National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center

From Resident’s Voice Door Hangers – Pack of 50 (10 of each design): For Complete Post, click here…

Long-term care consumers from across the country submitted artwork for this year’s Resident’s Voice Challenge, a part of Residents’ Rights Month held every October. Several pieces of art were selected to display on door hangers. These door hangers remind anyone who enters a resident’s room that this is their home and assert residents’ rights. The pack includes 50 door hangers (10 of each design), printed in sharp, full-color on sturdy card stock with glossy UV coating on one side.

Featured artwork by: Carole Luker in Fulton, KY; Matthew Blackwood in Okemah, OK; Residents at Hackensack Meridian Nursing & Rehabilitation in Ocean Grove, NJ; J. Wick in Fort Thomas, KY; and Residents at Waterview Hills in Purdys, NY.

Available for pre-order. Will ship in two weeks.

It’s Time the Behavioral Health Field Expand Their Definition of Lived Experience

From #CrisisTalk: For Complete Post, click here…

In anticipation of 988—the three-digit number for mental health, substance use, and suicidal crisis telecom companies must make live by July 16, 2022—communities throughout the United States are examining their crisis systems. “They want to ensure there are rapid and appropriate responses in place that match people’s needs,” says Amy Watson, Ph.D., professor of social work in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin. She’s also the president of CIT International. The Crisis Intervention Team model is a first-responder, police-based crisis intervention designed to reduce the role of law enforcement in behavioral health crisis response. 

However, as leaders tighten their lens on behavioral health and quality of life crises in their community, there’s a glaring concern they must also simultaneously address: workforce shortages. Dr. Watson says the solution isn’t simply to increase staff in existing positions but rather to develop a community behavioral health crisis responder role. “That means identifying the skills needed to best resolve crises,” she notes, “and make sure there’s an accessible career path for people with a diversity of lived experience.” 

In behavioral health, the term “lived experience” is often synonymous with people who have faced mental health or substance use challenges. “That’s a vital but narrow perspective,” says Dr. Watson. “There are many additional experiences—like being from a disadvantaged or marginalized population—that would be valuable to this role and can help provide a better, more culturally competent crisis response.” This includes the need for crisis responders who are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, have been incarcerated, experienced houselessness, identity as LGBTQ, are veterans, or have developmental disabilities.

Non-law enforcement responses to behavioral health and quality of life concerns—like the need for food and shelter—are critical for diverting people from the emergency department and jail. And because interactions are with civilian responders and not police, it can be far safer for people in crisis, especially among marginalized populations at risk of a police interaction turning deadly. Of people killed in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty since January 1, 2015, 24% were Black, 16% were Hispanic, and 23% were identified as having a mental illness. 

Service dogs navigate the challenges of covid: ‘The dog doesn’t understand social distancing’

By Jenna Portnoy: For Complete Post, click here…

The pandemic has complicated life for everyone, but social distancing, mask-wearing and other practices to reduce the spread of coronavirus present particular challenges for people with disabilities who rely on service animals.

Organizations that train dogs — often Labrador and golden retrievers, among other breeds — are just beginning to see what the first classes of pandemic puppies can do after 18 months of diminished socialization and exposure to public places.

Dog-handler teams have had to adapt to virtual training, different commands and new ways to keep their skills sharp in order to avoid uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations.

This is especially important, trainers and people with disabilities say, as more people return to their pre-pandemic routines of taking public transportation and attending in-person work and school.

Spooky, Not Scary: Staying Safe this Halloween

By Kathrine C: For Complete Post, click here…

COVID-19 restrictions have made maintaining our social lives a challenging effort over the course of the past half year, but with one of the first social holidays of autumn approaching, many are wondering how it can be enjoyed while staying safe. Where It’s AT is here to help, with a few tricks and treats of our own.

In-Person Celebrating

If giving out candy or taking little ones to trick-or-treat, please remember that a costume mask is not the same as a medical face mask; costume masks do not provide any protection against COVID-19. To make your little ghouls excited to wear their face mask, you can try decorating their mask to match their costume, using fabric markers, iron on patterns (Etsy has great creators) or premade masks to match any theme, whether it be: sugar skulls, vampires or clowns.

