Your Chance to Speak Up: 2015 Public Forums for People with Disabilities

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Public Forums to Identify the Concerns of People with Disabilities and their Families

During the week of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed on July 26th), the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and many other state and non-profit agencies conduct a weeklong series of open forums to hear the concerns of people with disabilities and their families.

The forums are open for anyone to come in and speak; representatives of the sponsoring agencies will be there to listen. State policy makers and planners want to hear your concerns about current services, unmet needs, and suggestions for improving services and expanding opportunities.

Monday, July 27, 2015 | 3:45 – 5:45  PM

South Providence Library
441 Prairie Avenue
Providence

Hosted by Perspectives Corporation

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 2 – 4 PM

Warwick Public Library
600 Sandy Lane
Warwick

Hosted by the Ocean State Center for Independent Living

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6 PM

Peace Dale Library
1057 Kingstown Rd
Peace Dale

Hosted by National Multiple Sclerosis Society RI Chapter

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6  PM

Middletown Public Library
700 West Main Rd
Middletown

Hosted by Opportunities Unlimited For People With Differing Abilities

Thursday, July 30, 2015 | 1:30  – 3:30  PM

Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital
2090 Wallum Lake Rd
Pascoag

Hosted by Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital

Thursday, July 30, 2015 |  4 – 6  PM

Woonsocket Harris Public Library
303 Clinton St
Woonsocket

Hosted by RI Department of Health

Friday, July 31, 2015 | 2:45 – 4:45  PM

East Providence Public Library
41 Grove Ave
East Providence

Hosted by RI Statewide Independent Living Council and National Federation of the Blind of RI


Additional information from the governor’s Commission on Disabilities about attending the Forum:

Remarks can be made in person during the forums, faxed to 401-462-0106, e-mailed to GCD.Disabilities@gcd.ri.gov, or mailed by August 8th to:

Governor’s Commission on Disabilities
John O’ Pastore Center
41 Cherry Dale Court
Cranston, RI 02920

CART Recorders (real-time captioning) and assistive listening devices will be at all sites, courtesy of the Office of Rehabilitation Services/Assistive Technology Access Partnership. The RI Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will provide sign language interpreters for each forum.

To request information or accommodation, please call 401-462-0100 or 401-462-0101(tty) in advance; arrangements will be provided at no cost. Language interpreting is available with the Deptartment of Human Serivces and requests can be made to 401-462-2130 in advance.

When making the ADA reservation with RIde to get to and from the public forum, tell the RIde reservationist (1-800-479-6902) that this trip is for the Governor’s Commission’s Public Forums in order to guarantee your return trip, after normal RIde hours of operation. ADA fare is still applicable.

When attending the forum, please use unscented personal care products. Mild fragrances can constitute a toxic exposure for a person with an environmental illness.

Trauma Informed Care Conference Will Pave Way for RI System Transformation

On March 9, the DD Council partnered with the Sherlock Center, RIDE, DCYF and BHDDH to sponsor a one-day training on Trauma Informed Care.

We were fortunate enough to bring Joan Gillece, Ph.D., Director of SAMHSA National Center for Trauma Informed Care to RI to speak about trauma for people with developmental disabilities. In addition, Janice LeBel, Ph.D., ABPP, Director of Program Management, Child and Adolescent Services, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health spoke about the impact of trauma on the brain. Also featured was the Dan Habib film “Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Their Stories.”  Nearly 160 people attended, representing virtually every facet of care for adults and children with developmental disabilities.

The training emphasized the concept of “comfort instead of control” when treating people with a history of trauma. The day was focused on building “empathy with” rather than “sympathy for” traumatized individuals.

Feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive, with many people expressing a desire to maintain the momentum and excitement of the day in their own practice. The DD Council supports further efforts to facilitate implementation of this crucial element of treatment for traumatized individuals. We will be exploring ways to make the Trauma Informed Care concepts available to all.

