Facebook Social Icon Instagram Icon Twitter Social Icon You Tube Social Icon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Developmental Supports

Mark D. Elmore Center

10501 Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS 66219

You are here

Department News

Spring/Summer issue of Speak Up!

Speak Up Newsletter Spring/Summer 2018

Our Self-Advocate Group has put together the Spring/Summer issue of its newsletter, Speak Up! Please take a look at what this group has been up to.

Spring/Summer newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 annual report

After a lot of collaborative work among many people, our 2017 annual report is complete!

/sites/default/files/documents/JCDS/JCDS%20Annual%20Report%202017%20finalred.pdf

Fulfilling a drive to drive

How did Drew, Ryan, Cory and Tyler reach their goal of getting their driver’s license? Angela Walsh-Fisher, a JCDS community employment specialist, recalls how the idea got off the ground.

“At one of our self-advocacy meetings, when we asked our group what they would like to advocate for in their own lives, a majority said they wanted to learn to drive,” said Walsh. “Before we left I promised them that I would make some calls to see what I could find out.”

Those calls led Walsh to Josh Smith, program director for Transportation at Johnson County Community College and Vanessa Fernandez, a JCCC Driver’s Education instructor. Fernandez was able to take the JCCC one-day, 8-hour course, and split it into four separate sessions. The result was a program that contained shorter class times with the curriculum delivered at a slower pace that includes testing accommodations. The amount of behind-the-wheel training is determined by Fernandez for each student.

Once Walsh and Fernandez finalized the class structure, they held an informational meeting in March 2017 to explain the program. More than 50 people attended the meeting and the two offered classes quickly filled up.

Fernandez is pleased with how the class has turned out and is glad she can help people get a driver’s license who may not have been able to before this program.

“I’m very happy with who I put on the road,” said Fernandez. “They deserve to drive and they do a good job.”

This course will be offered in September and information is available online on page 84 for the Fall 2017 Continuing Education Catalog.

JCDS employee wins national award

Forrest Austin, a Direct Support Professional with Johnson County Developmental Supports, received the 2017 National Direct Support Professional of the Year award from The American Network of Community Options and Resources. ANCOR gives this award annually for exemplary work in furthering community inclusion for people living with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. Judges look at nominees’ success in helping people with disabilities build social networks, participate in the community and advocate for themselves.

Austin has worked as a Direct Support Professional for nine years, four of them with JCDS. Part of his work involves serving as a Project SEARCH employment coach, and he has supported more than a dozen individuals with intellectual disabilities in their efforts to secure and maintain employment.

"When we have people get full-time jobs for $15 an hour who have an intellectual disability, we feel like we are breaking ground," said Austin. "I want that to become the rule and not the exception for the people we serve."

"We rely on DSPs and our staff to create solutions and figure out ways to provide opportunities for our people to be part of the community,” said Chad VonAhnen, executive director, Johnson County Developmental Supports. “Forrest does that every day. He keeps his focus on our clients’ abilities, providing them with choice-driven supports and advocating alongside of them to live and work in the community."

Since 2007, ANCOR has honored exceptional DSPs with the Direct Support Professional of the Year award. The association chose Austin from 245 nominees. ANCOR also named state recipients of the DSP Recognition Award in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Moldova.

"It is a great honor to be recognized in the midst of all this, and I see it as recognition not only for my personal contributions, but to the quality services provided here in the state of Kansas and in Johnson County," said Austin. 

Follow JCDS

JCDS Facebook JCDS YouTube Twitter

News By Month