If you are still feeling concerned about the bag of candy that your little one has worked so hard to collect, think ahead and buy an assortment of big bars of their favorite candy, so that their collected candy bag can have time to quarantine to your degree of comfort, while they have an exciting treat to tide them over.

On that note, please only hand out candy if you and everyone in your household is feeling well. If you decide to hand out goodies, be sure to wash hands properly and frequently, while also sanitizing regularly. There are a variety of ways for you to hand out treats in a socially distant fashion. NPR is reporting that people have even gone so far as to create candy chutes out of PVC pipes in order to keep themselves and their visitors safe. You could also set up a table on your lawn with little piles of candy or disposable paper cups of treats, or hang baggies along bushes, fences or trees for little ones to take as they pass your home.

If you feel more comfortable keeping the festivities to your household, you can decorate the inside of your home like a haunted house and have household members trick-or-treat from room to room in the fun ambiance. You can also organize a candy hunt at night using flashlights and plastic eggs filled with candy. To accommodate households with participants who have a range of ability to hunt for well-hidden eggs, add glow sticks or glow bracelets to some eggs to help them stand out.

Coordinate with your neighbors through social media groups or neighborhood apps like Nextdoor and Patch to organize a drive-by reverse trick-or-treat where you can drive by all of the costumed kids on their lawns and gently toss candy to them while honking and cheering-on their awesome costumes. You could also coordinate a decoration theme for your neighborhood and/or organize a drive-by Halloween experience for others, kind of in the fashion of neighborhoods who decorate over the top with Christmas lights. You can even coordinate music with any light decorations or play a spooky ambiance to fit your neighborhood’s Halloween theme by using an FM audio transmitter, simply put a sign in your yard to let your viewers know which station to tune into.

Setting up a projector to play a movie against the side of your house or garage door creates a great opportunity to have a mini, socially distanced “drive-in” movie theater experience. People can bring snacks and blankets and stay socially distant, together, for the holiday. This is a particularly good option if you live in a cul-de-sac, as you can include the neighborhood in on the fun. If there are small kids that you worry about keeping socially distant for such a long event, it can truly be arranged like a drive-in, with people parking and watching and simply playing the audio to the movie over an FM transmitter, like the one described in the above paragraph. Remember to keep it family-friendly if it will be being broadcast against the front of your house though, as you never know whose eyes may be watching.

Have a Halloween make-up tutorial party. Figure out which tutorial you wish to try (beware, some videos are on the gory side of special effects, so search without any kiddos nearby) and buy supplies to follow along to YouTube makeup tutorials from inspiring special effects artists like Madeyewlook who has made herself into an old school tattoostorybook Alice in Wonderland, and a Beetlejuice inspired lookdope2111 has done ElsaCorpse Bride, and Edward Scissor Hands. While Kandee Johnson has done Betty BoopAsh from Pokémon, and a Barbie Doll.

Virtual Celebrating

You can schedule a Zoom Halloween party. People can dress up, the participants can mail treats to each other like secret Santa, and everyone can nosh and hang out. Hold contests for participants like costume contests, pumpkin carving/painting contests and scavenger hunts. Play Pictionary with Zoom’s whiteboard feature with spooky Halloween themed topics or simply hang out and enjoy each other’s company with a Halloween themed virtual background.

Set up a virtual Halloween/Scary movie marathon on Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party). By using the Teleparty extension on a chrome browser on your desktop or laptop, you have the ability to watch programing in sync with other Netflix, Disney, Hulu and HBO subscribers. There is a chat feature so everyone can comment about the streamed program to one another.

Free Training Opportunity: Empowerment Education Training Initiative

From DDI: For Complete Post, click here…

Wednesday October 27th, 2021 9:00 a.m. − 12:00 p.m.

