taking their commitment to school seriously.
When they graduate college, Savannah hopes to be a counselor for children and teens at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As for Ellie, she would love to be a published writer. But, if that does not work out, she plans to manage a company’s social media account. There’s no doubt that these girls are going places!
Advice to Future Students
We asked Ellie what advice she would give to a high school student who wants to go to college. She said, “Work hard, get good grades, and apply for scholarships. It’s not just about your ACT score.”
Similarly, we asked Savannah what advice she would give to a student with a disability who would like to attend college. She said, “Show people what you can do. Don’t be discouraged by your limitations.”
What do you wish people knew about you?
Ellie shared that she wished people understood more about Asperger Syndrome. “People make assumptions that it’s like Autism. If people understood Aspergers better, people would understand why I act the way I do,” Ellie explained.
“I wish people would realize she’s [Savannah] not stupid,” Ellie shared. “People in the mall will talk to her like she’s a little kid. She’s fully capable!” Savannah agreed with Ellie wishing that more people understood just how capable she really is.
What is your favorite thing about your sister?
Savannah smiled and said, “She makes me laugh a lot. Some of the things she says are just so funny.” The girls looked at each other and giggled. Their connection and friendship is undeniable. Ellie shared, “I like that she doesn’t let her disability get her down. I admire how smart she is. She makes me laugh too.”
How has the County Board supported your family?
“Receiving support from the Board has helped our children not just survive but thrive. I truly believe it has allowed them to get where they are,” explained Michelle.
Matthew, a junior at Olentangy has reached an exciting milestone in his life. After many hours of practice and hard work, Matthew passed his driving exam! Matthew enrolled in an intense driving program where he practiced with an instructor once a week for two hours over a 9-month period. When we asked how it felt to finally hold his driver’s license he said, “it feels great!”
In addition to celebrating his recent achievement, Matthew is looking forward to the start of summer in a few weeks. Like most high school students, he has been studying hard for his final exams. Matthew’s favorite subject in school is biology because he loves learning about living things. While biology is his favorite subject, his reading teacher Mr. Kirk is his favorite teacher. Mr. Kirk spends extra time with Matthew to make sure he understands the material the class is currently covering. The two have even formed a special bond over their mutual love for Star Wars and video games.
Matthew keeps busy outside of school too. He really enjoys participating in Service Club activities. “They’re always lots of fun and we get to help people,” he said. In addition to giving back to the community, Matthew likes to swim. Matthew has been swimming since third grade and is a member of the YMCA club team. His best events are the backstroke and freestyle.
While Matthew is looking forward to summer for a break from school, he will keep busy working at Meijer for the second summer in a row.
So, what’s next for Matthew? Next year he will be gearing up for graduation and applying for college. At the moment, he’s thinking about The Ohio State University or Columbus State. His goal is to become a fitness trainer working for the NFL or the NBA. As a major LeBron James fan, he wouldn’t mind getting to work for the Cleveland Cavaliers!
When we asked Matthew what advice he would give to younger kids he said, “Never give up – just don’t ever give up!” Matthew has seen what can happen with hard work and perseverance and is a great role model for other kids. “When he makes his mind up to do something, he can do it,” shared his mom. “After he received his license he was beaming because he was so excited.”
Congratulations on your big achievement, Matthew! We look forward to seeing where you go next!
Will is 10 years old and loves Taekwondo and was determined to achieve his black belt. After his most recent class, Will successfully completed his test and now is a 1st Degree Black Belt Recommended! When we asked him what his favorite part of practice is he confidently answered, “round kicks!”
Will enjoys reading comic books, swimming, and conducting science experiments at school. His most recent experiment was the fizzy volcano. When Will grows up he wants to be a scientist whose experiments help people.
When Will’s parents first learned about his diagnosis they were overwhelmed and did not know where to start. After connecting with DCBDD, they were assigned an SSA who was able to offer guidance and support.
Will has made great progress over the last few years and was proud to share he’s receiving all A’s and B’s in school! “We don’t see much holding him back anymore,” shared his parents.
We look forward to watching Will continue to learn and grow. We can’t wait to see what experiment he comes up with next!
Kyle is a budding entrepreneur and passionate musician. After graduating high school, Kyle worked at a few different businesses but just could not seem to find the right place that met his interests. He wanted his own business. After researching a few ideas, Kyle and his family combined his interest in crafts, cooking and essential oils to create Bath Bombs by Kyle.
