March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions people with developmental disabilities make to our society.
The National Association of Councils on Developmental
Disabilities (NACDD), Association of University Centers on
Disabilities and National Disability Rights Network have
partnered to launch a social media campaign called “Life Side-by-Side” to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.
The RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) and the RI Cross Disability Coalition became involved with this project a year ago and shared some stories of people in RI. We are also involved this year and want to share even more success stories of individuals! So anyone who wants to join in, jump in and help us spread the word about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month!
The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life, tell the personal stories of people who live with a disability and how they are involved in their communities as well as the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to their communities. Throughout the month, the Council and NACDD will be posting resources from various DD Council and states on social media including videos, blogs, toolkits and other shareable content.
You can be a part of this campaign by:
- Submitting to the RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) any stories (just a couple of short paragraphs), photos, videos, and/or blogs that we can share with NACDD about an individual with a disability who is involved and connected in the community
- Download a “Life Side by Side” graphics to use on social media or in your e-mail signature.
Visit the #DDAwareness17 page for more information on the campaign.
For more information about the campaign or if you have any questions contact Sue Babin or Tanja Blicker-Ucran at RIDDC at 737-1238
The Department of BHDDH, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), will be holding two open community forums in February 2017. The first forum is specifically for individuals and families involved with self-directed supports and the second one for all other persons.
The Forums are typically held quarterly. They are an opportunity for people with disabilities, families, advocates, providers and other interested persons to meet with the director and leadership staff from the department, hear about updates on different policies, topics and various initiatives. It is also an opportunity for you to provide some feedback and ask questions.
Please save the following dates and times. You can click here to check for updates on the BHDDH website.
February 6, 2017 – Self-Directed Individuals and their Families
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Cranston Senior Center
1070 Cranston Street
February 9, 2017 – All Other Individuals and Families
4:00 – 6:00 PM
North Providence Senior Center
2 Atlantic Blvd
North Providence, RI
James Boucher and Susan Raposo, from West Bay Residential Services, Inc., put their heads together and came up with the idea of starting a creative poetry class about 7-8 years ago. It started with a few people coming together to talk about different topics on “Thursdays at 2” and then just expanded!
According to Susan they put pieces of paper on the wall, picked a Topic for the day and people brainstormed ideas to develop some poetry. It got everyone involved, laughing and having fun! The group even dreamed about the possibility of someday publishing a book of their favorite poems.
And then it happened! Two years ago Susan met Tracey Karner, an author and publisher, from RI, who became very interested in the group. She volunteered her time to help people in the poetry class to really develop their creative talents to publish a book on their best poems. In September 2016 there was a Release Party and book signing at Barrington Books. 66 copies of the book were sold!
The “Thursdays at 2” group has done public readings at The Elephant Tea Room, Kent Regency, Garden City Corner Bakery and other community locations. Last Monday, January 9, 2016 they gave a well-received presentation at the RI Cross Disability Coalition. Susan facilitated a process where members of the Coalition developed a poem about “Snow”.
Poet Corrine Charlette told everyone that she really enjoys “Thursdays at 2” because it has helped her to meet people, overcome some shyness and poetry is a lot of FUN!
Supreme Court Considers How Schools Support Students With Disabilities
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a dispute that advocates describe as the most important case involving public school special education in three decades.
At issue is whether federal law requires public schools to provide more than the bare minimum in special services for children with disabilities. The court’s ruling could have a profound effect on millions of children.
How US Supreme Court Cases could Reshape Special Education
In a year without many landmark cases, two cases provide the high court an opportunity to significantly reshape how American schools educate students diagnosed with disabilities.
The high court heard arguments Wednesday in what experts say is the most important special education case to come before the justices in almost 25 years. The case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, will revisit the knotty question of what quality of education school districts must provide their disabled students.
The court heard arguments two months ago in another special education case, Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, that questions when the parents of disabled students can seek damages from a school district in federal court.
Kerri Zanchi, a former high-level developmental disability service official in Massachusetts, has been named Rhode Island’s Director of Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH).
Zanchi, who has past ties to Rhode Island, begins her job here Jan. 23, according to Rebecca Boss, acting director of BHDDH.