This article originally appeared in the Oregon Clarion in October of 2001, written by then-editor Diann Drummond. Her daughter, Molly Drummond, is one of the five plaintiffs of Staley v. Kitzhaber, the class action lawsuit responsible for creating Oregon’s progressive self-directed brokerage system, which currently serves nearly 8,000 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This is a tale of one of those dreaded supermarket encounters talked about among parents of children with disabilities. The sidelong looks, the stares, and the whispers feel like a stab in the heart.
My daughter Molly is very small for a 23 year-old and her spine is sharply curved over to one side. When we are grocery shopping, being pushed around the store in the basket is her favorite way to go. She giggles and talks her mysterious language while the food is piled all around her. Admittedly, we make an interesting sight.
Sometimes we pass someone who smiles warmly or says hello, and I think, “There is a fine person.”
Most of the time we go about our business, get our food, and head for home, eager to break into the tortilla chips or gummy bears. But on one particular day, that isn’t the way things went.
We had stopped by our local market for a quick shopping trip. This is the place where the clerks chat with us, and we often run into neighborhood friends.
I made my way down the aisles with Molly trailing behind. For some reason that day, Molly wasn’t into basket-riding. Just as I was squeezing the cantaloupes in the produce section, a herd of boys, maybe around kindergarten or early school-age, thundered up. The leader of the little ruffians exclaimed loudly, “Hey, look at her – she’s weird!”
I could see their mother close by, not phased in the least by what I considered to be a serious affront.
That’s when the mother bear came out in me. I scooped Molly protectively toward me. I felt like growling but hurried down the aisle instead. I headed to the other side of the store, thinking we could quickly grab our groceries and head for the safety of home.
However, no sooner had we rounded another corner when we ran into them again. There was a repeat of the earlier scene and that word “weird” again. Mother bear was ready to charge.
I don’t usually admonish other people’s children, but I turned a stern eye on them and said, “Boys, don’t be cruel.”
They stopped and huddled together, wide-eyed and slack-jawed. That’s when I saw mother bear number two streak forward and gather her offspring close. She said in a steely voice, “I will speak to them.” I spoke back with an equally steely voice, “I wish you would.” The face-off!
After a few moments, we turned in separate directions, herding our cubs along, when mother bear number two offered, “They’ve never seen a handicapped person before.”
I looked at the boys, then at their mother, and then back at the boys. I paused. “Would you like to meet Molly?” I asked. They cautiously sidled forward. “This is Molly. She has a disability and she was born with a crooked back. She doesn’t talk, but she can understand what you say. She goes to school.”
One of the four said “hi” to Molly and asked, “Does she go to school every day?”
I replied, “Yes, she rides the bus every day.”
Another offered, “I’m five.”
A few social pleasantries and we were on our way. I felt a bit sheepish, wondering if I’d been too hard on the boys who were pretty young. But the olive branch had been extended, and at least I didn’t swat it away with my paws.
We finished gathering our groceries, went through the checkout stand, and were going out the door when I heard someone call, “Bye.” I turned to see mom and her four boys smiling and waving. I smiled and waived back. Molly and I headed for the car. She was her usual happy self, apparently unconcerned with the incident. I was relieved that the confrontation ended the way it did.
I let out a tired sigh.
Time for mother bear and her cub to head back to their den and hibernate for a while.
The Oregon Clarion Volume 7, Number 3
The Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities has developed a single assessment tool to be used in determining the support needs of children and adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). Brokerages and CDDPs have just begun using the new assessment, known as the ONA (Oregon Needs Assessment). The ONA will roll out between now and June 30th, 2019.
To help you understand what’s happening and what to expect, we have developed a new ONA (Oregon Needs Assessment page on our website. The page includes helpful resources, links, frequently asked questions, and more. Check it out by clicking here.
This week’s Provider Spotlight is Exceed Enterprises in Milwaukie. Exceed works to with adults living with disabilities to find and retain both customized and competitive employment in the Pacific Northwest area. Because they have been around for several decades, they have the experience and expertise needed to make community employment a reality for job seekers all over the Metro Area. Check out their Facebook page here.
Meet EQC Home Care! In addition to housekeeping, personal care, and meal support, they also have nursing services for end of life care, medication assistance, and 24 hour availability for respite. Nurses are available for community outings and they serve children as well. EQC is this week’s provider spotlight. Details here: http://www.eqchomecare.com
This week’s Provider Spotlight is on Empowerment Services, LLC. ES delivers individualized employment alternatives and life-skills training to teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities. Given the unique behavioral and sensory needs of everyone they serve, support plans are highly customized.