Bath Bombs by Kyle offers three main products: bath bombs, shower melts, and lip balm. All of the products are made with 100% natural ingredients. Perhaps the most important “ingredient” to Kyle’s product is the handwritten thank you and customized treat that accompany each order. “Kyle is always thinking about people and what makes them happy. He is proud to have his name on his product,” explained Patty, Kyle’s mom. Making others happy is important to Kyle and it shows in everything he touches.
Kyle plays a key role in his business. He has his hands in the online marketing of his products, creating new scents, counting and tracking inventory, grocery shopping for ingredients, making his products, and of course, choosing the next themed treat to go along with each order.
Currently, Bath Bombs by Kyle is focusing on finishing up their Easter orders and preparing for the next major holiday, Mother’s Day! Bath Bombs by Kyle will start accepting Mother’s Day orders on April 1st. Growing quickly, Bath Bombs by Kyle is in the process of adding an online payment option to keep up with demand.
With the success of his new business, Kyle has experienced what it feels like to get a pay check. When we asked Kyle what he was saving up his money for he quickly answered, “new cymbals for my drums!”
Kyle is a music enthusiast. He is a drummer, song writer, and loves playing in his band. Kyle enjoys listening to live bands at Mudflats, many of whom have grown to know Kyle and his love for music. Occasionally, Kyle is invited to join the bands on stage to play in a song or two.
Outside of his new business and playing in a band, Kyle finds time to volunteer and give back. Every week he helps prepare the Wednesday night dinner at his church for around 150 people.
We are so proud of Kyle for following his passions and starting his own business! Keep up the great work. We look forward to seeing what you do next!
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan declared March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! While we strive to raise awareness every day for the many people who have developmental disabilities, we use the month of March to bring added focus on the important mission of making society more inclusive for all.
This year, our theme for National Developmental Disability Awareness Month is #JustAskMe. The idea for this theme came from a story we featured earlier this year about siblings Rachel and Mathew. During the interview, Rachel was asked what she wished people knew about EB and she said, “I wish they knew it wasn’t contagious and that they’d be brave enough to ask about it.” And the idea of #JustAskMe was created.
Throughout the month you will see DCBDD end the “just ask me” phrase with things like: about my job, to play, to be your friend, or for help. The goal of the #JustAskMe campaign is to open the lines of communication between people with and without disabilities, encouraging people to engage in genuine conversations.
People with disabilities are people first and should not be defined by their disability. At the end of the day, we all have similar wants, needs, and dreams. It is our hope that the #JustAskMe campaign shows we are more alike than we are different.
Take the challenge! #JustAskMe
The Delaware County Commissioners are seeking applications to fill current DCBDD Board Member, Jeffrey Wallace’s seat. After 11 years of dedicated service, Jeffrey has resigned his position on the board effective February 28. We greatly appreciate Jeffrey’s dedication and support to the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
To apply for this open position, applicants must be a resident of Delaware County and a citizen of the United States, and must be interested and knowledgeable in the field of developmental disabilities and related fields. Individuals and family members of individuals receiving services from the Board are eligible to apply. Individuals who have professional training and experience in business management, finance, law, health care practice, personnel administration or government service are encouraged to apply. The Commissioners are seeking to appoint one citizen member for a term that will expire December 31, 2020.
Interested individuals can apply by using Delaware County’s online application portal. For any questions regarding this application procedure, please contact Dana Bushong, Delaware County Human Resources, 740-833-2129 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed Board Appointment applications must be received through the Applicant Tracking portal no later than 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2018.
Kaitlin recently received her teaching license and is now certified to teach kindergarten through 12th grade! She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Findlay and her master’s degree from Otterbein University. When asked how it felt to finally receive her teaching license Kaitlin said, “It feels surreal.” In the next few weeks Kaitlin will be taking the test to receive her Reading Endorsement.
Having grown up on an IEP, Kaitlin is interested in being an Intervention Specialist or a Reading Specialist. “I know the process and understand the child’s perspective,” Kaitlin explains. The Ohio School for the Blind and Woodward Elementary were two of the schools where Kaitlin did her student teaching. She experienced a variety of inclusionary classroom models, preparing her for her future career.
Kaitlin has a team of people who have supported her along the way. Family, friends, and former teachers were all there to cheer her on when times were tough. “When I said ‘I can’t,’ I had a team that showed me how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished.”
