June 2019
In this issue  

From the Superintendent

School is out, summer is upon us, and we're approaching the middle of 2019. It's been an exciting year so far, and I want to update everyone on a few projects we've been working on.

The five-year levy that funds our work will be on the ballot for renewal this year. As part of that process, the Hamilton County Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC), as well as an independent consulting firm, spent the first half of this year reviewing all of our operations to ensure we're providing high-quality services and responsibly managing taxpayer funding. 

In its recommendation to the Hamilton County commissioners, the committee stated, "The TLRC found that HCDDS has been a good steward over the monies provided to it through levy funds. HCDDS has operated in a manner that provides notable service, at the best cost, with the maximum impact to its clients." I'm proud of our staff for their outstanding work in supporting families in our community.

In addition to our work with the TLRC, we've focused much of our effort on pursuing the goals in our annual and strategic plans. As you know, one of our major objectives during the next several years is to grow the use of technology to promote greater independence and quality of life. Using a grant from the Ohio State University Nisonger Center and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, we formed a regional partnership with providers and other counties to create a model Smart Home.

This Smart Home allows families to see the technology in action and understand how it might fit in their own lives. This innovative project has garnered significant local media attention, and we're seeing more families take advantage of this service. Since the Smart Home opened in March, nearly 400 people have taken a tour. Although the grant is coming to an end, we plan to partner with additional technology vendors and continue to offer tours of the Smart Home. You can learn more here.

In the second half of 2019, we'll continue to explore new ways we can support families, including through a new respite program that we'll detail soon. We'll also be launching an online housing options guide to assist families as they plan for the future and explore different housing options for their loved ones. You can learn more about this new tool at the next Home Think Tank, which will be at our Support Center on July 24.


Alice Pavey
Our 2018 Report to the Community highlights our achievements last year.  Each section focuses on a different aspect of how we support people and provides data points, service descriptions, and success stories.  Click here to view our annual report. Please email us if you would like a printed copy .

Tornado relief efforts

The Montgomery County Board of DD has established a special relief fund to help 179 people with developmental disabilities affected by tornadoes over Memorial Day weekend. Donations to this fund will help people find new housing and replace personal belongings.
To donate electronically by credit card through the foundation's website, click here. For details on donating via check, click here. 
Free meals at the library

The Cincinnati Library will be offering free meals and snacks at select locations this summer.  Meals and snacks will be served Monday-Friday, June 3 through Aug. 16 at participating locations.This program is available  to all children aged 18 and under. 

For a list of participating library locations, dates and times, please  click here
A Shining Star at Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center kathywillis
Kathy Willis receiving the first-ever Shining Star award
Kathy Willis, right, with her audiologist, Nancy Mills.
Photos provided

Congratulations to Kathy Willis, the first-ever recipient of the Shining Star award from the Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center of Greater Cincinnati! This award recognizes a client who is dedicated and working hard to meet their goals in speech therapy.

Willis has had lifelong communication challenges but has been thriving and making great strides since receiving hearing aids and starting speech therapy. She was asked to speak at the May 16 gala because her achievements made an impression on the staff, and she wanted to encourage others to work hard to meet their goals.

Staff at the Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center kept the award secret until the gala, and Willis "felt very surprised and very happy" when she received it. "I would tell others, don't give up - you can do it," she said.

Willis loves learning new speech skills and practices every day, said Jeanine Caudill, an independent provider who works with her. 

" It's pretty hard to see Kathy in action practicing her speech and not be inspired myself," Caudill said. "Communication is vital for having a full life and Kathy seems to know this intuitively. Her hard work and determination to communicate more fully has given her much joy and has had a positive impact on everyone around her."


May We Help, a nonprofit organization that creates adaptive devices,  will host an upcoming equipment swap from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, July 14. Individuals will be able to receive donated equipment free of charge.  

Available equipment includes wheelchairs, walkers, gait trainers, standers, strollers, lifts, therapeutic bikes, and more. To donate equipment contact May We Help  via email or call (513) 834-6443. 
Services Spotlight - MUI

Keeping people we support healthy and safe is our highest priority. The Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services' Major Unusual Incident and Prevention team investigates reports of abuse, neglect, theft and other incidents against people with developmental disabilities.

