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

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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.

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who follow our discussions & choose to be public about their support.
Become a follower. Public support is a good thing!

Saturday, March 19, 2016


See our video about RHCs.  It's just 5 minutes.  Worthwhile.  Let me know what you think.
Here are 2 links.  The first is one I saved of the original version.  The second is the same except we added a "thank you" to professional staff in order to cover help protect them from being accused of using government time to share their expert views.



RESUMING DDEXCHANGE: What's new? What's Not?

I'm back.  Almost 5 years ago, I  put DD Exchange on hold  because  my plate was too full.   Finally, I've realized  that, at the very least, even if I  don't always  have time to stay current, whenever I have time,  I can  use it as a place to chronicle what I am seeing.  

What do You think?   Probably,  most  everyone has forgotten this blog, but since you are  reading this,  please speak up in the "comment" section.  I would love to hear from You!

Rereading old posts, I find many that could be mistaken for current.  There have been surprisingly few changes. 

My sister's home:  Fircrest School (RHC) is still a great home for her and others.   I will post  our video, entitled "Protecting Our Most Vulnerable," separately.   It's about RHCs in Washington rather than just Fircrest, but Fircrest is well  represented.  New programs, such as Art, Gardening, and special communications classes   have been added.  iPads are enhancing the communications skills  and recreational pleasure of many.   Thanks to some inconvenient, but needed observations/citations by Federal auditors, RHC  residents, statewide, will be engaging in activity programs that more closely fit their needs and interests.  (RHCs are state-run, campus-based, full service,  therapeutic communities known in WA as "residential habilitation centers" and in other states as "residential centers" or "ICFs." In WA, ICF's are only one facet of RHCS.  The other is NFs, a specialized,  nursing home program.)

Sad to say, Dr. Asha Singh, Fircrest's excellent Superintendent and Medical Director of more than 20 years has retired. A nationwide search for her replacements (in each position)  is ongoing.  The interim Superintendent, Jeff Fleshner, has been terrific, but he will not be staying on. 

 The RHC closure push in WA:   Pressure continues in WA to close state-run RHCS.     Currently, Yakima Valley School is scheduled to close by forced attrition unless a current bill, which takes it's closure out of statute,  passes.   We are holding our collective breath during this overtime legislative session.

Propaganda:  After 26 years as an advocate, I thought I had become too jaded to be shocked or completely disillusioned, but  King 5,  a  Seattle TV station that was a staple in my household when I was growing up,  has proven me wrong!  They have run several video editorials (some call them "infomercials")  that they bill as "special reports." They are  designed to bias the  audience against RHCs.  Toward that end, they have used selectively misleading video footage as well as doctored photos* + not-so-clever, carefully deceptive verbal reporting  that only  just barely squeaks by the "factual" test.  If you have the stomach for them, please don't read or watch any of the editorials without going to their comment section to correct their lies.  For some reason, they require that you be signed onto facebook in order to register a comment. The series is entitled "The Last Of The Institutions" King5.com is the URL.

*Doctored photo example: I've been trying to upload the combo, but my resources
aren't up to the job.  Here is the photo that was doctored.  Now for your imagination as I describe the visual lie that was created:   King 5 CUT AWAY ALL THE COLORFUL FUN AND NATURAL BEAUTY, THEN,  INSERTED THE REMAINING RESIDENT AGAINST THE STARK CORNER OF A 3 STORY BRICK BUILDING.   Apparent intention: create a cold picture of an institution!    Frame is the name of the reporter.   I call the series, "The Frame Deceptions."  Shame on Frame.

Missing: Protective oversight for WA's vendor-owned-home residents with ID/DD:  Community-at-large residents with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) or severe physical disabilities (DD) in WA and many other places,  nationwide,  are still at high risk for abuse neglect.  There is still no protective oversight that would prevent their  abuse and neglect  in homes run by businesses contracted by DSHS.

In large part, those of us who work to keep the RHCs open do so because, historically, regular and  surprise  CMS audits have raised the standards in those facilities and  have helped to protect their residents from harm.  This level of oversight is  sorely lacking in Washington's  subsidized  system of vendor-operated, community-at-large homes.  I am told that this deficit is also a problem in many other states.

National-Including WA: The same groups are still actively pushing to close the RHCs, nationwide.  Even if we're paranoid (paraphrasing an old saw), it doesn't mean they aren't colluding to close the RHCs:   RHC closure zeolots including ARC and   the vendors it represents,  had  managed to hoodwink the Justice Department  into misinterpreting the intent of the Supreme Court  Olmstead decision. Olmstead explicitly does not require institutional closures. What it does require is CHOICE between residential care in an institution and; a community-at-large home.   According to reports, the DOJ has visited several governor's around the country,  putting them  on notice that if they don't play ball and initiate institutional closures, their states will be audited.  Rather than face the harassment head on, some weak governors have capitulated. Other governors, who have not capitulated have had to face the combined pressure of the DOJ and the vendor supported groups as they have fought to keep their facilities open.  Many such battles are raging, nationwide.  For ongoing news, subscribe at VOR.net. 

The DOJ visited Lakeland Village School (RHC near Spokane WA), after some well-justified changes had satisfied a CMS audit.  LVS survived the DOJ.

 VOR (Formerly, the "Voice of the Retarded") (VOR is our nationwide advocacy group for people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) Advocacy includes people who live in in community-at-large homes as well as those who live in RHCs.  )

Tammy Hopp,  ultra-dedicated VOR  Director and Master Juggler, par excellence,   has  also moved on.  Tammie, who wore numerous, important hats at VOR, was a challenge to replace.  With the new Director, Hugo Dwyer, (whom I have found to be very responsive),   reorganization  is happening. Probably,  the result will be that the  organization will be even stronger, with several people and groups taking over the many responsibilities previously carried by Tammie. 

 Missing Costs Mislead: Cost comparisons between campus-residential, full service, therapeutic communities and community-at-large facilities continue to be based on incomplete community-at-large program data.  Such inaccuracies  lend illusory weight to assertions that RHCs are too expensive.

Please see the next post for our video entitled: "PROTECTING OUR MOST VULNERABLE".