Wayne State University

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Current MI-DDI News and Events

January 30th, 2017

AUCD ACTION ALERT – Congress has passed a budget resolution that is the first step toward repealing the Patient Protection an Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare. There are many steps to go. The next major step is for congressional committees to determine how the repeal will occur and what to put in place of the current health care law.

There are key protections in the ACA that support the health and well-being of people with disabilities that we cannot lose. It is critical to people with disabilities and their families to retain these reforms. These protections include:

  • Prohibition against Denial of Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions (including disabilities) and prohibiting charging higher premiums or fees if a person has such conditions
  • Prohibits insurance providers from canceling coverage if they acquires a health condition; Prohibition against Lifetime Monetary Caps.
  • Prohibits insurance providers from discrimination based on health Status, medical condition (mental or physical illness), disability, race, and gender
  • Requires insurance providers to spend the money collected from insurance premiums on medical care
  • Requires insurance providers to include in their policies, at a minimum, a set of essential benefits that includes preventive services, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, and mental and behavioral health care
  • Expanding health care coverage to include millions of Americans by: requiring insurance provider to cover dependents until age 26, increasing Medicaid programs in 32 states for low income individuals & families.

It is critical that the disability community is a part of any discussion about the repeal and replacement of the ACA in order to ensure changes meet the needs of people with disabilities. Roughly 19% of Michigan Residents are currently covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 


Read the full AUCD Press Release

The Michigan ABLE (MiABLE) Program Will Begin Enrollment on November 1, 2016
October, 2016

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program was created to encourage and assist individuals and families in saving funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence and quality of life; and to provide secure funding for qualified disability expenses on behalf of designated beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the Medicaid program, the beneficiary’s employment and other sources.

The Arc Michigan will be hosting an offical press conference with Lt. Governor Brian Calley on Tuesday November 1st, 2016 at 11:00 am, on the Capitol Steps. The Michigan Department of Treausry will have people on hand to help people enroll into the MiABLE program.

To learn more about the MiABLE program, please visit: http://www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid

September is n Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month!
September, 2016

FASD Awareness Month is a permanent expansion of FASD Awareness Day, observed each year since 1999. September of 2015 was the first annual FASD Awareness Month, and it was an enormous success!

FASD Awareness Day Resources:

September 9th, 2016- FASD Awareness Day Packet

FASD Resources in Michigan Interactive Map

2016 FASD Awareness Toolkit Available for Download/Print

Making a Difference: FASD Public Awareness Guide

Acting ACL Administrator Edwin Walker Addresses the Home and Community-Based Services Conference
August 29, 2016- Washington, DC, Remarks as prepared

Good afternoon, and thank you for inviting me to join you today.
It’s such a privilege to represent the Administration for Community Living on this stage. Although I have to tell you—it’s a bit daunting to try to follow Kathy Greenlee up here. I had the honor of being part of Kathy’s team when she, Sharon Lewis, and Henry Claypool conceived and established ACL, and it’s a tremendous honor to help carry their legacy forward into the next administration.
Read the Full Article »

The Michigan UCEDD Announces Several New Collaborations
August 3, 2016

The Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) at Wayne State University, recently received funding for a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program. The Michigan LEND (MI-LEND) is the state's first LEND program and one of the largest collaboration of universities within the AUCD LEND Network.

Read the Full Article »

The Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State receives $2.2 million HRSA grant to support neurodevelopmental disabilities leadership education
July 12, 2016

Six Michigan universities partner to improve the health of children with disabilities

DETROIT – Wayne State University recently received a $2.2 million, five-year grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration for the project “Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) Maternal Child Health (MCH) Training Program,” or MI-LEND. The purpose of MI-LEND is to improve the health of infants, children and adolescents with disabilities in Michigan by training individuals from diverse disciplines to assume leadership roles in their respective fields and work across disciplines.

Read the Full Announcement »


Interested in learning more about MI-LEND?

Take a Brief Survey on Mental Health-Related Insurance Experiences from the Mental Health Association in Michigan
July, 2016

This survey is a follow-up to work the Mental Health Association did in 2014 to analyze coverage offerings from 88 individual insurance policies available through the Health Marketplace and commercially in Michigan. The analysis concluded that, contrary to federal law and regulation, these policies were not uniformly offering behavioral health parity coverage.
Your experiences will be very helpful in looking at what’s happening in Michigan when it comes to mental health-related insurance coverage.

Take the Survey Online!

Download the Printable Survey

Attention! Families who have Children With Disabilities
DDI is Recruiting Families to Participate in a Project that Helps Train Future Medical Professional on Family Centered Practices!

The Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) is collaborating with the Wayne State University School of Medicine, to train medical students to improve their ability to understand the unique needs of with families who have children with disabilities. Your family will help prepare the professionals physicians of tomorrow!

To participate, you must:

  • Have a child with a developmental disability under the age of 26
  • Medical students will provide two home visits with your family
  • Partake in 45 minute to 1 hour home meetings for each home visit

Interested in Participating?
If your family is interested in participating contact:
Elizabeth Janks, LMSW, at ab3707@wayne.edu, or (248) 990-6467

View the Recruitment Flyer

Wayne State University's Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) Program is Still Accepting Undergraduate Applications for Fall 2016
July, 2016

WSU is offering a three-course elective sequence with associated practicum experience and seminar that trains practitioners extensively in Applied Behavior Analysis with a focus on treating Autism. This training is currently under review by the WSU Provost's office and the Board of Governors. If approved, students will be awarded an Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis upon satisfactory completion of the courses and practica. Students who successfully complete the courses are eligible to sit for the BCaBA examination, which, upon passing, would lead to the BCaBA credential.

Click Here To Visit the BCaBA Program Website
Click Here For the BCaBA Program Brochure and Application

Attention MI Support Coordinators!
Registration is Open for the Using the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) to enhance the Person Centered Planning Process Online Training Program

July, 2016

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Department (MDHHS)& The American Association On Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities will be hosting a three phase online training program on the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS). To participate in this training program you will need to complete the training items within the Three Phase Online Training Program which have been assigned within AAIDD’s Learning Management System and appear on your learning plan.

The online training program consists of the following required items:

  • Phase I: Online Module
  • Phase II: Scenario Survey
  • Phase III: Live Online Training Sessions

Click Here For Registration Details

Sign up for the Supporting Parents with Disabilities Resource ListServ
May, 2016

The DDI has has created a listserv for professionals to share and discover new resources to supports the parents with disabilities.

Click Here to Sign Up

Save the Date for the 2016 Culture of Gentleness Conference!

For more information please visit the conference website!

Boston University is Seeking Professionals that work with Youth or Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities To Participate in a Focus Group
May, 2016

Researchers at Boston University are looking for professionals (such as therapists, educators, and social workers) who work with youth with developmental disabilities ages 8-21 to participate in a focus group to make the PEDI-PRO software better. To learn more about the study, click here.

If you are interested, contact Jessica Kramer, the head of the study at Boston University, at yellbulab@gmail.com, or 617- 353-7522. Contact her today to be part of this study and share your expertise.

Michigan's Home and Community-Based Services Program Transition Project Webpage
April, 2016

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is preparing for compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) rule change on Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). The Developmental Disabilities Institute is assisting MDHHS with this transition process and will start the statewide assessment process for the Habilitation Supports Waiver in May 2016.

Please visit the Michigan HCBS Project Webpage if you would like to learn more about the survey process, download additional survey information or to discover national HCBS resources.

DDI's Elizabeth Janks Presented at the 2016 Rare Disease Day Michigan
March, 2016

The Developmental Disabilities Institute’s, Elizabeth Janks, shared information about the many projects and resources available to families and individuals with disabilities at the Michigan Rare Disease Day at the State Capitol on Thursday, March 24th. The high costs incurred to treat health complications are staggering and push those affected into living in poverty, many reliant on public subsidy programs. Senator Margaret O’Brien of Kalamazoo County, who is a parent of a young woman with a rare disease, spoke about the need to continue advocacy for all people whose lives are affected by illness, disability and profound challenges that impede their ability to lead their lives. The focus of the event was to bring awareness to the challenges that people with rare diseases face on a daily basis.

For more information contact Jen O’Connor NORD State Ambassador, jen.oconnor@rareaction.org or visit the website at www.rarediseases.org .

Flint Residents: Are You Wondering How to Get Your Child Tested For Lead Poisoning?
February, 2016

Michigan Alliance For Families has created a flyer that will help explain how the effects lead has on children. Lead poisoning can harm a child’s development. It’s important that children be evaluated and special attention is paid to their growth and development.

The Developmental Disabilities Institute Will Welcome New Director, Dr. Sharon Milberger in 2016

Dr. Sharon Milberger

Wayne State University's Provost Announcement- Nov. 9th, 2015

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Sharon Milberger, Ph.D., as the director of the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) effective Jan. 1, 2016. Dr. Milberger joins Wayne State from the Henry Ford Health System, where she is director of Henry Ford LiveWell, a wellness center of excellence. In that position, she focuses on optimizing the well-being of health system employees, patients and community members. Previously, she was the DDI’s associate director for research, where she led programs addressing early intervention, osteoporosis in women with Down syndrome, expansion of the Family Support Subsidy, and violence and abuse against women with physical disabilities.

Read the Full Announcement »

DWMHA Featured Story on CBS-62 "Eye on Detroit", Includes Collaboration with DDI's Angela Martin, LMSW
November, 2015


Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signs ABLE Act, providing assistance to Michigan families in saving for disability-related expenses

Michigan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE Act) and authorizes ABLE savings accounts to be used for spending on education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, prevention and wellness, financial management, legal fees and other expenses.

"The ABLE Act provides Michiganders with disabilities more financial opportunities that will help them live more self-determined independent lives,” Calley said. “Families will now have tax-exempt options to save more money to support their loved ones without worrying about losing access to other benefits.”

Click Here For More Information on ABLE Accounts

Angela Martin, LMSW from Wayne State University’s Developmental Disabilities Institute works with Disability Rights International in Ukraine (MI UCEDD)
July, 2015

In July 2015 Angela Martin, LMSW from the Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University was invited by Disability Rights International (DRI) to travel to Ukraine and prepare individuals with disabilities, family members, and service providers to advocate for community-based, person-centered supports. DRI is working to organize individuals with disabilities and family members following its three-year long examination of the inhumane conditions that children with disabilities experience in Ukraine’s orphanages.......


Dr. Steven Erickson,PharmD. Professor at the U of M will be recognized by the U of M Council for Disability Concerns for his work educating and advocating for Individuals with Disabilities on medications management and independence.
August, 2015

Promoting acceptance and awareness of Individuals with disabilities through advocacy and research are practices that can be taught within various professional disciplines. Dr. Steven Erickson's work advocating for individuals with disabilities in the field of pharmacy not only exemplifies this interdisciplinary advocacy, but it has also led to his recent certificate of appreciation that will be awarded to him by the University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns at the 26th annual James T. Neubacher ceremony......

Elizabeth Janks was Prepared for Just About Anything as she Traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to Present at the 6th International Conference on Disabilities
July, 2015

Every four years Beit Issie Shapiro hosts an International Conference on Disabilities that brings together a wide range of professionals to learn and collaborate on the various research methods and practices going on in the field of disabilities around the world. Included in the list of presenters for this years' international conference in Tel Aviv, is Elizabeth Janks, LMSW from the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Janks presentation focuses on Emergency Planning for people with disabilities and their support systems....


RI World Congress 2016

The 23rd Rehabiliation International (RI) World Confernce will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland on October 25th-27th 2016. This conference is expected to host over 1,000 delegates from all over the world to discuss the theme of inclusivity and how to tackle issues which impact the lives of individuals with disabilities everywhere. Don't miss the chance to collaborate with other to make change, meet various expert in different fields, and build new networking sources from all over the world.

Who should attend?: Reachers, Policy Makers, Advocates, Persons with disabilities, Practitioners, and Government officals.

Registration Details: If you are interest in attending this event please send an email to: enquiries@worldcongress.com. You can also check for early bird and special rate discounts at on the RI World Congress website.

Click Here For More Event Information!

Event Celebrates DDI's ARIE Project 

April, 2015

Check out this article featured in the Prognosis E-News about the Arie Project reception celebration. The event that took place April 29th at the Wayne State University School of Medicine to celebrated the families that participated in the Arie Co-curricular Clinical Initiative project between Wayne State University's Developmental Disabilities Institute and the School of Medicine. The goal of the Arie project is to help first and second year medical students become better prepared practitioners by acquainting them to the needs of families with special needs children.The DDI and the WSU school of Medicine would like to extend a HUGE Thank You to all the families that came out to celebrate this collaborative project.

Click Here to View the Article!

The Sibling Survival Guide' Proivides a Resource for Teen and Adults Siblings of Persons with Disabilities (December, 2014)

If you're a teenaged or adult brother or sister of someone with a disability, then this book is expressly for you. It offers a sense that you're not alone, tips on how to talk to your parents about plans for your sibling, and a crash course in guardianship, medical & legal issues, and government benefits if you're already caring for your sib.

To purchase a copy of the 'The Sibling Survival Guide' please click the link below:

Buy the book here

Edited by experts in the field of disabilities and sibling relationships, 'The Sibling Survival Guide' focuses on the topmost concerns identified in a survey of hundreds of siblings. The chapter authors experienced siblings and service providers offer practical information and anecdotes about:

  • statistics & research about siblings
  • younger siblings' feelings
  • impact on your life decisions
  • caring for multiple generations
  • aging and disability
  • taking care of yourself
  • getting services & advocacy
  • future planning

Parents, counselors, and disability service agencies will also want a copy of this useful and upbeat book.

National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative Announces Locations of 11 Community Outreach Collaborative (November, 2014)


The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD)is pleased to announce that theNational Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC)has received funding for a second year. The NDNRC is an initiative aimed at providing cross-disability information and support to Navigators and other enrollment specialists thereby ensuring people with disabilities receive accurate information when selecting, enrolling and/or reenrolling in insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. The Developmental Disabilities Institute is working with other Michigan partner organizations to put this project forward in Michigan.

The Michigan Community Outreach Collaborations (COC) will have two primary tasks. First, the COC willbuild a cross-disability collaboration with at least three other disability organizations, preferably outside of the disability served by the host organization. Second, the COC willhave the cross-disability collaboration work as a resource with their local and/or state navigators and assisters.

Click here for the NDNRC Community Outreach Collaborative Flyer and more information.

The project goal is to increase enrollment and/or re-enroll individuals with disabilities and their families living in Southwest Detroit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace. This goal will be realized by developing innovative outreach strategies that will reach far into the disability community. The COC will also establish partnerships with at least three other state or local disability organizations to provide cross-disability reach.

The NDNRC website can be found at http://www.nationaldisabilitynavigator.org/. As mentioned, a major focus of year two will be to engage in dissemination and outreach activities to assist enrollment in the ACA Marketplace. This engagement will include Community Outreach Collaborations (COCs) that will increase collaborations in the community, dissemination and outreach efforts and enrollment of people with disabilities in the ACA. The 11 COCs represent 11 different states and are located in 9 of the 10 HHS regions.

To find out where the COCs are located, click this link to learn more.

DDI Director Awarded Prestigious Thomas J. Alexander Fellowship from OECD, Paris (November, 2014)

Dr. Barbara LeRoy headshot

Barbara LeRoy has been awarded a Thomas J. Alexander Fellowship through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), headquartered in Paris. The fellowship will be implemented over the 2015 calendar year. As a fellow, LeRoy will work at OECD headquarters with a team of analysts.

The OECD Directorate for Education launched the fellowship program in 2012 to honor its former director, Thomas J. Alexander. The program seeks to develop and support improvements in education quality and equity through quantitative research, policy making and leadership education. Applicants are expected to use an existing OECD education database to examine policy questions relevant to an international education audience.

For the full press release, please click on this link.

The Michigan DD Network Co-Sponsoring Employment Readiness & Supporting Employment Workshop (November, 2014)

The State of Michigan DD Network - comprised of the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC), and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc. (MPAS) - is pleased to host a workshop on supporting employment for persons with disabilities. Corey Smith, Senior Consultant with Griffin Hammis Associates, will lead a day-long workshop entitled Innovative Strategies in Community-Based Employment on Thursday, December 11, 2014 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, 201 Townsend St., First Floor, Lansing, Michigan 48933. The cost to attend is $15 per person and includes lunch. There are a limited number of scholarships available for people with disabilities. Registration deadline is December 1.

Mr. Smith will cover topics such as:

  • Investigate moving from employment readiness to the discovery process and
    how to use it as a tool to gaining employment.
  • Learn methods on how to develop individual employment outcomes for high
    school students before graduation.
  • Learn to effectively work with partners in traditional and non-traditional settings,
    including small business, to improve employment outcomes.
  • Learn to maximize economic and social capital at the individual, family, and
    agency level.

&For more information or to register, please click the links below or email Wendy Duke-Littlejohn at DukeLittlejohnW@michigan or call 517-335-2062.

Click here for the event flyer

Click here for the event registration form

DDI LogoMPAS, Inc logoDD Council Logo

Michigan Department of Community Health Releases Revised FAQ for Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) Implementation (October, 2014)

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has issued updates to its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document related to the implementation of the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS). The SIS is a strength-based, comprehensive assessment tool that measures an individual support needs in personal, work-related, and social activities in order to identify and describe the types and intensity of the supports an individual requires. The SIS includes background information on health, medical conditions, activities of daily living, and cognitive, social, and emotional skills. The SIS was designed to be part of person-centered planning processes that help all individuals identify their unique preferences, skills, and life goals.

To view, print, or download the SIS, please click the link below:

SIS frequently Asked Questions Document

MDCH logo

NowAvailable: Employment First in Michigan 2014 Report on Employment for Persons with Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities (September, 2014)

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc. (MPAS), in collaboration with the Michigan MPAS logoDevelopmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) and the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), has released a report outlining issues related to employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Michigan. The details of the report center around the vast under-representation of individuals with disabilities, particularly those

DD Council Logo

with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in the Michiganworkforce. The report also outlines the use of sub-minimum wage and the prevalence of segregated work environments.The aim is to educate policy makers about this ever important issue and to hopefully provoke meaningful policy that provides more significant pathways tointegrated competitive employment for people with disabilities.

The report was officially released to the public during a press conference on September 22nd at the Capitol building in Lansing. To view and/or download the full report, please click the link below:

http://ddi.wayne.edu/pdf/115075_mpa_employment_first_rprt_prf5.pdf (PDF copy of full report)

If you have questions regarding the report, please visit the MPAS website through this link:


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