The International Society for Autism Research published an article co-written by Kiely Law, MD, MPH, research director of the Autism Research and Engagement Core of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD). The article, “Psychological distress among caregivers raising a child with autism spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic,” was co-authored by Luther G. Kalb, PhD; Elena Badillo-Goicoechea, MS; Calliope Holingue, MPH, PhD; Kira E. Riehm, PhD; Johannes Thrul, PhD, MS; Elizabeth A. Stuart, PhD; Emily J. Smail, PhD; Casey White-Lehman, MA, MS; and Daniele Fallin, PhD. The article was e-published in August and published in print in early October.
On October 5, Alyssa Thorn, Esq., staff attorney for Project HEAL (Heal, Education, Advocacy, and Law) gave a professional training session, “Guardianship and Less Restrictive Alternatives,” for the Phelps Center for Cerebral Palsy at Kennedy Krieger Institute.
On October 6, Thorn and Mallory Legg, Esq., staff attorney for Project HEAL, facilitated a virtual attorney roundtable for the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), “Post-COVID-19 IEP Advocacy: Working Collaboratively with School Teams to Serve Students with Disabilities.”
Jenny Jones, Kennedy Krieger’s Resource Finder coordinator, gave a virtual presentation, “MCDD Overview,” to Kennedy Krieger inpatient nursing faculty and staff members on October 11.
On October 16, MCDD Director Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, and her colleagues from the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities (CDHPD) delivered a panel presentation, “Defining Equity Toward People with Disabilities Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: Allocation of Scarce Resources, Health Accommodations, Vaccine Prioritization, Accessible Education Resources, and Stakeholder Inclusion,” at the virtual annual conference of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities.
On October 19, Legg presented a virtual professional module, “Compensatory Education and Recovery Services,” for the Kennedy Krieger Institute Network for Early Childhood Telehealth (also known as KKI-NECT), a node of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), which uses clinician tele-education and telementoring to reduce health disparities in underserved and remote areas.
Legg and Thorn presented a virtual professional training session, “Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities,” to the Neuropsychology Department at Kennedy Krieger on October 20.
On October 21, Ken Capone, director of People On the Go Maryland (POG), gave a presentation on eliminating the subminimum wage in Maryland and how advocates led the charge as part of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities discussion series on employment and self-direction.
On October 21, the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) published a blog post, “School Mask Mandates Across the Country,” by Tracy Waller, Esq., MPH, an attorney working with the MCDD to develop the CDHPD, which also published the post.
On October 25, van Stone and her colleagues from the CDHPD delivered a roundtable discussion, “Making the inclusion of people with disabilities a health equity priority: Addressing current gaps in healthcare access across the lifespan,” at the American Public Health Association Virtual Conference in Denver, Colorado.
The MCDD sponsored a free, virtual presentation, “Supporting Parents at the Time of their Child’s Disability Diagnosis and Beyond: Practical Strategies for Healthcare Providers,” on October 28. Guest speakers Rene Averitt-Sanzone, MS, and Melanie Pinkett-Davis, MSW, LCSW-C, discussed practical strategies for healthcare providers, parents, caregivers, students and other community members to support and effectively communicate with caregivers. The presentation was coordinated by MCDD trainees Abby Budman and Nia Adams, along with MCDD’s director of training, Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C.
POG participated in the National Disability Employment Awareness Month presentation for neurodiversity at work, “Community Action: Breaking Down Barriers,” on October 29. Andy Arias, of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, was the keynote speaker.
The MCDD sponsored a virtual presentation, “Suicide Risk Screening in Special Pediatric Populations,” on November 1. Kennedy Krieger faculty members Paul Lipkin, MD, director of medical outpatient services, and Suzanne Rybczynski, MD, MSHCM, associate chief medical officer, identified suicide risk screening tools in the general pediatric population and the challenges of their implementation in the neurodevelopmental disabilities population.
Also on November 1, Legg gave a virtual presentation, “Project HEAL Overview,” for Kennedy Krieger’s Department of Behavioral Psychology.
On November 4, Thorn represented the MCDD as an exhibitor at the virtual career exploration fair held by University of Maryland Baltimore.
On November 8, Thorn gave a virtual professional training session, “Project HEAL Overview,” to Kennedy Krieger’s Department of Child and Family Therapy.
On November 8, van Stone was interviewed by Pat Lawson Muse of Washington’s NBC News 4 about Project HEAL services. Watch the segment here.
On November 10, van Stone presented to the Kennedy Krieger Board of Trustees’ Education and Community Programs Subcommittee, sharing the highlights of the MCDD’s work and programs.
Also on November 10, van Stone received a Front Line Hero award, presented to her and her team at the Maryland Public Health Association’s annual event, “The Strength of Synergy in the Age of COVID-19.”
Legg was an exhibitor on behalf of the MCDD at the University of Baltimore School of Law’s public interest speed networking virtual event on November 10.
Legg and Thorn gave a virtual community presentation, “Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation of Students with Disabilities,” on November 11, to the Maryland Coalition for Families.
MCDD and Project HEAL faculty and staff members attended the AUCD’s national conference on November 15 and 16. They presented two virtual posters, “Addressing the Needs of A Vulnerable Population: A Medical-Legal and Mental Health Interdisciplinary Model” and “A public-private partnership: Fostering collaboration to improve eligibility determination for developmental disability services in Maryland.” Van Stone also facilitated a concurrent session, “Supporting the Well-Being of Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Also on November 17, the MCDD’s Autism Research and Engagement Core published a recorded webinar, “Grandparents of Children on the Autism Spectrum: Their Own Role, Their Own Challenges,” on the SPARK website.
On Monday, November 29, the MCDD sponsored “Why Do Professional Boundaries Matter in Home Care?” The free, virtual event was for direct support professionals, parents, caregivers, students and other community members. Special guests and panelists included Mary Anne Kane-Breschi, director of family supports for the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration; Dr. Monica Y. McCall, president and CEO of Creative Options, Inc.; and Teresa O’Brien, support team manager for Penn-Mar Human Services. The session was moderated by Dr. Ofonedu.
Jones gave a virtual presentation, “MCDD Overview,” to faculty and staff members of Kennedy Krieger’s Speech and Language Department on December 2.
Legg and Thorn gave a community presentation, “Guardianship and Less Restrictive Alternatives,” on December 7 for families with students who attend a public separate day school within Baltimore County Public Schools.
Jones gave a virtual presentation, “MCDD Overview,” to faculty and staff members of Kennedy Krieger’s Physical Therapy Department on December 9.
Also on December 9, Eve Lukowski, the MCDD’s administrative services coordinator, represented the MCDD at the Old Mill High School’s community resource fair. The event was open to the school’s students and their families, as well as to students and their families attending the elementary and middle schools that feed into the high school.
POG’s Project STIR (Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility) held a training workshop, “Problem Solving,” for self-advocates on December 10.
On December 13, Project STIR held another training workshop, “Rights and Responsibilities,” for self-advocates.
POG’s trainers and Capone gave a presentation to young adults on becoming a self-advocate at Independence Now, the Center for Independent Living for Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The event was held on December 22.
On December 23, Capone spoke on a Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center national call about the Ken Capone Equal Employment Act, a bill ending subminimum wage in Maryland, and POG’s contributions in bringing that bill to law.