The new Impact: Feature Issue on the ADA and People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities, from the Insititute on COmmunity Integration, University of Minnesota is now available online.
This issue marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with articles by individuals with disabilities, families, advocates, service providers, researchers, and others talking about how the ADA has made a difference in their lives, the lives of their loved ones, and in our nation. At the same time, this Impact also focuses on ways in which the ADA hasn’t fully addressed a number of the barriers faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they seek equal opportunity and inclusion in their communities. By sharing this range of perspectives, this Impact issue encourages readers to both pause to celebrate the anniversary of the ADA as a turning point in our nation’s journey, and continue traveling toward that horizon of full inclusion we have yet to reach. View the pdf version of the issue here. Get the text version.
Complementing this issue of Impact included over 40 video clips on the Institute’s website, Self Advocacy Online. Here, individuals with disabilities talk about the ADA. View the Institute’s website and video clips
If you would like a complimentary print copy of this issue of Impact email the Institute’s Publication Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-624-4512.
“Health Care and the Transition to Education and Employment”, by Teresa Nguyen and Mallory Cyr (Consumer Transition Experts, Got Transition; Past and Current LEND fellows)
Teresa Nguyen: Going to college is an exciting step toward adulthood. There you’ll learn how to manage a full course load, develop lasting friendships, participate in student activities, and take advantage of internship opportunities. It’s common for students to feel burned-out during this time, so it’s important to recognize that managing your own health care is critical for your success in college. Below are some things that I found helpful while managing my own health during college:
- When preparing for college it may be helpful to complete a readiness assessment to ensure that you are prepared and ready to start taking charge of your own health care.
- When visiting campus, make note of which health care centers/clinics are close to or on your campus. It’s essential to know who your insurance provider is and what types of services it covers so that you can make a decision about which clinic is the best fit for you.
- Even if your primary care provider will not be located on campus, get to know your student health center. Find out what services they provide – for things like updating your immunizations and filling your prescriptions, this may be more convenient to do on campus. Most student health centers also have information and resources regarding sexual health, which is also important to take into account when managing your own health care.
- It’s important to give an updated medical summary to your new health care provider. I also carried it with me on a USB flash drive in case of a medical emergency. The summary helped me remember the details of my past medical procedures and the names/doses of medications that I was taking.
- Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to your campus Office of Disability Services. As a person with a disability, I knew that it was crucial for me to have certain accommodations regarding my health in order to complete my coursework successfully. This office helps secure reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities to allow you to have equal opportunities in education. Disclosing your disability to your professors will be entirely up to you, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so if you are uncomfortable. You may find it helpful to do so, especially to allow them to maintain flexibility with you and your coursework.
Mallory Cyr: Managing your own health care once you are working is very different world than when you are in school. The focus becomes “communicating and prioritizing.”
- When beginning a new job, it is up to you how much you disclose to your employer about your health needs and what you do or do not request for accommodations. While you may not want to bring attention to your health condition, the more you explain to your manager or employer ahead of time, the more they can support you or be able to prepare for if you do need to miss work.
- Another thing that gets more complicated once you are working is balancing your medical appointments with your job. Often, providers only have office hours when you are working so it will be up to you to figure out when you schedule appointments. This also means that you will have to prioritize what providers you see. Health needs that need to be addressed may become a higher priority than a check-up or well-visit appointment. Sometimes, you may need to make the decision to take a day off with no appointments so that you can rest and make sure you are taking care of you in between medical appointments.
- Because of the limited time you may have when you are working, it is especially important that you know how to make the most of the time you do have with your providers during appointments. The tools offered at www.GotTransition.org can help you become confident in understanding your own needs and having those conversations. Their Resources page even includes a list of sites and information dedicated to Employment and Transition.
On Wednesday, October 15th, the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Delaware – in cooperation with the Delaware Departments of Health an Social Services, Education, and Vocational Rehabilitation – hosted a Disability Mentoring Day. Liz Weintraub, a policy staff from AUCD, gave the keynote address, speaking about her experiences in job-seeking and how she found her jobs though networking. She told the audience of students with disabilities, “don’t settle for just any job, just because you have a disability. Find a job that you are happy in.” After Liz spoke, the students had opportunity to job shadow at different locations in the community of Newark, Delaware, to see what kind of jobs they might like to have. Watch this video about Disability Mentoring Day here. At the end of the day, students and mentors gathered again to hear Governor Markel speak about the power of believing in people with disabilities. “Our expectation for young people with disabilities is that they get job exploration experiences like Disability Mentoring Day,” Gov. Markell said. “We know that young people who participate in such transition services are more engaged in planning their careers and will be ready for the world of work.” Watch a Q&A with Governor Markell.
