Region 4 Parent Technical Assistance Center
Newsletter Issue 23July 2014
In This Issue
Resources for Self Advocates
Capacity Building through Technology
Health Care Decision Making
Multicultural Transition & Self Advocacy Tools
WIOA to be Law
Bank Check Up
Risk Management-Volunteers
Mark the Date
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Quick Links

This Quarter in Region 4
Welcome to the July Issue of the Region 4 PTAC Newsletter! 
Each quarter's newsletter will focus on a particular theme, pulled directly from OSEP's 14 priority areas. This edition will focus on TRANSITION, (this includes evidence-based education practices, school reform, outreach, data, and family-centered services. This edition also contains resources related to technology and nonprofit management. A review of OSEP's 14 Priority Areas:


  • Evidence-based education practices that improve early learning
  • Evidence-based education practices that improve school-aged outcomes
  • Evidence-based education practices that improve post-secondary outcomes
  • College- and career-ready standards
  • College- and career-ready assessments
  • School reform efforts to improve student achievement and increase graduation rates
  • The use of data to inform instruction
  • The use of data to advance school reform efforts
  • Best practices in outreach
  • Best practices in family-centered services
  • Best practices in self-advocacy skill building
  • Best practices in nonprofit management
  • Best practices in the use of technology in service provision
  • Best practices in the use of technology in nonprofit management

Resources for Self Advocates


As parent centers, our services are continually evolving to meet our consumers' needs.  Self-advocacy, while certainly not a new topic, has become an increasingly larger part of the issues that our centers provide information and training on.   There are a lot of great resources available, but many are written with adults as the intended audience. 



Kids as Self Advocates (KASA), offers over 60 tip sheets and guides written for youth, by youth.  They are written to share real life experiences and helpful information with other youth. They have been reviewed by the KASA Task Force (also made up of youth with disabilities) to make sure they are youth-friendly and accessible. The PDF versions make great handouts at exhibits and as supplemental materials for your transition trainings. The full list of tip sheets can be found here



The U.S. Labor Department's OneStop Career System   is a great site for students to learn about careers, industries, work options, and related skills, abilities, and education levels needed. The   Video Library has many videos, including some in Spanish, showing people working in over 550 careers.  


Taking the "Mis" out of Misunderstood Kids


In his new book, hot off the press,Taking the "Mis" Out of Misunderstood KidsJoe Overturf (a WI FACETS' Volunteer Parent Leader) shares his life journey of discovery; working with kids that schools have clearly failed. It is through his self-reflections and interactions with misunderstood students that have led him to identify and highlight practical relationships and teaching strategies. Overturf displays confidence in, and inspires hope for, our most vulnerable students. This is an inspiring read for parents and others supporting children and youth with disabilities!


National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities


High dropout rates among youth with disabilities are a serious national concern. In response to this concern, the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD) was established in 2004 to assist in building states' capacity to increase school completion rates for students with disabilities. Find out more...




Is your state focusing on SPP Part B Indicators 1,2,13 or 14 in their SSIP?  If so, this resource from the NDPC-SD might be worth checking out!  The STEPSS tool, developed in collaboration with NSTTAC and NDPC-SD, facilitates the dissemination of secondary transition data from States to their local districts and encourages district use of a data based decision-making model to identify needs and help prescribe appropriate strategies and interventions. Read more





     Capacity Building through Technology


The GroundWork group Continuum of Technology Maturity is an instrument designed to help nonprofits identify all of their business functions that can be further enhanced through better use of technology. This is a great assessment to consider as part of your strategic planning process.  The assessment goes through nine core business functions:  Strategic Planning; Marketing; Constituent Management; Communications; Fundraising; Service Delivery; Reporting; Day-to-Day Operations and Training & Education. See the tool.
Success in a Wired World
Parent center staff can apply mindfulness techniques to our digital lives in a number of ways to help us boost our productivity and reduce stress.



 Including Health Care Decision Making in the Transition IEP


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) just released a comprehensive toolkit to empower youth and young adults with disabilities and their families to manage their own health care as they transition from school to adulthood. ASAN urges parents and schools to include health care decision making goals in Transition IEPs as an essential independent living skill to prepare those students to take those roles during adulthood. 


The "Health Care Guide for Youth and Families" contains several worksheets and exercises for students to practice making and confirming their appointments. This includes: checklists on what to bring to those appointments, i.e. insurance card, medical records, etc.; and body charts to describe symptoms and pain. The guide also provides exercises on how to address questions after appointments, and information on getting a lab, x-ray and other testing.


ASAN's toolkit provides resources for advocacy both on an individual and a system-wide basis. In addition to the worksheets mentioned above, the guide offers information on the types of health insurance and also examples of formal and informal support arrangements to create the support network that youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities might need when graduating from high school. Parent Centers can now offer this free resource to families they serve and even better, staff can learn new tips on including decision making goals in Transition IEPs.




Transition & Self-Advocacy Tools in English, Spanish & Chinese


Families Creating a Vision and Building Inclusive Lives for their Children  English | Spanish | Chinese

For families who want to create visions that lead to inclusive lives for the children with developmental disabilities, read about Nick and Brissa. Learn about creating a vision, building community connections and making meaningful futures happen.


Making My Own Choices  English | Spanish
This booklet has been developed to help people choose things that are important to them in their life.


My Choice, My Future: Making Informed Choices  English | Spanish
This guide is an easy-to-use six page booklet geared for users with disabilities who are in transition from high school to adult life. With plain language and helpful graphics, the tool guides individuals to practice self-direction as they: THINK about their futures; make a simple PLAN; and DO what they need to get started. After completing the booklet can be easily shared at team meetings, with family, teachers and support staff.


