November 2020
Welcome, Leia! leiasessions
On Nov. 16, we officially welcomed Leia Snyder as our next superintendent! She'll work with current Superintendent Alice Pavey during a training and transition period leading to Alice's retirement at the end of the year.

During this time, Leia will also meet with advocates/people we support, families and providers.

Click here to register for one of the sessions listed below.
  • 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 - for advocates & people we support
  • 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2 - for providers
  • 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3 - for families
 We want to hear from you! Where do you get news about HCDDS? What can we do better? Please take a moment to fill out our communications survey. Your honest feedback will ensure our communications meet the needs of our varied stakeholders.
We recently partnered with the Housing Network of Hamilton County on developments to respond to critical housing gaps in our community. One project, located in Madisonville, will provide housing for those who have difficulty finding a place to live in the traditional housing market. The other project, located in Spring Grove Village, will provide respite housing. Both buildings will be licensed settings owned by the Housing Network with HCDDS serving as the license holder. 

Once complete, the Madisonville project on Bramble Avenue will provide housing for 16 individuals with disabilities. This substantial investment in the community will ensure people with disabilities have a safe, affordable, and accessible place to call home. 

When we purchased the building, the previous owner demolished 75% of its interior. The Housing Network will complete interior renovations to provide updated, quality living spaces, including new HVAC and the addition of sprinkler systems. Exterior renovations will include the removal of balconies from the front of the building, the addition of a ramp to provide access to the second floor, and landscaping improvements. Construction is expected to begin in late fall and conclude next summer.

The Spring Grove Village project on Hand Avenue will provide a respite housing option for families in Hamilton County. The location includes two single-story buildings that face each other. Once completed, each building will have four accessible one-bedroom units and a shared one. The Hand Avenue homes will provide both planned respite and emergency respite services. We plan to open this location before the end of this year.

We recently issued a request for a provider to operate the locations and selected the providers to operate each location.

Total Homecare Solutions (THS) will operate the Bramble Avenue development in Madisonville. THS has an established reputation for supporting people with developmental disabilities, including those will various behavior support needs. THS is also a leader across the state of Ohio in providing remote support services.

ViaQuest will operate the Hand Avenue development in Spring Grove Village. ViaQuest has extensive experience operating similar respite housing locations in Ohio and brings a depth of knowledge to their operation at this location. In addition, they are a certified mental health provider and are skilled in supporting people who are engaged with multiple systems.

We're excited to work with THS and ViaQuest to provide high-quality supports and respond to critical housing gaps for people in our community.

These projects reflect the commitment we made in our Strategic Plan. As part of our dedication to innovative solutions, we pledged to support creative and inclusive housing options. By taking the initiative to address housing gaps in our community, we're providing more options for people with disabilities and their families in Hamilton County.
SABE GoVoter Survey vote

The Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) GoVoter survey is now open. They're asking people with disabilities to share details about all aspects of your voting experience -- from registering to vote, getting information about candidates, the attitude of poll workers, and issues casting your ballot. 

You can take this survey if you voted on Election Day or early, either in person or by mail. 

Results are shared with election officials at the federal, state and local level, as well as with other civil rights and disability advocacy organizations.

The survey is available in English and in Spanish.  
COVID-19 updates

We continue to work together in our effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our operations remain unchanged with most of our staff continuing to work from home. We also implemented strict mask requirements and frequent cleaning.

We know many people are experiencing "virus fatigue," but we must all continue to be vigilant in our daily routines, particularly with the holidays approaching. Gov. Mike DeWine also issued a 21-day statewide curfew that began Nov. 19. 

If you're experiencing symptoms or think you may have been exposed, you can find testing locations in Hamilton County by visiting the Health Collaborative website.

Overcoming Barriers
Meet Efrain and his mom, Maria. They've been working with our Early Intervention team since he was three months old. 

The Aguilars are a Spanish-speaking family, so HCDDS developmental specialist Lindsey Jay and physical therapist Barbara Risk, worked with an interpreter who could translate conversations and during home visits.

Efrain has made tremendous progress in the past three years, despite the language barrier and safety precautions in place because of the pandemic. "Maria was wonderful with all of it," Jay said. "He doesn't use words to communicate but to see him laugh, you know how connected he is to what's going on around him."

Read the full story on our website.

Learning Aid Ohio

A new program, Learning Aid Ohio, aims to provide supplemental learning support for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) during this unique school year. 

