On October 13, the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) was a sponsor of The Arc Baltimore’s largest fundraiser of the year, Art in the Round. Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, assistant vice president and director of the MCDD, and Mallory Legg, Esq., director of Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law) attended the event.
On October 14, Christopher Mason-Hale, BSW, MCDD community advocate, hosted an exhibitor table for the MCDD at the Spina Bifida Walk-N-Roll event held at Allen Pond Park in Bowie, Maryland.
On October 16, Emma Barbato, Esq., staff attorney for Project HEAL, delivered an overview presentation on Project HEAL’s new Social Security Administration disability benefits services to Kennedy Krieger Institute colleagues who are working on a collaborative project with the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration.
On October 17, the MCDD held its quarterly Community Advisory Council (CAC) meeting. MCDD staff members and trainees attended the meeting, as well as participants from various community organizations and state agencies, all of whom serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This marked the first in-person meeting held since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Presentations were given by Bradley Schlaggar, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Kennedy Krieger Institute, and Marcella Franczkowski, MS, assistant vice president and director of PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs. Ken Capone, former director of People On the Go, was presented with a special award in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Also on October 17, Megan Meck, MS, MCDD project manager, and Kristine Nellenbach, MS, program coordinator for the Resource Finder, were selected as Kennedy Krieger Institute Quality and Safety Champion recipients and were recognized during a luncheon celebration.
Also on October 17, Tracy Waller, Esq., MPH, MCDD staff attorney, and Tyler Cochran, Esq., staff attorney for Project HEAL, wrote a blog post for The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality, “988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Adds American Sign Language.”
On October 19, Marina Sarris, web content administrator for Autism Research and Engagement Core, authored an article, “Uncovering Sleep Problems in Autism.” The article was published on the Simons Powering Autism Research (SPARK) website.
Also on October 19, Barbato delivered an overview presentation on Project HEAL’s new Social Security Administration disability benefits services to a supervisors meeting for Kennedy Krieger’s Neuropsychology Department. Additionally, Barbato conducted a training session on the benefit programs provided by the Social Security Administration and offered guidance on assisting families with the application process.
On October 20, Cochran and Annie Carver, Esq., staff attorney for Project HEAL, delivered a presentation, “Designing IEPs (Individualized Education Program) for Children with Trauma: Addressing Trauma through an IEP,” at the 9th Biennial Trauma Conference hosted by Kennedy Krieger’s Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress.
On October 21, Mason-Hale hosted an exhibitor table for the MCDD at the Down Syndrome Association of Maryland’s (DSAmd) event Step Up for Down Syndrome, held at Rash Field in downtown Baltimore City. This annual walk event is central Maryland’s largest, aiming to raise awareness for Down syndrome.
On October 23, van Stone attended The Daily Record’s Women’s Leadership Summit: Empowering Women at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Kennedy Krieger Institute was honored as one of the recipients of the Empowering Women award during the celebration.
Also on October 23, Cochran and Carver delivered a Project HEAL overview presentation during Kennedy Krieger’s Neuropsychology Follow-up Clinic Rounds, providing valuable insights into the program's initiatives and services.
On October 24, Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, director of training for the MCDD, delivered a talk, “Intercultural Collaboration of Scholars: Engaging Diverse Stakeholders in the Dialogue,” during an American Psychological Association (APA) Global Psychology Learning Leadership Institute (LLI) mentor meeting. Her talk focused on the importance of putting “global” in “global work.” In addition to her presentation, Dr. Ofonedu is actively participating as a mentor in the program, where she is paired with a doctoral student from Ghana. The LLI mentorship program aims to unite established and emerging leaders in psychology worldwide, fostering collaboration and leadership development with a global perspective.
Also on October 24, Barbato presented an overview to the Clinical Quality and Innovation Committee (CQIC) highlighting the quality-of-life benefits for Kennedy Krieger’s patients receiving Social Security Administration disability benefits.
Also on October 24, Legg and Carver gave a presentation, “Medical-Legal Partnerships as a Means to Promote Health Equity,” at the Maryland Rural Health Association Conference in Ocean City, Maryland.
On October 25, Nellenbach hosted an exhibitor table for the MCDD at Kennedy Krieger’s annual Health and Wellness Fair, providing attendees with a wealth of valuable information and resources.
Also on October 25, Dr. Ofonedu gave a virtual presentation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (AADM) Network. The presentation, “Faith, Disability, Autism, and Research: Engaging Diverse Stakeholders and Groups in the Dialogue,” emphasized the significance of meaningful collaboration and working with communities and people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The audience actively participated and expressed gratitude for the valuable insights shared on this important topic.