Learn more on our website.
Services Spotlight is a new feature to share  more information about HCDDS services.
Abilities at Bat - July 26baseball
We're excited to partner with the  Cincinnati Reds  and  LADD to raise awareness and celebrate the lives and stories of those living with disabilities.

Join us Friday, July 26 for the 6:40 p.m. game vs. the Colorado Rockies. Pregame festivities will feature local leaders living with disabilities. Stay after the game for the free post-game fireworks show and post-game concert, featuring Zedd!

Two ticket options available:  TriHealth Riverboat Deck Ticket Package ($54) and  Outer Mezzanine Ticket Package ($20)

A portion of ticket sales will benefit a variety of local organizations supporting people with disabilities.  Learn more and buy tickets at reds.com/AbilitiesAtBat  
Let Ohio Hear initiative  

The family of one of our board members, Alan Abes, is working on an initiative to improve access to hearing aids for children in Ohio.

Their son Harrison was born with Down syndrome and didn't have any problems with his hearing initially, said Monica Schneider, Harrison's mom. But when he was about 5, he developed a hole in his eardrum that made him hard of hearing.

Schneider is working with Karen Klugo to urge state lawmakers to pass House

Bill 243, a measure that would require health insurance to cover hearing aids and related services for children until the age of 22.


Read more about this initiative in this story from WCPO.
Technology & Independence
Beth and Susie recently talked with Ann Thompson about how they use technology to live independently while also having support they need.

"It took me time to get used to it, but I like it," said Susie.

Remote support allows the roommates to video chat with a staff person when they have concerns or need something. It also allows staff to check in if a sensor goes off.

A variety of assistive technology can be tailored to meet each person's needs and can be viewed at the regional Smart Home in Lebanon.

Listen to the story on the WVXU website.

  • Zoo Access for All Day9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 at the Cincinnati Zoo Click here for information. 
  • Family Advisory Council. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 26 at Delaware Board of DD. Hear from family members about the issues that affect their lives. Click here to register or stream on Facebook Live.
  • Special Needs Family Night. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, June 28 at the Norwood Branch Library. For families with children and youth with special needs. 
  • Marjorie Book Continuing Education Presents "Major Braggart." 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday, June 28-30 at Little Brothers-Friends of the ElderlyFeaturing a cast of actors with and without DD. Performances will be audio described for the visually impaired. For information, please click here
  • Independence Day. Thursday-Friday, July 4-5. All HCDDS offices are closed.
  • Inclusive Contemporary Arts Center Tour. 12:15-3 p.m. Sunday, July 2. Take an inclusive and interactive tour of the Contemporary Arts Center! For more information, please click here
  • Provider Forum. 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 3 at the HCDDS Kingsley office. A meeting for independent or agency providers in Hamilton County to learn about important local, state and federal updates, guest speakers and more. Provider Forums are also streamed live on YouTube for those who cannot attend in person.
  • Toilet Training for Children with DD. Monday, Jul. 8 & 15 at the Children's Hospital Medical Building. This two-day educational training coaches caregivers through toilet training for their child with DD. For more information, click here
  • Transition Bootcamp: Financial Planning. 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 9 at Children's Hospital Medical Building. Booster sessions provide information on the transition from school to adult life for youth with disabilities. For information, please click here.
  • ARC-People First of Ohio Summer Conference. 10 a.m. Friday-Saturday, July 12-13 at Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center. Hear from Director Jeff Davis as he shares his vision for this new administration. Click here for more information. 
  • Memory CafĂ©. 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 15 at the Blue Ash Branch. This is a place for people with Alzheimer's or dementia and their care partners. For more information, please click here
  • Building Resiliency through Relationships in Community & Employment Settings. 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, July 17 at Ohio Means Jobs Butler County. Designed for providers supporting individuals in day and pre-vocational programs. For more information, please click here
  • Home Think Tank. 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, July 24 at HCDDS. Learn the pros and cons of nine housing options. For more information, please click here
  • Cincinnati Reds Abilities at Bat. 6:40 p.m. on Friday, July 26 at Great American Ballpark. Join the Cincinnati Reds and LADD as we celebrate the lives and stories of individuals with varying abilities. Click here for more information.