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!
In just the few months she has served as interim director of Rhode Island’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, Jane Gallivan has been instrumental in changing the state’s approach to providing services for individuals with intellectual challenges. On the most concrete level, she has set plans in motion to adopt an improved version of a controversial assessment – the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) – to more accurately determine the needs of clients.
With help from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Gallivan also has shifted strategies for presenting the division’s budget so that the state Budget Office and the General Assembly better understand what it means to support individuals with developmental disabilities.
The initiatives Gallivan has begun, and the tone she has set, are expected to continue after her role changes Friday, Sept. 30, to that of long-distance consultant.
The Cross Disability Coalition has been working on the development of a Speakers Bureau to provide education/training on various topics to different audiences including people with disabilities, families, advocates, agency administrators and support staff, employers and the public.
“Public Education” and “Leadership Development” are two of the Priority Areas of the Coalition. The other two areas are “Employment” and “Accessibility”.
Coalition staff Tanja Blicker-Ucran, Deanne Gagne and Jack Ringland identified Members who had an interest in the various topic areas. People met and talked about information that would be important to include. Individual Powerpoint presentations with handouts were developed for each topic area (see the flyer below) with support from DDC Staff Sue Babin and Kevin Nerney. Specific Speakers from the Coalition were then identified for each presentation.
The presentation topic areas include:
- “You Are NOT Alone!” (Bullying)
- “Life Is Good!” (What does “Independence, Productivity, Integration/Inclusion, and Self-Determination” mean to people with disabilities?)
- “Employment Can WORK For You!”
- “Let’s Talk About Money” (Financial Education)
- “Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships and Keeping Safe”
- “Understanding My Human Rights”
- “Invest in Hiring People with Disabilities”
- “Sexual Abuse Awareness”
- “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE Act)” (Tax Free Savings Accounts)
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Person Centered Planning (“What is Person Centered Planning and HOW Can I Run My Own Meeting?”)
The RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) and the Cross Disability Coalition have worked collaboratively to develop this Speakers Bureau. We are very pleased with the presentations and proud of the work completed!
The Council has provided initial funding to support the start-up of the Speakers Bureau and payment to members for presentations made.
For more specific information on any of these topic areas or if you would like to have any of these presentations scheduled for a special event, group, meeting or your agency or organization, contact:
Special Projects Coordinator, RIDDC