Ready for College? Learn More About PSU’s Inclusive College and Employment Program

A Special Announcement from Ann Fullerton, Professor Emeritus of Special Education, Portland State University

Do you know an adult with developmental disabilities that wants to go to college? The Career & Community Studies Certificate at Portland State University provides a four year inclusive college and employment program for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Oregon.

  • Person-centered planning and self-directed goal setting
  • A unique weekly schedule including academic courses, employment and campus involvement
  • Students learn to manage their own schedule and use supports they need
  • Part-time employment on or off campus each term
  • Enrollment in 1-2 college courses each term with other PSU students
  • Choose and participate in PSU’s recreational, social and student organizations
  • Academic coaches, peer navigators and CCS advisors support students to succeed in college


But how could they afford it? 
We have adult students in CCS that are financially independent, receiving SSI and working part time while they attend college. They are eligible for financial aid to go to college. Also, because our students are working in competitive wage integrated employment, they are eligible for an Individual Development Account (IDA). For dollar they earn and place in their IDA account they receive a $3 match up to a total of $12,000 for their education. Lastly, Charles Taylor of Mountain Crest Counseling Services has created our first scholarship for CCS students. 

How can we learn more? Attend INFO NIGHT Jan 17th. 6 pm Smith Memorial Union 1825 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 ROOM 330

Email us at tcio@pdx.edu. We would love to talk to you. We can respond via email, phone call, or schedule an appointment to visit us. Review information on our website: https://www.pdx.edu/career-and-community-studies/

What is the deadline to apply? Application Deadline March 2, 2019 (We provide support to apply!)

How My Son Cody Sullivan Made History

By Ann Sullivan

When my son Cody Sullivan (AKA Coach Cody), was born with Down syndrome, I knew he would make a great difference in the world. This has rung true for the past twenty-two years, culminating on April 28th, 2018 when he became the first person with Down syndrome to graduate from higher education. 

Cody was included in general education from kindergarten through grade 12. He wasn’t shoved into a secluded classroom where they took trips to the park to pick up litter or wipe down tables in the cafeteria. Cody learned alongside his peers – and just by being included – he taught people that having a disability isn’t scary.

When he was a high school senior, Cody’s friends were delightfully sharing where they were going to college. This inspired him to seek the same. Concordia University Portland agreed to have Cody attend classes and work toward earning a certificate of achievement in elementary education. We have been part of the West Coast Think College Coalition, which is focused on creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to attend higher education.

On April 28th, graduation day at Concordia University, Cody was the first person with Down syndrome in Oregon to cross the stage and receive his certificate. As he crossed, his many friends erupted in love and joy with a standing ovation.

Today, Cody works as a Teacher’s Aide at a local charter school.

Learn more about the West Coast Think College Coalition here and listen to Cody’s interview on KXL FM News 101 here

Update on 2019 PSW Electronic Verification Visit Requirement

On December 11th, 2018, the Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services sent the following message to Personal Support Workers statewide:

This message is to notify Personal Support Workers about the latest news with Electronic Visit Verification (EVV).

A new federal law requires that states implement an electronic way for verifying attendant care services, called Electronic Visit Verification (EVV).

EVV is required for all Medicaid personal care services and home health services that require an in-home visit by a provider.

EVV is a new way to collect information in eXPRS. It will record these federally-required items in real time:

  • Personal Support Worker (PSW) name
  • Person receiving services
  • Type of service
  • Date of the service
  • Time the service begins and ends
  • Location of the service

The Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS) will be making changes to eXPRS that will allow it to be used for EVV.

A pilot for EVV in Oregon will take place in early 2019. EVV will be required of all PSWs in Oregon by 2019. Information will be sent to PSWs regarding full implementation in spring 2019.

EVV will work on smart phones and tablets that can access the eXPRS website. eXPRS will be changed to have a website made especially for phones and tablets. There will be trainings to help PSWs learn how to use this new part of eXPRS.

For PSWs who do not have a smart phone or tablet with Internet access, there will be an exception process. You will get more information about this before EVV is required. 

For more information and to subscribe to get the latest updates:  

 https://www.oregon.gov/DHS/SENIORS- DISABILITIES/DD/PROVIDERS-PARTNERS/Pages/evv.aspx

Related: Brokerage Association Post on EVV May 2018

Meet Jami Cowling: A Story of Determination and Gratitude

“It’s kind of amazing. One year you’re going this way, then the next you’re in a completely different place.”

Twenty year old Jamison Cowling knows well of what he speaks. 2017 was a deeply challenging year for the Estacada resident. Jami, who experiences autism, has spent the last year and a half adjusting to life after a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI.)

In March of 2017, he was involved in a snow-tubing accident that left him with a broken neck, broken back, fractured skull, and brain hemorrhage. The months that followed were painful and difficult, requiring around the clock care as he slowly learned to walk and communicate again. He found comfort in family support, friends, and his faith.