How I Want to Spend My Time: Making Informed Choices  English | Spanish
This guide is an easy-to-use six page booklet geared for users with disabilities seeking person-centered adult services to support their futures. With plain language and graphic cues, the tool guides individuals to practice self-direction as they: identify how they want to spend their time and support they need. The tool also provides questions to ask when choosing service agencies to meet their goals and a straightforward agreement page.


        justice scales     
     WIOA to Be Signed Into Law
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a historic bipartisan, bicameral bill that amends and reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) through 2020, will be signed into law by President Obama.  H.R. 803, which passed the Senate June 25 and House July 9, authorizes key improvements to the nation's workforce development system. It will help workers attain the foundation skills necessary for 21st-century jobs. The law emphasizes the creation of career pathway programs, the integration and coordination of education and training services, and streamlined service delivery to individuals-especially  those who are under-prepared. Key provisions, designed to better align employment and training services for youth and adults with adult education and vocational rehabilitation services, include requiring states to develop unified plans and use common accountability measures.  The new law eliminates the "sequence of services" of the WIA and provides the ability to fund training services through contractual arrangements, opening expanded opportunities for community colleges to participate. Watch OCTAE Connection and OCTAE blog for details. OCTAE Connection #206, 7/16/14.


Transition Assessments for Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities


In a recent case, Gibson ex rel. Gibson v. Forest Hills Local School District Board of Education, 62 IDELR 261 (S.D. Ohio 2014), a judge ordered the district to pay up to $35,398 in postsecondary services because it did not conduct age-appropriate transition assessments or develop appropriate postsecondary IEP goals. 


Self-determination assessment tools:  AIR Self-Determination Assessments, ARC Self-Determination Scale, and Field Hoffman Self-Determination Assessment Battery


Have you had a Bank Check up Recently?

Here are some tips to make sure that your banking relationship is working for you:


Do you pay fees?  You need to make sure that you know what the fees are for, if they are necessary and how they are calculated.  It is possible that your banking needs have changed and a different account type could be a better fit.  There may be another solution where your fees can be lower or nonexistent.


Does your bank know that you are a non-profit?  Sometimes there are better rates in place for nonprofit agencies. 


Is there another bank that might offer a better fit?  Be sure to shop around.  It actually is not a bad idea to be a customer at more than one bank.  You can establish a relationship with several community partners.  You never know when you might need a little extra help and each bank may have different programs and offerings.


Do you have a line of credit?  If so, great!  Keep it in place for those tight cash times.  It's worth the small fee to set it up.  If you don't have one, you may want to set one up.  It is easier to pull down funds when a line is already in place.  Otherwise, at a time of emergency, you may not qualify for help if your numbers don't look so good.  Side note: Don't get in too deep with the amounts you borrow.  You do have to plan to pay them back in the short term.  If long term problems exist with cash flow, you will need to discuss cutting costs or increasing revenue with additional funding sources before you start drowning in debt.  That is another topic altogether!


Do you have a strong contact person at your bank?  Your banking contacts may be great associates for your parent center's fund raising efforts.  A lot of banks pride themselves on how they give back to the community.  Call them and tell them about your wonderful services within the community.  They may be happy to get involved in your agency with time, money and/or publicity.  Keep lines of communication open so that you have an advocate for your parent center!



 Do We Need Insurance for our Volunteers?


This is a question we get frequently at the Region 4 PTAC and we almost emphatically state, "Yes!"  Consider these (unfortunately true) worst case scenarios recently posted on Blue Avocado. What can happen, really? A lot, actually. Here are some claims scenarios culled from over 20 years of data at the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group.


  • A volunteer on agency business ran a stop sign and hit a vehicle whose driver wound up paralyzed from the neck down. The volunteer's own personal coverage had lapsed, so the agency's auto coverage became primary and the claim was settled for the $2,000,000 in available limits.
  • Volunteers were clearing a field and one of them, while using a chainsaw, sent a flying object into the eye of another volunteer. The sight in that individual's eye was lost and the claim settled for more than $1 million.
  • A volunteer sexually abused multiple children over a four-year period. The nonprofit had not provided adequate supervision and was held responsible for $4,000,000 in claims.
  • A volunteer claimed that the nonprofit had discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation. The claim settled for $750,000, most of which was for plaintiff attorney fees.
  • A volunteer slipped and fell on the nonprofit's floor and fractured her hip. She sued the landlord who turned out to be an additional insured on the nonprofit's insurance policy. The claim settled for $550,000, which included a Medicare lien.

For more information on this topic, you can read the full article on Blue Avocado here.

For a very comprehensive document, please read:  A Nonprofit's Guide to Risk Management and Insurance.



Region 4 Webinar: Measuring your Online Communications

Presented by Idealware, 1:00-3:00 CST, 2:00-4:00 EST



CPIR Webinar: Children with Traumatic Brain injury, 3 pm EST



Region 4 Cohort Call with David Emenheiser, OSEP Project Officer

1:00 pm CST / 2:00 pm EST



OSEP State Advisory Panel/Interagency Coordinating Council Webinar (mandated non-parent positions



CPIR Webinar: Alternate Assessments for Common Core Standards, 3 pm EST


OSEP Quarterly Call - 2:00 pm CST / 3:00 pm EST

Region 4 Topical institutes - Milwaukee, WI
Region 4 Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
serving parent centers in: 
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin
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The contents of this e-newsletter were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education,  #H328R130010. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department 
of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer - David Emenheiser