Be sure to check them out on the web at www.empowermentservicesllc.org
Edwards Center remains one of the best kept secrets in Washington County. Founded in 1972 by a group of parents, this agency puts family front and center. This week’s provider spotlight is on the Aloha Community Center where Edwards takes community inclusion to the next level. A quarterly online catalog is available full of classes and outings for people of all ages and abilities. Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/alohacommunitycenter/
This week’s provider spotlight is on Eastco Diversified Services. Eastco’s Supported Employment Program places adults with I/DD into integrated jobs, based on individual interest and work experience. Prospective employees are carefully screened to guarantee a successful match of job requirements, individual abilities, and needs. Eastco provides a Job Coach on-the-job until he or she can independently perform the job to the employer’s quality and production standards. To find out more, check out their Facebook page.
Good things come in small packages – that’s what Destination Autonomy founder Rochelle Moore believes. She started her company in 1999 to serve adults with Developmental Disabilities in Washington County. DA provides community activities both individually and in groups, in home and employment supports. Check out the photos of their awesome activities on Facebook.
Community Vision was founded to provide Supported Living services to individuals who wanted to live in their own home with one-on-one support. While this service remains a core mission, CV also provides in home supports, employment supports and anything that fits their customers’ unique needs, goals, and dreams. This helps the person live, work and thrive in the communities of their choice.
This week’s provider spotlight is on Community Access Services. CAS is a private nonprofit organization that provides residential, community, and employment services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live and work in our community. CAS has a personal commitment to those they serve and are one of the best in the business. If you’re looking for top-notch service, check them out!
Right At Home may be a national agency but that won’t prevent you from experiencing great, local customer care. Serving the Metro area, Right at Home caregivers provide services for almost any family and practically any situation. Right at Home will tailor care to your unique situation through a Custom Care Plan. They have lots of caregivers on standby so they are also a great option in a pinch.
Small but mighty. That’s your take away from this week’s Provider Spotlight. Bender Rehabilitation and Consulting is a family run business that focuses on helping people with disabilities get jobs in the community.
Ask your VR Counselor or your Personal Agent about their job development, placement, and coaching services or visit them by clicking here.
Assisted Community Ties is an active provider organization focused on helping people make friends and learn social skills. Based in Washington County, ACT offers community engagement 1:1 or in groups. Check out their Facebook page to learn more!
Business partners Rex Goode and Drew Stinson didn’t realize that flexibility would be their new middle name when they founded Arise Mentors. Arise Mentors is this week’s provider spotlight because they currently have capacity to take on new customers. They focus on independent living and inclusion in the community with an aim for utmost flexibility and creativity. Learn more at their website www.arisementors.com.
This week’s Provider Spotlight features Advocates for Empowerment.
AFE provides in-home, community inclusion, and job services for both adults and children. This values-based organization makes a strong commitment to matching families with the right provider upfront. They even publish biographies of all their employees on their website. Check them out here.
Independence Northwest is a proud sponsor again this year for the exceptional All Born (In) Conference. Registration is open now!
The annual All Born (in) Conference is an exciting day for parents, caregivers, and professionals working to end segregation in neighborhood schools and the community. It’s a day of celebrating community and learning how to use Universal Design for Learning and Best Practices to reach and teach every child. Share, learn and make connections so that we can all go forth to open the eyes of the wider community to the fact that our children are all born “in”. The Conference was founded by Northwest Down Syndrome Association in 2006 in partnership with Portland State University’s joint certification program and the Center on Inclusive Education. It has grown to be a cornerstone resource in the Northwest region, engaging many innovative parents, professionals, and community partners to embrace the gifts of every learner.
Brokerage customers with Family Training written into their ISP can use support services funding to pay customer and non-paid caregiver conference costs. Please contact your Personal Agent with any questions.
Full details about the conference can be found here.
Last night we held our first of three Focus Groups for our provider community and it was a great success! Huge thanks to Jessica Leitner for facilitating a lively, engaging, and community-building conversation.
Thank you to Compass Career Solutions, Advocates for Empowerment, Eastco Diversified Services, EQC Home Care, Trellis Inc., Arise Mentors, Hosanna Homes, Community Access Services , Mentor Network and Pacific Opportunities for giving us your time and energy to help make our community stronger.
News on upcoming focus group coming soon.
This week’s Provider Spotlight is Ability Training Services.
