tags: Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

On October 4, Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) resource coordinator Jenny Jones staffed the MCDD table at the seventh Biennial Trauma Conference of the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger Institute. The topic was “Addressing Trauma Across the Lifespan: A Social Justice Lens.” The conference drew approximately 250 registrants.

On October 22, MCDD project coordinator Megan Meck and MCDD trainees Peace Aguzie and Haley Eiermann staffed the MCDD table at the Kennedy Krieger Employee Health and Wellness Fair at the Institute’s Broadway Campus.

On October 30, Ken Capone, program director for People On the Go Maryland (POG), and Mat Rice, POG public policy advocate, conducted a training session for Maryland Association of Community Services front-line supervisors and trainers. The session included interactive training exercises, including round-table discussions to give participants new tools and create an open dialogue about challenges faced by front-line supervisors when training current and prospective direct-support professionals about community-based supports and services. Many of the attendees stated that along with fear of liability, one of the greatest obstacles to providing choice and control to individuals receiving supports and services is the mindset that people with disabilities need other people to do things for them, rather than a mindset of allowing them to learn to do things for themselves.

On November 6, Alyssa Thorn, Esq., staff attorney for Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), staffed the MCDD table at the Kennedy Krieger Employee Health and Wellness Fair at the Institute’s Greenspring Campus.

On November 6, Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, MCDD director of training, presented a parent workshop, “Being the Best Advocate for Your Child,” at St. Mary of the Mills School in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

On November 7, Thorn and Mallory Finn, Esq., staff attorney for Project HEAL, represented MCDD at the University of Maryland School of Law’s Career Exploration Fair.

On November 7, Tami Goldsmith, POG self-advocacy program coordinator, and Stacey Herman, MSEd, CESP, who directs Kennedy Krieger’s Postsecondary Services, presented on a panel, “Teaming Up! Collaborating for Successful Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Disabilities,” and Aguzie, Eiermann and Meck staffed a table on behalf of the MCDD at Kennedy Krieger’s “Neurodiversity in the Workplace: A Collaborative Conference Event.”

On November 9, Jones staffed the MCDD resource table at “Stop Waiting and Start Planning,” Howard County’s sixth annual Transition Symposium. The all-day event was held at Wilde Lake Middle School in Columbia, Maryland.

On November 11, the Maryland chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) was reinstated and signed in four new officers and three new general board members. Three of the Institute’s staff members will hold officer roles, including Herman (president), Goldsmith (treasurer) and Meck (secretary). Tina Schmitt, MA, SHRM-SCP, CHCR, PHR, business liaison for Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute and talent acquisition and retention manager for Kennedy Krieger, will hold a position as a general board member. Members of Full Circle Employment Solutions; Seeking Employment, Equality and Community (SEEC); and other Maryland organizations have also joined the board. The Maryland APSE leads in the advancement of equitable employment for people with disabilities in the state of Maryland.

From November 13 to 15, MCDD and Kennedy Krieger’s Postsecondary Services hosted a three-day training workshop, “Becoming a Sexuality Educator and Trainer,” by Katherine McLaughlin, MEd, of Elevatus Training. Twelve faculty and staff members participated.

On November 14, Thorn presented “Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities” at The Arc Central Chesapeake Region’s transition series in Salisbury, Maryland.

From November 17 to 20, MCDD and Kennedy Krieger staff members attended the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) annual conference in Washington, D.C. This year’s conference theme was “Leading Change Together.”

MCDD and Kennedy Krieger staff members at the 2019 AUCD conference

On November 18, Finn and Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, director of MCDD and Project HEAL, delivered a poster presentation, “An Innovative Approach to Meet the Civil Legal Needs of Young Adults with Disabilities,” at the AUCD conference in Washington, D.C.

On November 19, Herman, Meck and Rebecca March, EdD, coordinator for Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute, delivered a poster presentation, “Neurodiversity in the Workplace,” at the AUCD conference in Washington, D.C.

On November 19, Ofonedu delivered a concurrent session, “Cultural Perspectives on Disability: Implications for Health and Human Rights,” at the AUCD conference in Washington, D.C.

On November 19, Herman; van Stone; Kennedy Krieger social worker Carrie Cleveland, MSW, LMSW; Barbara Obst, MS, BSN, RN, project coordinator for the Specialized Health Needs Interagency Collaboration Project; and Kennedy Krieger nursing staff educator Paula Reber, MEd RN CRRN, delivered a concurrent session, “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Address Sexual Health Education Across Disabilities and the Lifespan,” at the AUCD conference in Washington, D.C.

On November 19, Jones gave a presentation to trainees of Kennedy Krieger’s Social Work Department about MCDD’s core functions, with additional focus on how and where to find resources.

On November 20, MCDD trainees Aguzie and Eiermann staffed a Project HEAL resource table at Battle Monument School’s Special Education Resource Fair.

On November 20, Ofonedu participated in a presentation meeting on creating inclusive education in the Global South with World Bank staff members and AUCD international committee members at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

On December 2, Finn, van Stone and Thorn represented MCDD at Battle Monument School’s resource fair.

On December 2, Thorn received The Daily Record’s Leading Women award in a ceremony held at the Westin Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland.

On December 4, Project HEAL welcomed a new unpaid advocate, Lisa Banks, JD, MPH, an attorney licensed in California and entering the field of special education law in Maryland.