WorkSupport.com is a web portal from Virginia Commonwealth University that highlights and compiles the research and resources from projects across the university related to employment for people with disabilities. This includes the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities, Autism Center for Excellence, Collaborative Career Planning for Students with ASD, and the Center on Transition to Employment for Youth with Disabilities.
It includes video content and continuing education, like the video below about how to implement fading job place supports.
Virginia Commonwealth University Partnership for People with Disabilities is part of the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities supported by AUCD.
On May 29, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signed legislation to make Alaska an “Employment First” state and ensure that state agencies and school districts prioritize employment as a first option for individuals with disabilities. Learn more on the Alaska.gov announcement.
Across the nation, AUCD network members are implementing programs or conducting research to improve transition outcomes for youth with disabilities. Here are a few examples from around the nation.
Central Indiana’s Franklin College is welcoming five high school students with intellectual disabilities to its campus this semester, thanks in part to a grant from Indiana University’s Institute on Disability and Community. The institute, a partner in the Indiana Postsecondary Education Coalition, creates programs on Indiana campuses that give students with intellectual disabilities a chance to participate in college life and obtain hands-on work experience before they begin applying for jobs in their communities. This month, students participating in Franklin’s new INSPIRE program took part in a meet-and-greet activity on campus that served to formally introduce INSPIRE — which stands for Individual Needs in Special Places to Increase Relevant Work Experience — to Franklin College faculty, staff and fellow students. “INSPIRE will help us get experience to get a job and help us take care of ourselves for the rest of our lives,” said Richie Olopade, a student from Center Grove High School.
Ten members of the Rural Institute Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) traveled to Billings, Montana, in November for the 2013 Montana Youth in Transition Conference. Young adult CAC members presented three workshops (“Living on Your Own,” “Let’s Talk about Money!” and “The Missing Therapy – Mental Health”); co-presented with MonTECH (the Institute’s assistive technology program) staff at an AT session; hosted information tables at the Youth and Adult Vendor Fairs; and recruited Emerging Leaders to share their stories of inclusive employment, education, housing, and/or recreation with other Montanans. Ellen Condon, Rural Institute Transition and Employment Project Director, and Kim Brown, Project Coordinator, provided planning and logistical support. Council members chose workshop topics, developed informative and interactive presentations, created visual displays for the vendor tables, and actively engaged with other conference attendees throughout the three-day event. According to Condon, “The young adults who serve on our Consumer Advisory Council are role models and mentors to transition-age youth. Through their leadership and participation in events such as this conference, they expand the vision of what the future can look like for people with even the most significant impact of disability.”
The Oregon Health and Sciences University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities has launched a fully inclusive theater company as part of Emerging Leaders Northwest. Emerging Leaders Players (ELP) is the first fully inclusive West Coast-based theater group for youth and adolescents (ages 13-30) with and without disabilities that live in and nearby Portland, Oregon. Emerging Leaders Northwest (ELNW) offers community and web-based information, training and self-advocacy through its resource center and provides leadership skills for youth with disabilities. ELNW trainings and events focus on living a healthy lifestyle, having healthy relationships, graduating from high school and going on to college, standing up for your rights, living independently and getting a job. More than 1,000 youths with disabilities throughout Oregon have participated in training and events put on by ELNW since the program was founded in the fall of 2007.
Training, Resources and Information for the Advancement of Disability (TRIAD) Service AmeriCorps is an inclusive service program through the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. TRIAD Service AmeriCorps focuses on assisting students with disabilities in the transition to adulthood. This transition includes national service, employment, postsecondary education, adult healthcare services and more. Last spring, the TRIAD Service AmeriCorps project at the University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies took on a project to help clean up their community after an F-4 tornado hi the Hattiesburg campus.