Also on October 25, Mason-Hale hosted an exhibitor table for the MCDD at the PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs Fall Festival held in Windsor Mill, Maryland. He offered attendees brochures and fact sheets outlining MCDD’s services and programs.
Also on October 25, Barbato presented an overview of Project HEAL’s new Social Security Administration disability benefits service and provided insight into the benefit programs offered by the Social Security Administration during the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) monthly all-staff meeting.
On October 26, van Stone participated in the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) joint directors meeting, contributing to discussions and collaborative efforts within the disability advocacy community.
On October 30, Mason-Hale, Cochran and Carver represented the MCDD at the 30th Annual Equity and Civil Rights Breakfast, hosted by Baltimore City’s Office of Equity and Civil Rights. Their participation highlighted MCDD’s commitment to fostering inclusivity and advocating for equity in the community.
On October 31, van Stone attended the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women’s EmPower Breakfast at the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor as a guest of Linda Schaeffer Cameron, who serves on the board of directors for the school and is the Institute’s vice president of Philanthropy.
On November 1, Mason-Hale hosted a table for the MCCD during the Kennedy Krieger Health and Wellness Fair held at the Greenspring Campus, engaging with attendees.
On November 3, Barbato delivered a comprehensive presentation on how Social Security Administration disability benefits can impact patients’ quality of life during the Kennedy Krieger weekly directors’ meeting.
On November 7, Barbato presented an overview of Project HEAL’s new Social Security Administration disability benefits service. She also conducted a training session about the benefit programs offered by the Social Security Administration and provided guidance for assisting families with the application process at Kennedy Krieger’s Pediatric Developmental Disabilities Clinic.
On November 8, Mason-Hale hosted an exhibitor table for the MCDD at the William S. Baer School’s Fall Resource Fair. He engaged with families and representatives from local organizations, furthering connections within the community.
From November 8 through 9, the MCDD co-sponsored the West African International Collaborative Conference on Psychology (WAICCP). Dr. Ofonedu played a pivotal role in initiating and organizing this inaugural international hybrid conference, centered around the theme “Reviewing the Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Directions of Psychology in West Africa.” Remarks were delivered by van Stone and Bradley Schlaggar, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Kennedy Krieger Institute.
On November 9, Barbato and Carver participated as exhibitors at the Career Exploration Fair hosted by the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
On November 10, Barbato introduced the latest services from Project HEAL, providing an overview of the new Social Security Administration disability benefits service to social workers of Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient rehabilitation hospital. In addition, she led a training session on the diverse benefit programs provided by the Social Security Administration and offered guidance for supporting families through the application process.
On November 12 and 14, Cochran gave a presentation that delved into the historical aspects of eugenic sterilization in the United States and explored avenues for reparations at the American Public Health Association's (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo.
On November 13, Sarris’ article—“Autism in Middle and Old Age: What Do We Know, What Do We Need to Know?”—was published on the SPARK website. It discusses the importance of needing more research on the full lifespan of people with autism.
Also on November 13, Barbato delivered a presentation introducing Project HEAL’s new Social Security Administration disability benefits services during Kennedy Krieger’s Follow-Up Clinic rounds.
On November 14, van Stone co-presented with Leslie Seid Margolis, Esq., managing attorney and policy counsel for Disability Rights Maryland, a core course, “Special Education Law and Policy.” There were 50 trainees and 12 Kennedy Krieger staff members in attendance.
Also on November 14, Sarris’ article, “Getting an Autism Diagnosis in Adulthood,” was published on the SPARK website. The article explores the experiences of adults with autism over 35 who grew up before widespread autism recognition, highlighting their struggles and the relief that comes with receiving a diagnosis in adulthood. Obtaining a diagnosis can be a varied and challenging process, and post-diagnosis, individuals often face difficulties accessing the services and support typically available to those diagnosed in childhood.
On November 15, Dr. Ofonedu delivered a presentation during the virtual conference Individuals with IDD and Mental Health, hosted by The Arc Illinois. Her presentation, “Suicidal Behaviors in People with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities: Strategies for Positive Health Outcomes,” resonated strongly with the audience.
Also on November 15, Mason-Hale represented the MCDD at the Governor’s Disability Culture and Achievement Awards held in the Governor’s Reception Room. Governor Moore, the Maryland Commission on Disability and the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council awarded five individuals for their outstanding achievements within the disability community.
Also on November 15, Barbato provided an overview of Project HEAL’s enhanced services in Social Security Administration disability benefits, offering training on the Social Security Administration’s benefit programs and guiding staff members on assisting families with applications at an all-staff meeting for The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI).
Also on November 15, Cochran and Carver gave a presentation, “Designing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for Children with Trauma: Addressing Trauma through an IEP,” at OCALICON, an annual conference hosted by the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).