Understanding what her future students will experience uniquely qualifies Kaitlin for her job. When asked what she hopes to pass on to other students who have disabilities she said, “a diagnoses doesn’t stop you.” It certainly has not stopped Kaitlin. Her incredible determination and perseverance has shown that nothing is impossible.
Kaitlin is currently serving as a long-term substitute teacher until the end of the year. She will begin her full-time teaching position in the fall.
Siblings, Rachel and Matthew are your typical teenagers. They have hobbies, passions, and bright visions for the future. Rachel is a sophomore at The Ohio State University Marion studying Early Childhood Education. Matthew is a senior at Delaware Christian and loves playing video games and watching the Cincinnati Reds.
Both Rachel and Matthew were born with Epidermolysis Bullosa otherwise known as EB. EB is a rare genetic connective tissue disorder that affects 1 out of every 20,000 births in the U.S. The unofficial “mascot” for EB is the butterfly because people with EB have skin that is as delicate as a butterfly’s wings. The skin of people with EB blisters and tears very easily.
Because of the nature of their skin, bathing can be a very painful process. However, over the summer, Rachel and Matthew received a new bathtub that changed their bathing experience entirely. According to Jason Hydrotherapy, the MicroSilk Hydrotherapy tub oxygenates bath water up to 70% more than regular tap water. The “microbubbles enter the skin’s pores, removing impurities, carrying oxygen for improved metabolism, lightly caressing skin for exfoliation, and improving hydration for dry skin.” Both Rachel and Matthew complete two 20-minute cycles in the tub every other day. It is a four hour process from the removal of their bandages, to the tub, to the reapplication of the bandages. While unfortunately the tub does not shorten this process any, it does make it much less painful and more importantly, it cleans the wounds more effectively. By using the hydrotherapy approach, there is less need for pool salts, bleach, vinegar, and other cleaning products commonly used to clean the skin of people with EB.
“This tub makes it easier to know they’re getting clean and are in less pain. It’s a much more relaxing process than it was before we got this tub,” explained Molly, Rachel and Matthew’s mom.
There are only four comprehensive interdisciplinary EB centers in the United States. Rachel and Matthew visit the EB center located within the Cincinnati Children’s hospital. Since they visit Cincinnati so regularly, Molly always tries to plan something fun to do while they are there. They have become big fans of the Cincinnati Reds and in fact, Matthew attended spring training in Arizona in 2011 as a part of his Make-A-Wish and received Joey Votto’s bat.
A sophomore in college, Rachel is getting ready to start her student teaching. She enjoys working with younger children and appreciates their candidness when it comes to her skin condition. When asked what she wishes people knew about EB, Rachel said, “I wish they knew it wasn’t contagious and that they’d be brave enough to ask about it.” As a part of Rachel’s Make-A-Wish, she had the joy of meeting the cast of NCIS. “It was awesome,” she exclaimed! If she could do Make-A-Wish again, she said she’d like to go to Hawaii or meet the original casts of Once Upon-A-Time and Hawaii Five-0.
As a family, they have attended many of the EB conferences that occur every two years bringing people, doctors, and researchers from all over the world. Molly said the most valuable part of the conference is talking to other families. There are only three families in Ohio that Molly is aware of who have children with EB. Facebook has become an incredibly useful tool for questions about new products and medications, as well as tips and advice. In fact, it was a family Molly connected with through the EB Facebook group who informed her about the MicroSilk tub.
Rachel and Matthew are simply remarkable young adults. Not because they have an extremely rare diagnosis but because in spite of their diagnosis, they push forward to lead the same lives as their peers, participate in clinical trials to promote the research of EB, and strive to achieve their dreams. The determination and openness that both Rachel and Matthew share, is what allows them to lead personally fulfilling lives and achieve their full potential.
Tristan recently graduated from Delaware Hayes High School on December 15, 2017 and is now a Delaware City Schools employee! He began working in the school system over the summer completing landscaping and custodial work. Tristan is a very determined and fast paced worker. In one afternoon, he collected nearly 10 large bags of walnuts from the grounds at Willis. A true member of our community, Tristan played a major role in clearing the playground at Willis in preparation for the ice skating rink for the December First Friday, one of the city of Delaware’s most beloved events.