The Path To Independence Project is a collaborative effort of the University of Nevada at Reno Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED), the University of Nevada Reno Extended Studies Department, the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR), and Sierra Regional Center (SRC). It is based on the national Think College model, which supports students with intellectual/developmental disabilities to have a college experience. It is a two-year, non-degree certificate program. The Path To Independence pilot project enrolled its first student at UNR in Fall 2013. During Year Two, Path To Independence staff will work with each student and their family to develop a customized employment vocational profile and plan. Students will develop a portfolio. Job developers will work in conjunction with BVR to find on- and off-campus internships and employment for students in areas of career interest. Competitive Employment is the expected outcome for each student.
The Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives project has partnered with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Tennessee to help young adults with developmental disabilities learn about the music business and gain job skills. Over the eight-month series, participants will experience aspects of the music business, from song writing to mixing instrumentals and vocals, from recording to public relations to performance. Workshops will include resumé writing, networking, and interviewing. The aim is to help prepare these young adults for internships or jobs in a music-related field.”We’re thrilled at the fantastic opportunity that ACM Lifting Lives Series at Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is providing,” said Elisabeth Dykens, director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and co-director of its University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. “Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are significantly unemployed or underemployed, when they have so much to offer. Helping to raise employment aspirations and develop employment skills are a high priority at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. ACM Lifting Lives and so many associated with Nashville’s entertainment industry are making a huge difference by providing these vocational experiences.”
President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposes significant investments across the department to facilitate transitions to adulthood for vulnerable youth.
Healthy Transitions. The Budget includes $20 million to continue the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Healthy Transitions program to assist 16 to 25 year-olds with mental illnesses and their families in accessing and navigating behavioral health treatment systems.
Youth Transition Initiative The President proposes a new $5 million Youth Transitions Initiative aimed at helping youth with intellectual or developmental disabilities transition into post-secondary education and employment. This initiative will provide grants to replicate and evaluate the outcomes of programs that have shown promising employment results for youth with I/DD and include the collaboration of Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports (LTSS), vocational rehabilitation, Social Security, and education systems. The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) will lead the initiative, which specifically seeks to:
- Promote innovative utilization of health and LTSS in coordination with education, vocational rehabilitation, and employment services
- Encourage integration of health and LTSS transition planning into secondary and post-secondary education programs
- Provide technical assistance and training to ensure integration of health and LTSS with educational, vocational rehabilitation and employment services
- Establish and implement a coordinated federal evaluation agenda to ensure that outcomes across systems are measured and reported
Psychosocial Interventions for Children in the Child Welfare System The budget proposes a new five-year demonstration project between ACF and CMS to provide evidence-based psychosocial interventions to children and youth in the foster care system to reduce the over-prescription of psychotropic medications and to improve outcomes for these youth. Over five years, this program would include $250 million from ACF and $500 million from CMS. The funding would build capacity in the child welfare workforce, provide reliable screening and assessment tools, enhance coordination between child welfare and Medicaid, and provide training for foster and adoptive parents, guardians, and judges.
In 2012, the AUCD network came together to produce recommendations for a collaborative interagency, interdisciplinary approach to transition from adolescence to adulthood. Directors and staff of the networks of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Centers and the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities programs produced a report and accompanying workbook for faculty, staff, trainees, individuals with disabilities, and family members in these two networks as well as policy makers and partners in local and state disability organizations and agencies. The project aims to promote a dialogue among key stakeholders and to facilitate their engagement in pursuing a more comprehensive, coordinated, supportive, and successful transition process for youth with disabilities from adolescence to young adulthood.
The project promotes four core concepts
that are essential to the development and implementation of effective transition plans and process.
- Self-determination should be the foundation for transition planning.
- Transition should be viewed through a cultural lens.
- Interagency collaboration is essential to effective transition.
- Transition planning should include all the perspectives, disciplines, and organizations that will impact the transitioning student.
Ohio Special Initiatives by Brothers and Sisters (SIBS) – with support from the Nisonger Center (a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities) and the Ohio DD Council – has taken a unique approach to helping young people with disabilities navigate the transition process. Each spring they invite siblings with and without disabilities to participate in a retreat to learn about the transition process, get to know their sibling better,and prepare for the future. Time is spent doing team building activities, enjoying the out doors, and developing ideas and plans for the future. Having just completed its third year, Sibs Looking Forward utilizes adult siblings and graduate student trainees as counselors and role models. Ohio SIBS is one of the oldest siblings organizations in the US and a founding chapter of the Sibling Leadership Network.
At the annual meeting of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Senator Harkin spoke about his vision for the disability community and the goals he thinks the community should pursue. To learn more about those goals, read Senator Harkin’s remarks.