From November 15 through 18, Lauren Adams, a former MCDD trainee, presented her summer internship research, “Building Meaningful Inclusion and Fostering Belonging for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Faith Communities,” as a poster at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS), held in Phoenix, Arizona. Adams conducted this research during her internship under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Ofonedu.
On November 16, Barbato provided an overview of the expanded services of Project HEAL, now including Social Security Administration disability benefits, and conducted training on the Social Security Administration’s benefit programs. Additionally, she offered guidance to social workers at Kennedy Krieger’s Fairmount School on assisting families with applications.
From November 16 through 17, van Stone attended the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates’ (COPPA) two-day board retreat in Denver, Colorado.
On November 17, during a staff meeting at the Center for Development and Learning, Barbato provided a comprehensive overview of Project HEAL’s expanded services, including the incorporation of Social Security Administration disability benefits. The session also included training on the diverse benefit programs offered by the Social Security Administration, along with practical insights on assisting families with the application process.
On November 20, the People On the Go (POG) Maryland team congratulated new graduates of Project STIR (Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility).
On November 27, Dr. Ofonedu, on behalf of the MCDD, announced the first Faith Community Learning Collaborative (FCLC) grant. The MCDD is offering up to four $500 grant awards to eligible applicants participating in the FCLC.
On November 30, Project HEAL organized a fundraising restaurant night at The Choptank in Fells Point, where 10% of the day’s total revenue was generously donated by The Choptank. We extend our gratitude to all who attended!
On December 1, Cochran, Mason-Hale, Waller and Leah Smith, MPA, associate director of The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality, gave a presentation, “Examining Structural Violence through an Intersectional Disability Justice Lens: Active Shooter School Drills, School Resource Officers and Police Brutality,” at the TASH Conference. Additionally, Waller and van Stone gave a poster presentation, “Recognizing Employee Diversity and Capitalizing on Performance.” Cochran and Carver also gave a poster presentation, “Designing IEPs for Children with Trauma: Addressing the Effects of Trauma in Children Through an IEP.”
On December 2, Mason-Hale, Smith and Kara Ayers, PhD, associate director of the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, gave a presentation, “Introducing the National Center for Disability, Equity and Intersectionality,” at the TASH Conference.
Also on December 2, People On the Go (POG) Maryland held an in-person quarterly meeting. The meeting was led by Mat Rice, POG policy director and advocacy coordinator; Tracy Wright, POG director of training and advocacy coordinator; and James Orman, POG program coordinator.
On December 5, two articles were published featuring an interview with van Stone. The first article, “A School Promised Not to Send Kids to the ER for Misbehavior – But Hospital Trips Only Increased,” was published on the Associated Press (AP) website. A longer version, “The School District Where Kids Are Sent to Psychiatric Emergency Rooms More Than Three Times a Week — Some As Young As 5,” was published on The Hechinger Report website.
On December 6, Cochran and Mason-Hale conducted a presentation as part of Kennedy Krieger’s advocacy curriculum for staff members and trainees, focusing on the effects of active school shooter drills on students with disabilities. Additionally, Mason-Hale, Cochran and van Stone facilitated breakout sessions, fostering discussions about advocacy strategies and interventions to address this pressing issue.
On December 7, the MCDD staff enjoyed an in-person holiday gathering at Liberatore’s Ristorante in Cockeysville, Maryland. The festive event provided a wonderful opportunity for team bonding and celebrating the holiday season together.
On December 8, the MCDD co-sponsored the Kennedy Krieger Women’s Leadership Initiative event with the Human Resources Department, featuring opening remarks by van Stone. The event marked a significant milestone for the Women’s Leadership Initiative as it was the initiative’s first in-person gathering since 2020, drawing more than 120 registrants from across the Institute.
On December 13, Barbato conducted a training session addressing issues related to transition and Social Security Administration disability benefits for parents of students of Kennedy Krieger High School.
On December 14, Legg, Carver and Cochran gave a virtual presentation, “School Refusal and Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” to the Friends of CARD family support group.
On December 15, Nellenbach hosted an exhibitor table for the MCDD at the Baltimore County Public Schools Special Education Resource Fair. This event was part of a series of resource fairs and was held at White Oak School in Parkville, Maryland.
On December 18, the MCDD hosted an orientation for new Community Advisory Council (CAC) members who will join the CAC during our meeting on January 16, 2024.
On December 18 and 21, the MCDD sponsored a two-day in-person training workshop, “Faith Community Learning Collaborative: An Inclusive Faith Support Program,” led by Dr. Ofonedu. The training workshop aimed to provide valuable insights and skills for those involved in the collaborative, fostering a supportive and inclusive faith community.