Says mother Beki, “When I first received the call letting us know he had been injured and was being loaded into an ambulance, my world tilted for a minute… I struggled to breathe. And then our whole family sort of went on pause for months and months while we helped Jami deal with his TBI and we advocated for all the supports he needed.”

In the early days following his discharge from the hospital, Jami slept twenty-two hours a day at times, requiring around the clock supports. His parents balanced helping Jami recover with raising his four younger siblings. “It was so hard for Jami, but he was strong,” says Beki. “A brain injury changes everything.”

He underwent extensive occupational, speech, and neurofeedback therapy and credits the exceptional supports he received from Dr. Swingen, a chiropractic functional neurologist in SW Portland, with crafting an individualized physical therapy plan that eventually got him back on his feet.

Building a Circle of Support

The life he leads today is light years away from where things were for him and his family just eighteen months ago. Soon after the accident, he enrolled as a customer of Independence Northwest support services brokerage. “Options matter,” says Beki. “The whole last year has been about creating the right Team Jami.”

Team Jami is made up of friends, family members, and paid home and community-based supports. By combining supports from his brokerage Personal Agent, medical professionals, a behavior specialist, and Personal Support Workers to help him increase his independent living skills, Jami has been able to build a firm foundation for his new life.

Success rarely comes in a straight line. As soon as he was feeling well and stable enough, Jami set his sights on employment. His initial attempt moving into the workforce wasn’t without its challenges. “I had a job and it wasn’t good for me,” he says, referring to a position he held about a year after the accident. His brain was still healing and he needed a low stress, adaptive environment.  People in his circle noticed he was starting to struggle and became concerned things might be moving too swiftly. “We needed something different, something that would give me the space to think and do a good job.”

Jami’s Brokerage Personal Agent Andrea Ochsner brainstormed with the family on possible options to better support him in future job environments. She connected them with a Behavior Specialist by the name of Gabrielle Taylor, who soon joined the circle of support. Gabrielle worked with Jami to perform a functional behavior assessment, laying the groundwork for communication strategies at home and in future employment settings. “She really helped me,” he says.

Concurrently, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Mark Foster assisted Jami with developing an employment plan that focused on his strengths and capacities, bringing provider organization Adult Learning Systems of Oregon (ALSO) on board. ALSO helped Jami land a volunteer position with Store to Door, a nonprofit program where Jami grocery shopped on behalf of seniors and people with physical disabilities.

“Communication is everything and it furthers what Jami is able to do… (Personal Agent) Andrea has facilitated communication amazingly! She is very skilled at gathering the different members of Team Jami together, either by email or in-person meetings, and then diplomatically addresses sensitive issues in ways that put everyone at ease. When all of (us) are on the same page, then Jami wins. He gets clear, consistent, and congruent supports.”

Preparation, Connectivity, and Opportunity

In the fall of 2018, everything converged. Before he knew it, Jami was preparing for an interview with Fred Meyer.

“It shocked them I got this job so quick,” says Jami. “It was really fast.” He says the experience he gained as a volunteer at Store to Door helped pave the way for the position.

Today, Jami is working five days a week at a Fred Meyer in Clackamas County, a member of their Click List team. He reviews online grocery orders, shops the store for the items, and assists customers when they come to pick up their purchases.

“There’s a lot of variety in the job,” he says. “I have a lot less social anxiety. This weekend was Veterans Day and I thanked two veterans for their service. One served in the Vietnam War and really appreciated being thanked.” 

Watching her son talk about his success, Beki beams with pride.

“When I think of all that Jami and our family has gone through in the last eighteen months, I am just so profoundly filled with gratitude that Jami is alive and breathing and walking and talking… Now we are seeing the fruits of all the efforts that everyone has made supporting our son and it is truly beautiful. We are getting our sweet Jami back and he is even better than before.”

 

Jami’s First Day of Work at Fred Meyer

Oct 15th: Join Oregon DHS for Program/Legislative Updates, Q&A Session

Join the Oregon Department of Human Services on Monday October 15th from 1:30pm – 3:00pm either online or in person! DHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht and the DHS Executive Team will present brief program and legislative updates followed by a question-and-answer period.

Join in person, by phone, through live streaming or follow along on Facebook or Twitter.

  • When: Monday, October 15, 2018, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Where: Barbara Roberts Human Services Building, Room 137 500 Summer Street NE in Salem
  • How: Conference call 1-866-233-3842; Access Code: 455584#Participate in the conversation by using #ORDHSforum on Twitter

Questions or accommodation requests related to a disability, please contact Communications.DHS@state.or.us. A good faith effort will be made to fulfill requests.

Please forward this message to interested stakeholders and partners.

Note: Deadline for in-person RSVP is Thursday, October 11th.

Read the full announcement here.