Working for Delaware City Schools is Tristan’s first job. When asked how he felt about receiving his first paycheck he said, “happy.” His coworkers are happy to work with Tristan too. “Tristan filled a major need. Willis had limited custodial support. Tristan took care of areas that had been totally neglected,” shared Rhonda, Tristan’s mom.
Not only is Tristan a great worker but he has become a role model. Rhonda has been told many times that Tristan has been a role model for other students who see him working around the school. “We couldn’t be happier with what happened with Tristan’s transition after high school. It has exceeded my expectations,” Rhonda explained. “We are so grateful to the collaboration between DCBDD, DCS and our family in supporting Tristan’s successful transition.”
When Tristan is not working, you will likely find him being active outside! Tristan enjoys kayaking, watching lacrosse, long hikes, biking and riding wave runners. Last summer, Tristan participated in the summer Letterbox Adventure through Preservation Parks. He has hiked through all of the parks in Delaware County and is working his way through the parks in Franklin County.
“Tristan’s supports were community-based, coordinated and self-determined enabling outcomes in living, learning, working, recreating, and socializing. We are excited about what his future holds,” Rhonda said.
We too, look forward to seeing what Tristan accomplishes next. The sky is the limit!
In January of 2017, the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities released our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. From this plan, 6 core goals were identified:
- Goal One: Strengthen community inclusion opportunities, supports, and successes
- Goal Two: Increase community employment success
- Goal Three: Educate and support individuals and family members
- Goal Four: Strengthen providers’ ability to meet the needs of persons with developmental disabilities
- Goal Five: Strengthen person-centered thinking throughout the agency
- Goal Six: Continuously improve internal operations
To review the full Strategic Plan, click here.
We are nearly through the first year of our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. In preparation for the next year of our Strategic Plan, we would like your feedback on how well DCBDD did in accomplishing our 2017 goals. To review our 2017 Progress Report, please click here. After you review, please complete our brief 3-question survey to offer your feedback.
On October 7, 2015, the General Assembly of the State of Ohio designated October as Rett Syndrome Awareness Month. Rett Syndrome is a very rare non-inherited genetic postnatal neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting nearly every aspect of the child’s life: their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily. (rettsyndrome.org)
Click here to see the official signed bill which designated October as Rett Syndrome Awareness Month.
Click here to read the October Perspectives issue!
Would you like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter? It’s easy, visit the home page of our website and scroll to the bottom of the page. Then, fill in your email and click submit! For questions, please contact Anne Miller at email@example.com.
In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, DCBDD created a snapshot of our 2017 employment statistics. Take a look at our infographic to learn more!
“Reflecting back over the past year, I am amazed by how many things we accomplished in 2016,” reported Kristine Hodge, Superintendent of the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities. To read more from Superintendent Hodge or to see highlights from 2016, click here to read our 2016 Annual Report.
DCBDD will remain closed for the rest of the day (October 11, 2017) due to power outages. We are working to resolve this issue with AEP as quickly as possible. Our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.
October 11, 2017
The Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities is on a two hour delay and will reopen at 10 a.m. Should we still be experiencing a power outage, we will send out another alert via our website and Facebook page to let you know.
On Tuesday, September 5, the Ohio Association of County Boards hosted a presentation for SSAs and families to learn about Medicaid Managed Care. If you missed the presentation and are interested in receiving a copy of the PowerPoint slides, please contact Anne Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce a new partner! Summit Housing Development Corporation will serve as our nonprofit housing affiliate. Summit Housing offers DCBDD the opportunity to expand housing options for people with disabilities throughout Delaware County.
By partnering with Summit Housing, we can connect people with homes that are closer to the communities in which they work, live and play. Our vision is that all people will lead personally fulfilling lives — and we believe offering them safe and convenient housing is the first step toward making this a reality. Summit Housing will be a great partner to support the people we serve and empower them to achieve their full potential through housing options that best fit their needs.
During the week of July 17, 2017, Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DCBDD) participated in a Week of Service to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of County Boards and give back to a community that has given so much to us. In just one week, 352 pounds of food and supplies were collected and donated to People In Need Inc (PIN). In addition, DCBDD’s staff made a $60 cash donation to PIN. To read more about the results of our Week of Service, click here to read a letter from Randy Bournique, Associate Director for PIN. Thank you to everyone who participated and made our Week of Service a huge success!
If you missed the 10TV feature on DCBDD’s partnership with PIN, click here to watch.
