“It’s Happening” a victimization awareness campaign to educate and end violence against persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities brought to you by The Arc of Missouri and MODDC. Click here to watch: Rusty’s Story
Since 2007 eitas has promoted the development of gentle cultures by providing Gentle Teaching training, mentoring and consultation. For the first 6 years, until his passing, we were honored to be taught by the founder of Gentle Teaching himself, Dr. John McGee. Individuals, family members and provider agencies throughout Missouri as well as several surrounding states have taken advantage of this opportunity to learn how to create a sense of community, companionship and connectedness with their family member or persons supported.
The initial focus in this initiative was to teach all of us how to create encounters that centered on helping marginalized people feel safe with caregivers, other people served and eventually the greater community. The broader goal has been that every person will not only feel safe and loved by others but also become loving and actively engaged in community life.
Administrators who make the commitment to creating a gentle culture within their organization are faced with a series of system challenges. One of the first is how to balance the desire to “administer supports from the heart as well as from the bottom line.” Obviously, there are many duties and functions that take up the time of administrators such as fund raising, legislation, public relations, Board of Directors, politics, lawsuits. These responsibilities are important, but when they become less critical than creating a stable work force and ensuring that the people supported have the capacity to feel safe and loved and move to full participation in their own lives, a gentle culture will be realized.
Because “outcomes” are also important to administrators you may be asking: What are the outcomes of having a gentle culture? Other than the direct benefit to the people supported there are many practical outcomes that relate to the bottom line such as cost savings and sustaining a stable workforce. All of which are worth tracking. Outcomes that have been documented by organizations with gentle cultures include: decreases in staff injuries and worker compensations claims; decreases in property destruction and insurance cost savings; decreases in event reporting; decreases in injuries to persons supported; decreases in use of psychotropic medications; decreases in agency citations; decreases in violence; increases in pro-social interactions; increases in personnel morale and motivation; increases in staff longevity; increases in satisfaction of persons supported, family and guardians.
If you or your organization are interested in experiencing the many great outcomes of gentle cultures, I invite you to become part of the eitas Gentle Teaching Community. Training information is listed on the website; and additional information is available from the Agency Relations staff with contact information also listed on the website.
Eitas recognized from its inception that safe and reliable transportation for persons with developmental disabilities was critical in supporting self-independence and integration into their communities. Therefore, in 1992 eitas implemented its own Department of Transportation (DOT).
Today eitas transports over 500 individuals a day to and from their workplaces throughout Jackson County. In addition, eitas provides specialized weekend and evening transportation. In 2012, through a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation, eitas began an ”advance call” program for eligible individuals living in eastern Jackson County where public transportation is not available.
From the very beginning, eitas’ DOT has been committed to providing professional, safe, and reliable transportation. Our drivers our trained and monitored in accordance with federal standards, and in addition to learning the proper rules of the road they are trained in CPR, First Aid, proper lifting techniques and Gentle Teaching. Each driver undergoes in-depth background checks as well as screening for alcohol and drug use.
Safety is key to our success and our fleet of buses are maintained in our own garage and by our own team of mechanics. Buses are also equipped with on-board monitoring through video and audio recording devices and can be tracked by GPS in real-time.
Unfortunately, funding and the number of buses and routes available may limit our ability to always meet the transportation needs of everyone who is eligible. For information about eligibility for transportation please contact our Intake and Information Unit at 816-363-2000.
We were honored to host a special guest at our offices last week. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon joined persons we support, family members, advocates and providers on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the eitas- Jackson County Developmental Disability Services offices in Kansas City.
He took action on House Bill 2010, and signed the Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the Department of Mental Health. The budget answers the Governor’s call for historic investments in services to help Missourians with developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders live healthier, safer and more productive lives.
The bill marks a landmark investment in disability services, and we are honored that the Governor chose to take action right here in Kansas City at our eitas offices. Thank you, Governor!
