NASP logo.png

In recognition of Developmental Disabilities Month, meet someone who uses NorthStar Services.

Go Rachel!

Be sure to follow NASP's Facebook page for more uplifting content HERE.


 Inside Hands of Heartland, budding artists work on all sorts of creative projects, from door hangers to pottery. Hands of Heartland offers a wide variety of programming for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including day services at a Makerspace in the organization's Bellevue location. While the facility is bustling on the Monday afternoon when we visit, it faced major pandemic challenges over the past year, from limited in-person access to closing down altogether. President of Operations Brett Samson said that had a big impact. "The art skills are great, but really it's about being around people, being out into the community," Samson said.

Tony Green, Division of Developmental Disabilities Director for Nebraska's Health Department, said programs for the 5,000 people they serve had to go virtual or were significantly limited in capacity. "I mean, this last year has been tough on folks, the isolation," Green said, "We're just glad that this day is finally here that we can start welcoming our folks back into their communities and with their friends."

Both Green and Samson said a big factor in this shift back to pre-pandemic operations, is vaccines. "Vaccinations are really what allowed us to feel comfortable starting to open back up and getting more close to normal" Samson said.

Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services held special clinics for this population. "The vaccination rates for folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities that we're aware of, that participate in our programming, is actually higher than the general population numbers that we're seeing today, which is really good," Green said.

Nicole Bell attends day services at Hands of Heartland, and she's gotten her vaccine.

"It was kind of hard some days, being stuck at home, trying to find different things to do," Nicole said. Not only has she been able to participate in in-person activities at Hands of Heartland, they've also begun to venture out, to places like the Lied Center and local parks. "She has blossomed here, her self-confidence," said Pat Bell, Nicole's mom, "So, we were glad when it opened up, so that some of them could come back." After a long year, service providers and families alike said this moment is one to celebrate. "This has been really, really, really good," Pat said.


ICAP Training for DD Agency Providers 

April and June 2021

In light of the discussion surrounding ICAPs at our last NASP member meeting, slides from the recent DHHS trainings are available here:

Click Here to View Slides

Developmental Disabilities Service Fee Schedule Effective July 1, 2021

Interested in helping plan a Legislative Advocacy Day?

Passionate about recruiting and retaining new talent?

Have an idea for something new and needed?

Join a NASP Subcommittee!

We currently have Legislative and Employment subcommittees.

We're also open to forming new focus groups.

Join Here

Podcast: Where Policy Meets People


Backgrounder on the episode: The past year has redefined much of everyday life, including the notion of the essential worker. This episode is devoted to one type of essential worker, the Direct Support Professionals. 

Joseph MacBeth of the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals discusses opportunities to professionalize this work and PA State Representative Stephen Kinsey, a former DSP himself, talks about prioritizing public support for this workforce. DSP Edward "Gee" Culmer reflects on a 20+ year career in the field and Clara Thompson of JEVS Human Services describes the challenges of finding and keeping the workforce needed for this important work.