Effective August 1, 2017, DCBDD will be utilizing the new state-wide Help Me Grow intake and referral system. For more information including, contact information and referral forms, please click here.
Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities is hosting a food and supplies drive for People In Need Inc. of Delaware County. To read our latest article, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Early Intervention Core Team Primary Service Provider (PSP) Approach
Shifting Great Expectations: Parenting a child with Down Syndrome | Lito Ramirez | TEDxColumbus - YouTube
In this talk, he explores the changing nature of expectations we have for our children, especially when they are born profoundly different than you expect.
Please follow the link to enjoy this amazing Ted X Talk click here and enjoy.
At the December 2016 board meeting, DCBDD passed its 2017-2019 strategic plan.
On behalf of more than 2,500 people served by Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities and more than 80 staff members, we present our 2017-2019 strategic plan. This plan was developed by people and families that DCBDD serves, staff members, and community members, with help from Mel Marsh of Acorn Consulting Incorporated who solicited input and feedback from our many stakeholders. Information was collected through various focus groups, surveys, reviews of past board meeting minutes, analysis of financial and enrollment trends, and an evaluation of recent changes at the state level.
Based on the information and feedback we received, we developed a mission and vision statement that guide our organization, defined a set of core values that will help guide our decision process, as well as set six strategic goals that improve the lives of the people we serve. Creating this document took a lot of reflection on where we are as an agency and where we want to be in the future.
As you will see repeated in this document a number of times, our organization’s focus is on community inclusion. Our ultimate goal is to have people with disabilities included in every aspect of community life – for there to be no difference or barrier for someone with disabilities.
Using this document as a guide, we strive to accomplish the following:
• Children will be ready to learn when they enter school;
• Children will succeed in school;
• Youth will successfully transition to adulthood;
• Job seekers will find meaningful work;
• Persons with DD will contribute to their own support; and,
• All people will thrive in the Delaware County community.
We have outlined objectives we aim to achieve over the next three years. This is a fluid document that will assist in focusing our efforts. Objectives may be reevaluated or shift years as needed, but our organization will continue to focus on achieving our six goals
outlined in the plan.We look forward, with a renewed focus, to working with many of our community partners to make this vision a reality.
Read the full plan here.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. Across the US, around 39.8 million people provide 21 or more hours of unpaid care each week to an adult with a disability or illness.
Caregiver Action Network began promoting national recognition of family caregivers in 1994, and is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the county. Celebrating this time enables us to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, celebrate the efforts of family caregivers, educate family caregivers about self-identification, and increase support for family caregivers.
To learn more about National Family Caregivers Month, go here.
DCBDD is proud to recognize seven students who recently completed and graduated from Project SEARCH at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration. What’s even more impressive? This year, six of seven graduates have already received job offers due to the program’s training and the students’ hard work, while one student is moving out of state. This year’s graduates include Jim Sagan, Chris Maguire, Katie Bright, Patrick Wingert, Ashley Henry, Yasmine Owens, and Laura Hayward.
Each year, up to eight students are accepted into the Project SEARCH program. To be part of the program, the students must be seniors in high school, have completed all of their graduation requirements, and must interview for the position. The program is through the Delaware Area Career Center (DACC) and funded by the student’s school district and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). DCBDD helps students apply to the program and works with Project SEARCH to help conduct the interview process.
Once accepted into Project SEARCH, each student completes a rotation of three internships at Grady Hospital that challenges their ability to work, plan, and problem solve. Jobs range from stocking nurses’ carts and working in the cafeteria to greeting guests and looking for expired items in the hospital supplies. Students are also taught job and interview skills. This employment training assists students in obtaining job opportunities after graduation.
At the Project SEARCH graduation ceremony on May 16th, Anna Hensley, Chief Operating Officer of OhioHealth, said, “This is the fifth year we have been working with DACC. These individuals (the graduates) have put in almost 6,000 hours this year while helping our patients. On behalf of the entire leadership team, thank you!”
In a 2011 statement, Grady Hospital’s Director of Growth and Development, Ben Shaffer said, “When we were approached by community partners about bringing Project SEARCH to Grady, we knew it was a strong program with a great reputation. It was the perfect way for Grady Memorial to give back to the community and give deserving young adults the tools that they need to be successful.”
Project SEARCH originally began at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1996, and has grown to more than 210 programs in 40 states and five countries.