Thanks to all who joined us on April 2 for the 5th Annual Ability 5K Run, Walk and Roll! There were approximately 150 participants registered for the event, held at beautiful Longview Lake.
The proceeds from this event will go to a scholarship fund set up by eitas in memory of Michael Haseltine. Scholarship proceeds will be used to assist college students whose major studies focus on working in the Developmental Disability field. Funds will also assist individuals supported by eitas, so they may pursue a higher education.
We are especially grateful to the event sponsors: Heartland Homecare, Lathrop and Gage, Mayer/Hoffman/McCann P.C., Starbucks, Killer Kite Productions and Austen Dooley Company. And to our wonderful staff volunteer committee who shepherded the 5K throughout the year so it would be such a success.
The Ability 5K is just another way we are able to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. We provide services that respect their choices, increase their opportunities, encourage their independence, and assist their inclusion in all aspects of the community.
If you missed out on this year’s fun, we hope to see you next year at this wonderful family-friendly event! Thanks again to all who came out to walk, run, roll and lend support!
Posted in in the media, News, support services
Tagged annual ability 5k run, austen dooley company, developmental disability, eitas, heartland homecare, killer kite productions, lathrop and gage, longview lake, mayer/hoffman/mccann p.c., michael haseltine, scholarship, starbucks
Did you know that the month of April is Autism Awareness Month? It provides an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year.
So what exactly is autism? According to Autism Society, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of symptoms and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes.
Some of the symptoms often associated with autism include:
- delayed learning of language
- difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation
- difficulty with higher level thinking related to reasoning and planning
- narrow, intense interests
- poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities
The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder should only be made by a qualified medical professional familiar with all of the issues that can be attributed to it. Due to little understood reasons, the number of people diagnosed with autism has grown astronomically in the last few decades. But thankfully through initiatives such as Autism Awareness Month, people who are not informed about it, are becoming more aware and sensitive to its impact on the persons who do have it.
I am proud to report that eitas has released its first-ever short film, The Dance, that tells the love story of Nia and Marshall, two persons supported by Developmental Disability Services of Jackson County.
Footage of the film’s stars, Nia and Marshall, was obtained over a two-day period in December, 2015. Nia and Marshall allowed the Films for Humanity team to accompany them on a series of very special outings around the Kansas City metro, as well as to their respective homes. The two have been a couple for sometime and plan to be married in the next year.
We enjoyed a special film screening for eitas staff on March 4, 2016. In a nutshell, the film is more than we could have ever hoped for. It is a love story, pure and simple. We have been given a glimpse into the lives of two people who are deeply in love…people who have the same needs and wants and desires that we all have. We are so proud that Nia and Marshall’s support coordinators were able to step in and facilitate their relationship in such a helpful and meaningful way.
To learn more about eitas and the persons we serve, visit us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @eitasJacksonCo. To view The Dance, click here.
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” and the presidential proclamation called upon Americans to provide the encouragement and opportunities necessary for people with developmental disabilities to reach their potential.
This seems like a great opportunity for me to introduce our new blog and social media presence. We hope to use our blog, Facebook and Twitter to communicate on a regular basis with those we support, their families, providers and the community as a whole.
I hope you’ll check back frequently, learn to use these resources and know that you’ll get useful, up-to-date information on many topics- not only related to eitas and our daily operations, but on the disability and special services communities as a whole and even the larger Kansas City area in which we live and work.
The month commemorates the progress we have made toward improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities while bringing to light the challenges that remain in achieving full inclusion for all people. Join me in advocating for inclusion! Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! #DDAwareness
Posted in in the media, News, support services, training
Tagged blog, Developmental Disabilities Month, disability, eitas, facebook, jake jacobs, special services, twitter
The proceeds from this event will go to a scholarship fund set up by eitas in memory of Michael Haseltine. Scholarship proceeds will be used to assist college students whose major studies focus on working in the Developmental Disability field and to the individuals we support for pursuing a higher education.
Click here to Register