Parents can connect to learning providers to help you and your student navigate the world of online learning, specific to their individual needs, based on the curriculum their traditional teacher sets.
Learning Aid Ohio connects tutors, aides, and in-home providers who can offer distance learning support with students who have IEPs to help promote academic success this school year.
Local partnership CMCgrant

Cincinnati Museum Center and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County recently received a grant that focuses on increasing access and removing barriers to virtual learning opportunities.

The goal is to reach pre-K through 5th grade students learning fully or partially from home and engage seniors to lessen social isolation. 

An advisory board will guide this work, and Dawn Freudenberg, director of Planning, Innovation & Quality, will represent HCDDS on this board and provide feedback to ensure these resources are accessible. 
Transitioning into the community charles
The day had come to move into a new place and Charles Cantey was excited but nervous. "I had mixed feelings, wondering if I could make it in society because I was locked up for 25 years," he said. "My team has given me hope. It seemed like they really did care - they cared about me and my life out in society." 

Since 1994, Cantey had been at Summit Behavioral Health, a state mental health hospital. This spring, his team at HCDDS re-established his eligibility, completed an assessment and enrolled him on a waiver, and found him an apartment and provider.  

A few months after moving in to his apartment, Cantey wanted to get a job and was hired at Panera Bread. "All of this transformation was driven by Charles - he has a clear direction of where he wants to go," said service & support administrator James Dalton. "He wants to move forward and we're here to support him."

Read the full story on our website.
Custom art commissioned

Contemporary artist Justin Pugh uses a drill and paint to make spin art, and Bobbie B. Fairfax students watched his videos as inspiration when making their own spin art projects. After reaching out to Pugh on TikTok, he created a custom art piece for the school, with colors picked by the students! 

Check out the video here
Transition Bootcamp

Save the date for the next Transition Bootcamp, which is set for Jan. 19-21, 2021. Families and professionals can join sessions with expert speakers, and network with providers and other caregivers to learn more about transitioning from youth to adult life in the community. 

More details coming soon. 
Find the latest information on our website
  • Autism Support Group for Parents/Caregivers. 7-8 p.m. Tuesdays. Join online for this Parent/Caregiver Support Group. Click here to learn more.
  • Zoom Connection Hour. 2-3 p.m. Tuesdays and 5-6 p.m. Wednesdays. For adults we serve who want to socialize and meet others with similar interests. Click here for details.
  • Professionals Support Group. 11-12:30 p.m. Fridays. For DD professionals to receive support and encouragement in a safe, nonjudgmental forum. Click for details. 
  • ASGC Teen Time Hangouts. 5:30-7 p.m. Fridays on Zoom. Trivia, bingo and games of all sorts can be found! Email for information.
  • Thanksgiving Day Holiday. Thursday-Friday, Nov. 26-27. All HCDDS Offices are closed. 
  • Neighbors in Action.10-11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Learn more about advocacy and discuss topics such as voting, transportation, technology & more. Learn more here.
  • Epilepsy & Device Therapies. 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7. The Epilepsy Alliance Ohio provides an educational series covering a wide range of topics. Learn more here.
  • Coping During the Pandemic Online Group Counseling. 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7.  Waybridge is offering a free psycho-education group for adults seeking coping skills. Contact Maria Vanillo to participate. 
  • SALT Talks-Understanding the ISP and Creating an Effective Life Plan. 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8Click here to register.
  • HCDDS Board Meeting. 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8 on Zoom. The board meets the second Tuesday of each month. Review the meeting agenda and obtain the Zoom link here
  • SALT Talks-Continuing the Self Advocacy Road. 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.
    Click here to register.
  • Virtual Family Q&A: Special Education, School and COVID-19. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. Free session however you must register here.
  • Deep Listening: Notice, Accept, Invite. 1-3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. This session will focus on deepening relational resilience. Click here to learn more. 
  • SALT Talks Teens-Getting to Know My Support Team. 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15. For questions and/or to participate, click here.
  • Fighting an Invisible Enemy: Building Resiliency in Those We Serve and Ourselves during COVID-19. 10-12 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. This session is free but you must register. Click here for details.  
  • HCDDS Annual Plan Public Hearing. 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 on Zoom. You will receive the link to join the hearing by email the morning of the event. Contact Dawn Freudenberg for questions. Click here to register
  • Neighbors in Action. 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17. Join to learn more about advocacy and to discuss topics such as voting, transportation & technology. Learn more here.
  • Starfire Community Story Hour. 6 -7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22. Click here to hear stories from families who have figured out creative ways to build connections in their community.
  • Christmas Day. Friday, Dec. 25. All HCDDS Offices are closed. 
  • New Year's Day. Friday, Jan. 1. All HCDDS Offices are closed.