COPAA presenters

On December 6, van Stone, along with Denise Marshall and Selene Almazan from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA), delivered a presentation, “Factors that Exacerbate the Continued Segregation of Students with Disabilities,” at the TASH Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. (Pictured, right)

Kayla Benson, Dr. Andrew Zabel, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Dr. Mirian Ofonedu, Jenny Jones and Amber Surveski at the Enoch Pratt Central Library in Baltimore, Maryland

On December 13, Jones and Ofonedu participated in a collaboration meeting at the Enoch Pratt Central Library in Baltimore, with library staff members and other Kennedy Krieger staff and faculty members. After the meeting, the group received a library tour and had the opportunity to meet Senator Barbara Mikulski. (Pictured, left)

On January 14, Thorn gave an overview on Project HEAL to staff members of Kennedy Krieger’s Psychiatric Mental Health Program. The presentation was held at Kennedy Krieger’s Arnold J. Capute, MD, MPH, Conference Center at 1741 Ashland Avenue.

On January 23, Goldsmith, Rice, Thorn and Eve Lukowski, MCDD administrative services coordinator, participated in The Arc Baltimore’s Advocacy 101. The event included dinner for all attendees and the opportunity to meet, one on one, with advocacy-focused vendors.

On January 23, Rice was named chair of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) Quality Advisory Council. The council was established to assist in the review of DDA-related materials, to provide guidance on validity of information and best practices, and to find resolutions. He will serve a three-year term.

On January 29, Capone co-presented a session with Nicole Jorwic, JD, senior director of public policy at The Arc of the United States, at the LIFE Conference in Dover, Delaware. Their presentation, “National Policy: What Is Happening on the Hill?,” focused on long-term services and supports and competitive employment, which are fundamental to people with disabilities.

On January 30, Thorn presented a lunch-and-learn employee workshop, “Guardianship and Its Alternatives,” at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger’s Greenspring campus.

Mallory Finn, Alyssa Thorn and Maureen van Stone at The Daily Record’s Leading Women Award ceremony

In February, Thorn was one of 12 women from across Maryland to be selected by The Daily Record for its “Women Who Lead” 2020 initiative. The program began in February and will wrap up in December. Thorn will represent the MCDD and Kennedy Krieger at all initiative events throughout the year. (Pictured, right)

On February 1, Finn and Thorn gave an overview presentation on individualized education programs to families and community members at the Kinera Foundation in Stevensville, Maryland.

On February 4, Ofonedu chaired a panel, “Challenging Common Perspectives on Disabilities,” at a Kennedy Krieger Core Course Curriculum presentation in Baltimore, Maryland. Rice and Julia Chavez, BA, MA, service planning coordinator for Kennedy Krieger’s Child and Family Support Center, were among the panelists.

On February 4, Ofonedu participated in and presented a program spotlight at the AUCD Sexual Health SIG Quarterly Meeting.

February 12 was Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities (DD) Day at the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis. MCDD staff members and trainees attended workshops and met with legislators and their staff members to discuss the latest topics and critical issues in disability policy.

On February 13, Thorn represented MCDD as an exhibitor at the University of Baltimore School of Law Public Service Career Fair.

On February 21 and 22, Ofonedu participated in the American Psychological Association Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37) mid-winter executive board meeting in San Diego, California.

Attendees at the Red Star fundraiser

On February 27, a Project HEAL Restaurant Night fundraiser was held at The Red Star in Fell’s Point. The event raised more than $4,500 in unrestricted funds to benefit Project HEAL. (Pictured, right)

On March 2, van Stone gave a guest lecture for the course “Evidence and Opportunities to Mitigate Childhood Adversity and Promote Well-Being” at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The presentation focused on three issues regarding mitigating childhood adversity in Maryland: pre-K through second grade suspension bans, restraint and seclusion practices, and due process hearings.

On March 2, van Stone gave a guest lecture for the Senior Seminar in Disability Policy at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. The presentation focused on restraint and seclusion.

On March 7, while attending the 22nd annual COPAA Conference, held in Baltimore, Maryland, Finn, van Stone and Thorn presented “Bringing Legislation on Cameras in Classrooms into Focus.”

Ofonedu recently coordinated efforts to establish a new special-interest group for the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37) of the American Psychological Association. The group is called the Diverse Racial Ethnic and Multicultural Special Interest Group (DREAM SIG).

On April 3, Ofonedu facilitated a webinar, “Suicidal Behaviors in People With Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities: Strategies for Successful Care,” for parents and professionals. The webinar was developed, in part, under a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), with the support of the Maryland Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Network (MD-SPIN).

On April 14, Finn and Thorn presented a webinar, “Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities,” to the Horizons Clinic in the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger.

On May 1, van Stone published a post, “Equitable Access to Remote Learning Is Paramount,” on AUCD Policy Talk, a blog featuring writing by both established and emerging leaders in the AUCD network and disability community about the complexities of disability policy.

On May 7, Ofonedu coordinated and facilitated an online forum, “Disability and Mental Health Challenges: How the Faith Community Can Help.” The goal of the forum was to bring together faith-based community leaders and engage them in a learning collaborative to increase their awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities, and to give them an opportunity to learn how to better support and create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for individuals with disabilities and their family members.

On May 14, Thorn gave a presentation on medical-legal partnerships as part of a panel at the 2020 Partners for Justice Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

On May 28, Finn and Thorn presented a webinar, “Disproportionate Discipline Practices in Maryland,” to Kennedy Krieger’s Behavioral Psychology Department.