Wil Beaudoin, Chairperson
RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC)


The presenters have kindly provided the materials from their presentations:

SAMHSA’s Trauma-Informed Approach: Key Assumptions and Principles, Dr. Joan Gilles

PowerPointPDF

The Neurobiological & Psychological Effects of Trauma, Dr. Janice Le Bel

PowerPoint | PDF

Moving Forward: Building Bridges Towards Systems Transformation and Making Trauma-Informed Care Real, Dr. Janice Le Bel

PowerPoint | PDF

Please note: files are large and may take some time to download

RI Bill Would Mandate Police Training Interacting with people with Disabilities in Distress

Cranston couple, whose 24-year-old autistic son was wrestled into handcuffs after an outburst on Newport’s Pell Bridge, are pushing for the mandated training.

By Lynn Arditi

Maren McBride-Beaudoin puts boots on her son André in the living room of their home in Cranston. The Beaudoin family supports a bill before the General Assembly that could help police properly approach people in mental distresss such as their son, who has autism.

The parents of a 24-year-old with severe autism are pressing state lawmakers to mandate training for police in dealing with people who have developmental disabilities or mental illnesses.

Maren McBride-Beaudoin and her husband, Wilfred Beaudoin, say legislation introduced into the General Assembly could help prevent dangerous confrontations such as the one police had with their son, André, last October. The young man had an emotional outburst in the back of his group home’s van while riding on the Pell Bridge. Police wrestled him into handcuffs and took him in a police car to the hospital.

Police maintain that they responded appropriately to the situation.

Continue reading

How New “ABLE” Accounts will Help Americans with Disabilities

Modeled after 529 college savings accounts, ABLE will offer tax advantages for people with disabilities.

By 

a woman with a child with Down SyndromeAmericans with disabilities and their families often face a myriad of financial challenges, but they will soon have a new financial vehicle allowing them to save for expenses and enjoy tax-free growth similar to 529 college savings accounts. Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act on the final hour of the final day of Congress in December, creating a new type of tax-advantaged account called an ABLE account or a 529A.

The hope is that ABLE accounts will help level the financial playing field for families raising kids with disabilities. The National Down Syndrome Society estimates that the accounts will benefit roughly 5.8 million individuals and families.

“As a country, we’ve basically said that we value saving for higher education using a 529 plan, but we don’t value saving for the basic needs that are connected to a disability,” says Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who sponsored the Senate version of the bill. “We have this bizarre and really insulting situation where a child with a disability, his or her family couldn’t save for his or her future [in a tax-advantaged account], but they could save for his or her brother or sister because they were going to university.”

Like 529 college savings accounts, ABLE accounts allow families to set aside money (up to $14,000 per person annually), and pay no taxes on that money’s growth as long as it’s used for qualified expenses. For a 529 college account, qualified educational expenses include college tuition, fees and textbooks.

The beneficiaries of an ABLE account may have more diverse needs, so those accounts allow for a broader list of qualified expenses, including special education services and tutoring, health care costs, assistive technology and housing. “[ABLE accounts] are tailored for different purposes because it covers the support, the housing, legal fees and even funeral and burial expenses,” says Dave McKelvey, a tax and business consulting partner at New York accounting firm Friedman LLP.

Read more…

Safety without Restraints: Trauma Informed Care Conference on March 9, 2015

Janice LeBel, Ph.D., ABPP and Joan Gillece, Ph.D. have long been in the forefront of a national movement to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint for people with disabilities. Their focus on trauma informed care acknowledges the fact that trauma significantly impacts many people with developmental disabilities. This training is intended to examine the effects of trauma on individuals with disabilities and those around them with the aim of creating a culture of care that is nurturing and supportive. We are thrilled to be able to bring these great speakers to RI!

This conference is sponsored by the RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC), Sherlock Center on Disabilities, RI Department of Education, RI Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, and the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Click here to view the Conference Flyer and Registration Form


Update: 3.25.15

The Conference was a resounding success! Click here to read more and access materials from the presentations.