If you live in Washington County then you should check out Ability Training Services. This amazing group not only supports people with training, activities and learning based retreats, they help coordinate a central calendar with other agencies in order to help friends meet up in the community! ATS believes that everyone deserves encouragement, motivation and the tools necessary to grow.
These include adaptive equipment for eating (utensils, trays, cups, bowls that are specially designed to assist an individual to feed him/herself), and specially designed clothes to meet the unique needs of the individual with the disability (clothes designed to prevent access by the individual to the stoma, Velcro closures, specially designed zippers, etc. which could allow the person to dress/undress with less support).
Contact your Personal Agent for more information. Learn more by checking out the Oregon Expenditure Guidelines.
This Week’s Provider Spotlight: Looking for quality in home care and respite? Then check out Cornerstone Inclusion Supports. Focused on highly individualized supports, staff from CIS will meet with you to help you (and your family) to determine your needs. In addition to traditional supports, CIS also supports small groups to meet up in the community, mostly just friends who want to hang out together.
For more information, check with your Personal Agent.
This message includes two timely topics important to the I/DD community: DD Awareness Month and the 2018 legislative session wrap-up.
The Oregon Legislature holds its short session in even-numbered years. Short sessions usually include re-balancing budgets and a limited number of policy items. This year’s session wrapped up last Saturday.
Here are highlights of the ODDS-related items:
- The Legislature approved an investment for the Background Check Unit (BCU) to cover the costs of providing background checks, as well as to increase staffing levels to reduce the current backlog and waiting time.
- Funding for 10 positions for the Children’s Intensive In-Home Services (CIIS) and Children’s Residential programs that were included in the workload model for 2017-19.
- Our plan to achieve the required $12 million overall budget reduction was approved. We expect to meet the full reduction through administrative and management actions, including reducing contracts, taking steps to maximize federal funding, and maintaining cost per case. The plan is designed to prevent reductions in services, eligibility or rates in the current biennium (through June 2019).
- ODDS’s significant legislation includes SB 1534. It directs DHS to collaborate with the Home Care Commission to establish minimum training standards for home care workers and personal support workers. More than 30,000 home care workers and personal support workers serve more than 25,000 vulnerable Oregonians each month. Developing a highly trained, culturally appropriate, and person-centered workforce requires an investment in training opportunities to enhance the safety, stability, and quality of life for those served in-home through the Aging and People with Disabilities and ODDS programs. This bill is waiting the governor’s signature.
March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month!
Every March, the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) takes the lead in helping Oregonians recognize and celebrate DD Awareness Month. OCDD’s 2018 #BetterTogether photo rally will celebrate people with disabilities as valued members of their communities and highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.
We encourage you to participate by sending photos to OCDD of people with I/DD with friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors or other members of the community. You can also post pictures on the Council’s Facebook page. Use the hashtag #BetterTogether18. Details are online on the Council’s website.
Lilia Teninty, Director
Office of Developmental Disabilities Services
This week’s Provider Spotlight is Creative Goal Solutions – they’ve made a BIG SPLASH in Clackamas and Washington counties with their awesome community activity schedule. Groups from CGS attend festivals, concerts, museums and more! There are groups focused on sports, outdoors and nightlife as well as music and dance.
Sometimes there is a waitlist because groups fill up fast so be sure to sign up at their website or visit the event page on their Facebook page for more!
Albertina Kerr is pretty well known around the Portland Metro area but did you know that they currently have openings in their day program?
This week’s Provider Spotlight is on Kerr’s Activity and Recreation services, some at Port City in North Portland and elsewhere in the community. One of their groups called Open Signal recently made their own movie! At their gallery called Art from the Heart, Kerr participants have the opportunity to grow creatively through art and make money!
For more information about Kerr’s programs check out their website.
INW is proud to be part of the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition advocacy efforts with legislators in Salem. There are two more DD Advocacy Days left during the 2018 short session: Tuesday February 27th and Tuesday March 6th, 2018.
Follow this link to learn more about how you can make your voice heard by connecting with Oregon lawmakers on issues related to eligibility changes and ongoing funding for home and community based services for Oregonians with I/DD.
This week’s provider spotlight is on Abilities at Work who is changing the face of today’s workforce. In partnership with Portland-Metro employers they support wage-based job opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. They currently serve over 100 people through Discovery, Job Development & Placement and Job Coaching. On the west side of town they offer computer and job skill classes to help people prepare for a job in the community.
For more information call 503-641-5820. You can also see some success stories on their Facebook page!