Webinar Training Topic Conflict Resolution
9:00 a.m. − 10:30 a.m.
Presented by Elizabeth Janks, LMSW & Nia Anderson, LLMSW
This training is designed to help you understand what causes conflict and learn ways you can respond to conflict in a constructive manner. Individuals attending this training will have the opportunity to:
• Learn about attitude and self-image
• Learn how to achieve control through self-talk
• Understand conflict and criticism
• Learn how to control emotions
• Learn how to resolve conflict

Ten Successful & Assertive Steps for Working with Professionals
10:30 a.m. − 12:00 p.m.
Presented by Kristen Columbus, LLMSW
This training is designed to give you practical ideas on how to increase your own level of assertiveness when working with professionals in service to people with disabilities. Individuals attending this training will have the opportunity to: • Assess our current level of assertiveness
• Identify characteristics of aggressive, passive and assertive behavior
• Understand the concept of personal assertive rights
• Identify the 5 Ps of successful change
• Practice to construct and use person anchors
• Assess our problem areas of assertiveness and develop an action plan

Registration Information Wednesday October 27th, 2021 9:00 a.m. − 12:00 p.m.
Target Audience: Direct Support Professionals, Professionals working with Individuals with I/DD, Peer Mentors, Individuals receiving services, and Advocates.
Requirements This training webinar is FREE, however, to participate you must REGISTER.
Questions? If you have any questions, please contact: Elizabeth Janks, LMSW Email: e.janks@wayne.edu Nia Anderson, LLMSW Email: cp8512@wayne.edu
Each training module carries 2 Hours of Social Work CEUs and 2 Hours of QIDP.
To attend this webinar all participants must register.
The deadline to register is Monday, October 25, 2021.
To register please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUudO2srjMqHtdR8P3mD3wTZMmi8463u1o4

Registration: Effective Communication with School During COVID-19

Fri, Oct 29, 2021 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Show in My Time Zone

Join Michigan Alliance for Families for “Effective Communication with School During COVID-19” with SEMS (Special Education Mediation Services).

Communication and collaboration in special education are uniquely challenging. The pandemic is another layer that has impacted communication. Join SEMS for this online workshop to discuss what we know about effective communication. We’ll look at how the pandemic has changed family and school relationships.

• Share effective communication tips to improve collaboration and partnerships
• Consider how the Covid 19 pandemic impacted communication and collaboration
• Reflect on what we learned from the pandemic that can inform our learning environments moving forward with this a once in a lifetime opportunity to embark upon a new path to improved student success.

If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please send your request to info@michiganallianceforfamilies.org two weeks prior to the event.

Lansing Schools triage solutions to special ed ‘emergency’

BY KYLE KAMINSKI: For Complete Post, click here…

Record backlog pushes district out of state compliance — and into overdrive.

After only about three months on the job, Superintendent Ben Shuldiner said he has identified three “emergency issues” facing students and staff at the Lansing School District this year. The obvious first is the COVID-19 pandemic. The second is a major shortage of bus drivers, he said.

And the third is a backlog of hundreds of written evaluations for the district’s nearly 2,000 special education students — a problem that has brewed for several years and came to a head after the state put the district into corrective action mode in 2020, district and state officials said.

“I’ll try to be brutally honest. The Lansing School District has not served its special education population well, to put it bluntly. For years, there were specific things that were not done — and this was stuff that was just not acceptable,” Shuldiner told the Lansing City Council last month.

The Michigan Department of Education requires public school districts to complete initial evaluations within 30 days for all special education students in need of an individualized education program — or IEP. Those written plans help to tailor instruction for students with learning disabilities, emotional disorders, cognitive challenges and many other impairments.

When Shuldiner arrived in July, at least 158 of those evaluations had not been completed on time for what amounted to 9% of the district’s total population of special education students — pushing the district into what the Department of Education defines as “corrective action” mode.

Spanning all grade levels, those late evaluations could have led to a wide range of state consequences if left unchecked. Under state law, the district could lose authority to operate special education programs altogether if the issues persisted. It could also lead to state and federal funds being withheld or warrant direct intervention from state officials.

Registration for Building Parent Leadership Skills In Early Childhood

From MAF: For Complete Post, click here…

This free, four-part series of online workshops will help parents understand the important role of they have in positions of leadership.

As a parent, there are many opportunities to add your voice, knowledge and experience to local, county and state boards that support families of children with disabilities.

