tags: Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) recently highlighted Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, training director for the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD), in an article, “Social Inclusion as Social Justice: Preparing Trainees to Engage with Culturally Diverse Communities,” posted on the AUCD’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion hub.

On October 11, 2021, MCDD Director Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, gave a guest lecture, “Restraint and Seclusion: an overview of law and practice,” for the Senior Seminar in Disability Policy at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.

On November 13, 2021, van Stone presented “Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Individuals with Disabilities” to the Kennedy Krieger Fellows Association meeting at Kennedy Krieger Institute, in Baltimore, Maryland.

On December 1, 2021, an article by Marina Sarris, “Traveler for Autism: The Story of James Williams,” was published on the Simons Powering Autism Research (SPARK) website. Sarris, web content administrator of healthcare communications for the MCDD’s Autism Research and Engagement Core, writes many of the features that appear on the SPARK website.

Alyssa Thorn headshot    Mallory Legg headshot.

On January 3, an article by Sarris, “An Autism Diagnosis in Adulthood Leads to a New Career Goal,” was published on the SPARK website.

On January 6, Mallory Legg, Esq., and Alyssa Thorn, Esq., staff attorneys for Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), provided a presentation, “Project HEAL Overview,” for Kennedy Krieger’s Speech and Language Outpatient Clinic

.Tracy Waller headshot.

A blog post, “Evusheld Offers Hope for Many, but Access Remains an Issue,” by Tracy Waller, Esq., MPH, was published by the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities (CDHPD) on January 7. Waller is a staff attorney working with the MCDD as part of the MCDD’s grant to develop the CDHPD.

Project STIR (Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility), an initiative of People On the Go Maryland (POG), held three virtual training workshops for self-advocates: “Communication,” on January 15; “Rights and Responsibilities,” on January 17; and “Problem Solving,” on January 25.

On February 1, an article by Sarris, “Focusing on Intervention: The Autism Journey of the Barbera Family,” was published on the SPARK website.

Project STIR held a virtual training workshop, “Communication,” for self-advocates on February 2.

On February 8, van Stone co-presented the core course “Medical Decision Making/Informed Consent and People with Intellectual Disabilities” with Ellen Callegary, Esq.

On February 11, a representative from the Maryland Department of Transportation joined POG’s Friday Meet-Up to present on the department’s newly proposed Maryland Statewide Transit Plan. POG members and self-advocates had the opportunity to ask questions and provide their feedback.

Project STIR gave a virtual training workshop, “Problem Solving,” for self-advocates on February 12.

On February 14, POG’s legislative policy committee discussed the Supported Decision Making bill. The group shared their thoughts on information to be included in a fact sheet with colleagues at Disability Rights Maryland. POG’s legislative policy committee meets every Monday afternoon.

Project STIR presented a virtual training workshop, “Rights and Responsibilities,” to self-advocates on February 16.

Also on February 16, Dr. Ofonedu facilitated a presentation, “Healing Racial Trauma: Strategies for Culturally Responsive Practice and Systems-Level Change.” The presentation was part of American Psychological Association Division 37’s Diverse, Racial, Ethnic and Multicultural (DREAM) Special Interest Group.

Van Stone gave a Kennedy Krieger Grand Rounds presentation, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Individuals with Disabilities,” to an audience of 77 Johns Hopkins and Kennedy Krieger faculty and staff members. The event was held on February 17.

Kennedy Krieger and MCDD faculty members, staff members and trainees participated in the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Day at the Maryland General Assembly. The virtual event was held on February 22.

On February 23, Dr. Ofonedu presented a SPARK webinar, “Faith, Disability, Mental Health, and Research: Engaging Black People of African Descent in the Dialogue.” She discussed the role that faith-based communities play in addressing the challenges experienced by Black people of African descent with autism, mental illness and other disabilities. Dr. Ofonedu included strategies for addressing barriers to diagnosis and treatment.

On February 28, van Stone gave a guest lecture, “Restraint and Seclusion: an overview of law and practice,” for the Senior Seminar in Disability Policy at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.

Van Stone was a guest lecturer for a virtual course, “Evidence and Opportunities to Mitigate Childhood Adversity and Promote Well-Being,” at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Students from all over the country participated in the February 28 event.

Also on February 28, Jenny Jones, Kennedy Krieger’s Resource Finder coordinator, gave a virtual presentation, “MCDD Overview,” to directors of Kennedy Krieger’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD).

Van Stone and Legg presented “Evolving Trends in School Discipline: Disproportionality, Early Elementary Suspension Bans, and the Police-Free Schools Movement” at the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) conference on March 5 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Also on March 5, POG leadership held its most recent quarterly meeting. The leadership board shared information on their duties and responsibilities, as POG will be holding board elections in the coming months.

Project STIR presented three additional virtual training workshops for self-advocates: “Communication,” on March 9; “Problem Solving,” on March 15; and “Rights and Responsibilities,” on March 26.

Eve Lukowski headshot.

On March 30, Eve Lukowski, the MCDD’s administrative services coordinator, represented the MCDD at the Claremont Middle and High School (Baltimore) Transition fair. Claremont School is a Baltimore City public school serving students with disabilities.

On April 5, van Stone gave a presentation, “Recognizing Employee Diversity and Capitalizing on Performance,” to the ethics managers of private national defense organization BAE Systems of Falls Church, Virginia.