Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

Finding Your Way Around

TO SEE OTHER'S INPUT: below each post on the right, click "links to this post;" or in the left side column, under "Labels," click the discussion link that interests you.

If there is no comment box below the post, click on
"# comments." It should open one.

TO CONTRIBUTE: add comments to posts in comment boxes &/or submit an article. Comments may also be sent for posting on your behalf. Email address as follows:

EMAIL: ddexchanges@gmail.com

MAILING LIST: add or remove name:
send request to email address, above.

WEB LINKS: to access other websites of interest, in the list to the right, just click on the underlined name.

FOLLOWERS: interested people, websites, organizations, businesses
who follow our discussions & choose to be public about their support.
Become a follower. Public support is a good thing!

Saturday, April 17, 2010



A $3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation School‐to‐Community Transition Project of the Walmart Foundation will help support a new initiative to help youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The money will be shared nationwide by 45 local chapters of The ARC, including the ARC of Washington State.

To learn if your state chapter is participating, see the PDF press release which can be accessed from http://www.arcwa.org/. Currently, it is the top news story on this ARC homepage list.

According to a April 7 press release:
"The project aims to increase transition outcomes
& to build inclusion and involvement of youth with intellectual
& developmental disabilities in independent living,
employment, post‐secondary education or vocational training, and
community, social and civic affairs."


The Washington State 2010 Supplemental Budget has been released after a long, extended session. It now remains for our governor to sign it or send it back.

Readers from other states are invited to submit lists for their own states similar to the one, below, for Washington. It could give us all a sense of being part of something bigger and some orientation related to how our states compare.

Washington State:
State run-residential habilitation centers (RHCs)
Bad news:
~ 1% across-the- board cut over and above deep cuts sustained last year.
Good news:
~ only a 1% across-the-board cut and not the closure of 2 facilities as had been proposed at the onset of the session.
Neutral news:
~Funding is provided to the Office of Financial Management to conduct assessment of individual resident needs at each residential habilitation center. The reason this is neutral news is that RHC resident-centered, minutely detailed, needs assessments are done routinely as required by Federal law.

In home services:
Bad news: net 300,000 hour cut additional home care service cuts:
Good news: this represented a partial restoration; (It is too complicated for this list)

Bad news: $.13/hour decrease in agency in-home provider pay (about $52/year).
Good news: ~Authorization to add some people to the home and community based waiver services program

Bad news: elimination of the Home Care Quality Authority

Out-of-home "community" placement
Good News
~ Funding for Expanded "community" residential services with faster phase-in for those listed in this biennium's budget.

Staffing, equipment and service
Bad news
~continued freeze on state hiring, salaries, equipment and personal services contracts.
~requires layoffs and compensation of exempt and Washington Management Services employees (plan has not been developed.) ("Washington Management Services" is on the order of a union for management.)

Work & day programs
Bad news:
~Elimination of County funding for Jobs 21 partnership
Good News
~Additional funds for employment and day programs for students with dd leaving high school
~See next blog entry for unrelated new funding for employment & day programs for these youth.

Dental and healthcare services:
Bad News:
~ The Federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) budget reduces payment for dental services.
Good News:
~Other services were not cut.

How do you anticipate these changes affecting you or your loved ones, students, patients or clients?

Thanks in advance for sharing!

********VISION: DDexchange********

What Would You Like?

I am not sure how many are visiting here, so far. Probably, I will need to repeat this, or variations of it, as our numbers increase.

My hope for Developmental Disabilities Exchange is to establish a dynamic conversation, maybe many, on the subjects of improving what is available for people with developmental disabilities.

In our state, much focus has been on a long-standing, limited and very limiting debate as to whether state-run campuses known as "residential habilitation centers" (RHCs) should be allowed to continue to exist. I think it is a very sad state of affairs that so much effort goes into closing excellent facilities that are needed and preferred by their residents and their representatives. But, that debate is NOT what this blog is about.

It is about everything else that pertains to the subject of life-styles, choices and resources for people with dd, their families and communities.

Discussing what is not optimal about any given service delivery system, living arrangement or other support, from the perspectives of it's consumers, service providers, direct caregivers and teachers and neighbors, alike, is encouraged when it is framed as a request for constructive ideas for improvement or a clear request for empathetic support. Conversely, in the interest of avoiding becoming a battlefield, taking pokes at other systems and resources with which one has no direct experience is discouraged. Praise of something you, your loved one with dd or your clients/students experience as working wonderfully is very much encouraged.

Participation of members of the larger communities to which people with dd belong is also encouraged. Many of us are so used to considering the needs of people with dd that we can fail to take into account how the needs of others are impacted by our needs or those of our loved ones. I think it is important and helpful to see our lives & those of folks we may represent or provide service to in the context of the larger community.

Sharing of news & giving/receiving support is part of every community; I see ddexchange participants, collectively, as having the potential to become a very rich community, nationwide.

Ultimately, this blog can serve to broaden all of our perspectives on what is needed and what is possible to achieve by and on behalf of people with dd. We could even come together, eventually to create models that do not exist yet, models that optimize people's ability to receive help and support that is geared to their choices and the needs they or their representatives identify for them. Who knows, with the comprehensive reach of the internet, we probably even have among us people with the ability to create new financial systems to support innovations we co-create!

So, here we are at the beginning. We can go in any direction we choose, build on each subject introduced. I have been thinking about how to make this happen & I am wide open to ideas.

What can you envision? What subjects are of interest to you? What needs do you, your loved ones with dd or your clients, patients or students have that could use some fresh air and discussion, maybe, ultimately, improvement? Or what else would you like to share?

I will be moderating, at least for a while. Progressively, we will have other primary bloggers, possibly in time, each moderating for a subject or on behalf of groups of people whose needs are similar. I am not sure, yet, as I really want the blog to represent what is wanted by participants. Also, the format allows for "pages", so when there is enough participation about different subjects, there can be different pages for each. For now, to respond to something someone else has said, just write in the "comment" box, below each blog section (click "comments" to open the box). When you have something to share that is not a direct comment to something I or someone else has blogged, just send it to me by email at ddexchanges@gmail.net .

Also, it would really help the process if you would sign up to become a member so we could have a sense of how many people are participating. Even if you don't comment, it would help us know that we were being read.

Saskia Davis

***********LIFE IMITATES ART**********

8th Annual Sprout Film Festival
"Making The Invisible Visible"
April 30th-May 2nd, 2010

"NEW YORK, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 8th Annual Sprout Film Festival invites the general public to experience a film festival which showcases the lives, performances, and accomplishments of people with developmental disabilities. Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art over the weekend of April 30th-May 2nd, 2010 the Sprout Film Festival will present 32 films from 11 countries in 16 programs along with a photo exhibit by famous photographer Mary Ellen Mark called 'Extraordinary Child.

The slogan "making the invisible visible" has been the goal for the festival since it first began in 2003. Sprout is bringing awareness to the unseen, unheard population of people with developmental disabilities including Autism, Down Syndrome and Mental Retardation. Aiming to reinforce accurate portrayals of people with developmental disabilities, films selected for the festival are entertaining, memorable and enlightening. The films focus on real life challenges and issues ranging from relationships, marriage, self-esteem, self-advocacy through sexual desires and general acceptance to fit in a world where persons are often treated as second class citizens."

For more details: Click here: making the invisible visible:' Life Imitates Art at The 8th Annual Sprout Film Festival -- NEW YORK, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

"In addition to our annual festival in NYC, the festival also tours the country screening an ever-growing selection of films to areas throughout the US. www.sprouttouringfilmfestival.org: