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Current DDI News and Events

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.

Summer Institute on Theology and Disability 2016
May, 2016

Western Theological Seminary and Hope College are hosting the 7th Summer Institute on Theology and Disability in Holland, Michigan, May 23-26, 2016. The Summer Institute on Theology and Disability is a four day intensive institute that brings together leading scholars and writers in the areas of theology and disability with clergy, religious leaders, practitioners, laity and others who are interested and involved in inclusive ministries and faith supports. It seeks to explore the ways that disability impacts all of the major theological disciplines as well as the many dimensions of religious life and faith community practices. One of the key goals is to appreciate the diversity of perspectives that come from scholars, practitioners, and people with disabilities and their families from a wide range of religious traditions and from a wide array of experiences with disability.

For more information on the 2016 Summer Institute, contact Bill Gaventa at bill.gaventa@gmail.com, or visit the event website: http://faithanddisability.org

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


Employment First Now in Michigan!

Executive Order 2015-15 was signed on November 18th, 2015, making Michigan one of the newest state to adapt the national Employment First model.

Read the full Employment First press release

View Executive Order 2015-15

What is Employment First?

Employment First is a national model of change that promotes fully integrated and community based employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The model includes an initiatives for more job training opportunities, mandates on work place accommodations and equal access to state minimum wage laws.

Employment First in Michigan 2014 Report

On September 22nd 2015, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc. (MPAS), in collaboration with the Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) and the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), released a report outlining the issues related to employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Michigan. The report outlined the use of sub-minimum wage and the prevalence of segregated work environments and recommended that the state of Michigan enact the Employment legislation.

View the Full Employment First Report (PDF)

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....


SAVE THE DATE: 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 new collaborative engagement project for children with disabilities 

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 athttp://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:


DDI Press Release Promotes Awareness of the Effects of Fetal Alcohol Exposure (September, 2014)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day is September 9, 2014. DDI is joining the cause to increase awareness of the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Surgeon General advises pregnant women and women who are considering becoming pregnant to abstain from alcohol consumption to eliminate FASDs, which describe a range of effects that can happen to a fetus when a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy. It is estimated that 40,000 babies are born each year with FASDs.

To view the full press release, Gov.'s proclamation, and Awareness Day Flyer, please click the links below:

DDI FASD Awareness Press Release

Governor's Proclamation of FASD Awareness Day

SAMHSA FASD Awareness Day Flyer


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