February 2017
        In this issue 
Special visitor at Fairfax School
Bobbie B. Fairfax School had a special visitor Feb. 15. Chris Ulmer, who runs Special Books by Special Kids, spent the day interviewing students, teachers and families.

Ulmer, who was a special education teacher in Florida, started his organization after a video of him complimenting his students went viral. As a teacher, he wanted others to appreciate the brilliance, humor and other unique characteristics of his students.

Special Books by Special Kid s aims to spreads empathy and understanding for individuals with a diverse range of diagnoses and experiences. "It's about acceptance, respect and seeing through a different lens," Ulmer said. "The best part of what I do is making connections with families and individuals."

Erin Grasty, a one-to-one teacher with Cincinnati Public Schools who works with students at Fairfax School, has been a fan of Special Books for Special Kids for years and urged Ulmer to visit Cincinnati after seeing a post on Facebook.

Fairfax Principal Kim Martindell said it was wonderful to see the kids interacting with him. "They used their voices and communication devices to answer questions about what makes them happy," she said. "He went at the students' pace, followed their leads and cues and really brought them out of their shells. It was evident that Chris has a special talent, and we are grateful for his time spent at Fairfax!"
The videos will be shared on the Special Books by Special Kids Facebook page in the coming months.  See more photos from his visit on the HCDDS Facebook page

ReelAbilities Film Festival brings stars to CincinnatifebReelABility

ReelAbilities is just two weeks away! This year's festival has more than 40 film screenings with diverse stories to tell, including "2E: Twice Exceptional," which f ollows middle and high school students in Los Angeles who have been identified as 'twice exceptional' -- gifted or highly gifted individuals with learning disabilities or differences; "Do You Dream in Color?" a  coming-of-age story of Connor, Nick, Sarah, and Carina, who navigate the growing pains of high school, but unlike most teens, face another challenge-blindness; "Mimi and Dona," about a 92-year-old mother, Mimi, who has cared for her daughter Dona for 64 years, and now must find her a home that supports adults with intellectual disabilities; and "Endless Abilities," about four best friends who drive across the country in search of adaptive sports for individuals like them, who have physical disabilities; plus many more wonderful films.

ReelAbilities also features workshops and events, all at the Duke Energy Center March 9-12. The festival benefits 28 local nonprofit organizations, whose work is about enriching and strengthening the lives of people who experience disability.
Learn more, find an event schedule and watch previews  on the festival website

SoARTCongratulations to all the talented artists from Kidd Adult Center,   Margaret B. Rost School and Bobbie B. Fairfax School   who won awards at the recent Special Olympics Hamilton County   art show at Northgate Mall! 

State budget proposalstateupdatesfeb

Ohio DODD Director John Martin recently testified before the Ohio House Finance Committee on increased support for  people with complex needs, rewarding providers for longevity and additional training, evaluating and expanding the use of technology, modernizing the ICF reimbursement system, and additional state-funded waivers.  

These are all part of Gov. John Kasich's state budget proposal. You can read more about the DD portion of Ohio's next budget by clicking here. Watch his testimony on the DODD YouTube page.
Independent provider rule

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities is proposing a 40-hour work week limit for independent providers. This proposed rule states it is 40 hours in total per week per Independent Provider, not 40 hours per individual the provider serves. Ohio DODD Deputy Director Lori Horvath explains the proposed rule in this video from the Jan. 25 Family Advisory Council meeting.
A public hearing was conducted on Feb. 9 and advocates from around the state spoke out against the proposal. Read more about the hearing in this article from The Columbus Dispatch

Congratulations to the Envision CITE program, which was a finalist for the 2017 Difference Makers award! The Duke Energy Children's Museum annually recognizes community honorees for having a positive impact on the lives of children and their families.cite

This program helps many families and children like Kepler, whose story you can read on the Envision website

Kepler with his CITE team members, Yolanda and Emilie at the Difference Makers award ceremony. (Photo by Envision)

This year is the 50th anniversary of Ohio's County Boards of Developmental Disabilities system. As part of the statewide campaign, we're looking for compelling stories from the community. This includes:
  • People with developmental disabilities and/or their family members who can provide insights about the evolution of developmental disabilities support over the years and what that support has meant to them
  • Employers who can share their positive experiences with hiring people with developmental disabilities over the years
  • County board leadership and staff who can provide first-hand accounts of how support, services, and attitudes have changed over the years and what the future holds
  • Taxpayers who are strong supporters of county boards and levies
  • Legislators and local officials who have been supportive of the developmental disabilities community and county boards
  • Service providers and caregivers who provide daily support to people with developmental disabilities and their families
If you or someone you know is open to sharing their story and are comfortable with being interviewed, videotaped and/or photographed, please send your name, contact information and a brief summary of your story via email to Ryan Braun or Lisa Danford

  • Guiding People through Systems. 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28. This webinar will demonstrate how to use the GPS care notebook, which allows families to organize medical and school records in one online location. Registration available online.
  • Empowering Families Symposium. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, March 3, at the Cintas Center. This event helps families access community resources, meet special education advocates and network with others who are facing similar challenges. Registration details online.
  • Common Threads Network. 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, March 8, at Crossroads Church in Mason, 990 Reading Road. As we chart a life course, the planning and exploration lead to points of action. In a "culture of coordinated supports" people of all abilities, and those with or without guardians are supported to "exercise the right to make choices." Click here to download a flier. Free for families, but registration requested.
  • Kaleidoscope: An Inclusive Community Art Exhibit. 7-9 p.m.Wednesday, March 8, at the Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road. T his art fair features works created by adults and children with disabilities to showcase their creativity and accomplishments. Click here for details.
  • Heart Mini Marathon. Sunday, March 12. Hamilton County DD Services has a team for this year's event. To join our team or donate, visit this website
  • Transition Bootcamp Booster Session: Pathways to Community Employment. 6-8 p.m. Monday, March 13, at Cincinnati Children's Medical Office Building, 3430 Burnet Ave. This session is for families and professionals who want to learn about programs and services that are able to assist in providing individualized supports.Register online
  • Advocates in Action. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at Ronald McDonald House, 350 Erkenbrecher Ave. This program is for adults with Down syndrome ages 18 and older to participate in various service projects. Click here for more details.
  • HCDDS Board Meeting. 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at the Support Center, 1520 Madison Road.
  • Autism and All Expo. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sharonville Convention Center. This free event helps  families connect with providers and other vendors to get the information they need. Click here for more information.