• Leadership opportunities on local, county and state boards
• Learn your leadership style
• Discuss the importance of early childhood Inclusion
• Your mission: taking your involvement to the next level

Who should attend? Parents of children birth to 5 who receive/received Early On® services, current LICC representatives, and parents who are interested in serving on local, county and state boards. Participants are encouraged to attend all 4 sessions.

If you require accommodations or materials in an alternative format, please let us know two weeks before the event.

Time

Oct 26, 2021 07:00 PM
Nov 2, 2021 07:00 PM
Nov 9, 2021 07:00 PM
Nov 16, 2021 07:00 PM

Time shows in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice Secures Commitment From Boy Scouts of America to Appoint a Survivor on National Executive Board

From The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice: For Complete Post, click here…

Survivor Representation on Executive Board to Add Greater Accountability and Ensure Current and Future Scouts Are Protected

Coalition Launches New Website, scoutingabusesurvivors.com, to Inform and Update Survivors on Historic, Multibillion-dollar Plan

The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice (“Coalition”) announced today that it has successfully negotiated a commitment from the Boy Scouts of America to appoint a Boy Scouts sexual abuse survivor to its National Executive Board as part of the Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.

“This measure is a critical step toward justice for survivors around the country,” said Coalition Co-Founder Ken Rothweiler of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. “It was of utmost importance to the Coalition that we secure accountability beyond monetary compensation. Having a survivor in the room when decisions are made means that their voices will be heard well beyond this bankruptcy.”

“We heard repeatedly from the thousands of survivors we represent that it’s not just about the money, it’s about accountability and making sure this never happens again,” said Coalition Co-Founder Anne Andrews of Andrews & Thornton. “The only way to do that is to make the Board less opaque, more transparent, and further accountable to the 83,000-person survivor community once this bankruptcy concludes.”

“This action to add a survivor to the very top level of its decision-making is going to reverberate far beyond the Boy Scouts,” said Adam Slater of Slater Slater Schulman LLP. “It should serve as a clarion call to other institutions facing historical abuse claims, from USA Gymnastics to universities to the Catholic Church.”

Additionally, the Coalition announced the launch of its new website, scoutingabusesurvivors.com, to share critical information and updates to the survivor community as they vote from now until December 14, 2021 to approve the Reorganization Plan, which includes the largest sexual abuse settlement fund in history – $1.887 billion and growing.

The ADA lawsuit settlement involving an accessibility overlay

By Sheri Byrne-Haber: For Complete Post, click here…

What the settlement agreement included, and what does it mean for the industry?

Eyebobs’ is an online glasses company that was sued for not meeting accessibility requirements by a blind plaintiff in January 2021. “Accessibility” refers to whether or not something is usable by an individual with a disability. The general standard used globally is WCAG

Like hundreds of thousands of websites, the Eyebobs’ website used an accessibility overlay to attempt to mitigate its known inaccessibility. Accessibility overlays are tools that attempt to make websites accessible. However, overlays (also known as tools, plugins, and widgets) force users with disabilities to use the assistive technology provided by the overlay rather than the assistive technology that the user may prefer to use that might be customized for their unique needs. Overlays do not make websites accessible, and can actually create accessibility problems for users.

What distinguished this case from the almost 200 other accessibility lawsuits involving overlays was the participation of Karl Groves as an expert witness, who wrote (and made public) this 35-page scathing indictment of how inaccessible the Eyebobs’ website was despite using a well-known accessibility overlay.

Karl is also responsible for creating overlayfactsheet.com, a website where over 600 accessibility professionals have signed a pledge which requires in part that the signatory “never advocate, recommend, or integrate an overlay which deceptively markets itself as providing automated compliance with laws or standards.” Note: I am proud to be signatory #38 on overlayfactsheet.com

The Eyebobs’ settlement requires them to make numerous changes to policies, procedures, and personnel to promote the accessibility of its digital properties. I will address each of these changes one by one. All of the statements in the remainder of this article attributed to the overlay companies were copied directly from their respective vendors’ sites on October 17, 2021.