October thisABILITY Magazine
Jobs, Independence and Benefits for Ohioans with Disabilities
Published by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission
Graphic – RSC logo
Graphic – Gov. Ted Strickland and Youth Leadership Forum Delegate Brandon White
give a thumbs up in support of a conference that helps students with disabilities prepare
to be leaders in their communities. Photo by LimeLite Productions.
RSC Serving Ohio’s Baby Boomers: Older Ohioans staying on the job
Young Disability Rights Leaders Hone Skills: Forum emphasizes empowerment
HireABILITY 2008 Coming Oct. 2: Strengthening Ohio businesses through diversity
Inside Front Cover
From the Director
Accompanying photo of John M. Connelly, director of RSC
(headline) ‘Triangle for Success’ Counts on Employers
It is always heartening to hear from an employer who is thrilled with the work of an
employee who has been an RSC consumer. A recent compliment came from an
employer whose industry - real estate - is caught in an economic eddy these days.
A Canton area real estate firm recently thanked a counselor in the Bureau of Vocational
Rehabilitation for launching the real estate career of an RSC client, whose hearing loss
required her to leave a receptionist job. Since earning her license in February, this
driven real estate agent has been “exceeding incredibly at real estate,” according to her
boss. In just five months, she has closed 36 deals totaling $3.4 million and delivered a
The pleased employer wrote, “If you run across any other dynamic candidates that
would be interested in a career in real estate, keep me in mind!”
This happy story underscores the value of the “triangle for success,” comprising an
enthusiastic consumer, supportive vocational rehabilitation counselors (at RSC and its
community rehabilitation partners), and a willing employer. Like a three-legged stool,
the triangle‟s success depends on each leg carrying its weight. Such teamwork creates
a win-win-win for everybody, but especially the employer who ends up with a talented
Propping one leg of that stool is RSC‟s Employer Services‟ Unit (ESU). Among a menu
of duties, the team brings businesses and consumers together for mutual profit. Over
the years, ESU has cultivated more than 4,600 business partners that have hired
people with disabilities who had received RSC services. The businesses understand
that people with disabilities bring experience, diversity and great performance records to
their jobs. Nevertheless, less than 40 percent of working-age (21-64 years) Ohioans
with disabilities had a job in 2006, according to the 2006 Disability Status Report
published at Cornell University.
The triangle of success must do better.
For several years, RSC has sponsored events during October - National Disability
Employment Awareness Month - aimed at celebrating and strengthening the triangle for
success, especially the employers‟ interests. Just as individual consumer success
stories inspire other people with disabilities to pursue employment, public recognition of
model employers will encourage other businesses to follow suit. Each year, more Ohio
businesses look at a person‟s ability, rather than disability, as the key element for
employment and promotion. From their perspective (and ours) hiring qualified people
with disabilities is the smart thing to do. End article.
(headline) RSC Finds Local Partners to Help Protect Millions of Dollars for
County and local agencies have signed on with the Ohio Rehabilitation Services
Commission (RSC) to establish cooperative agreements that will generate new, high-
quality vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs, expand services to people with
disabilities and maximize federal match funding for its VR program.
In August, sixteen local agencies representing each of RSC‟s regional service areas
committed $4.2 million toward the agency‟s Pathways II program. The program will
provide VR services and increase the employment rate for eligible Ohioans who have
severe disabilities. The proposals will also help RSC generate $15.7 million in federal
funds, which had been in jeopardy due to state budget reductions.
“We had asked local agencies to propose plans for new and expanded services for
veterans, youths between 16 and 21 years of age, and people with severe mental
disabilities,” said John Connelly, RSC executive director. “Through the creative
collaboration, we are stretching our dollars as far possible.”
Declining state tax revenue has forced RSC to trim spending by 10 percent in the
current and next fiscal years. Every dollar RSC gets in state or local funding generates
$3.69 in federal money for VR services to people with disabilities. Pathways II will help
replace the lost state funds and the local money can be applied toward the federal
The federal money Pathways II generates must be spent in the jurisdictions of grant
recipients. Federal funds generated from state dollars are used statewide. Each
Pathways II project will be managed by RSC counselors and administrators and
participants must have RSC-approved individual employment plans.
“Pathways is a win-win program,” said Connelly. “RSC can keep needed federal dollars
in Ohio and maintain its services; and the local recipients can expand their service.
Beyond that, the people receiving services gain independence and become taxpayers.”
Pathways II programs will be reviewed annually. More bids will be accepted in the
future. Pathways II is expected to last five years.
For a list of agencies and organizations that are participating in the Pathways II
program, visit www.rsc.ohio.gov. A chart is provided to show the local funding
commitments, federal matching dollars and total amount dedicated to helping people
with disabilities. End article.
(headline) Bruce Growick Selected as RSC Commissioner
Gov. Ted Strickland has appointed Bruce S. Growick, PhD, as the newest Ohio
Rehabilitation Services Commission commissioner. He fills the unexpired term of Karen
DeWine, who resigned earlier this year.
Since 1982, Growick has been an associate professor at the Ohio State University
(OSU), where he teaches, advises students and conducts research in disability
determination and vocational rehabilitation.
Growick is widely published in the vocational rehabilitation field, especially in the area of
rehabilitating injured workers, and has received numerous awards and grants. During a
leave of absence from OSU, he served as director of the Rehabilitation Division of the
Ohio Bureau of Workers‟ Compensation.
He is a past president of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals
and the National Association of Rehabilitation Professionals in the Private Sector. From
2001 to 2005, he was a presidential appointee to the U.S. Access Board in Washington,
D.C. He has served as a vocational expert for various national and state agencies and
provided testimony before Congress and the Ohio General Assembly.
Growick received a doctorate in rehabilitation psychology (with a minor in educational
psychology) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned a master‟s degree in
counseling psychology from Columbia University and holds a bachelor‟s in psychology
from City College in New York.
His term expires in September 2010. End article.
State of Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission
Commissioners: Joyce C. Young, chair; Jacqui Romer-Sensky, vice chair; Bill Bauer;
David V. Daugherty; Bruce Growick; Joyce Rogers; David Williams
Executive Director: John M. Connelly II
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Mention of any product, service or event in thisABILITY does not constitute an
endorsement or recommendation by RSC.
RSC Commission Meetings
Open meetings of the RSC commissioners are scheduled six times annually. They are
held at RSC‟s Crosswoods Complex, 400 E. Campus View Blvd., Columbus. For
details, call (614) 438-1214.
2008 Commission Meeting Dates:
Nov. 12-13, conference
RSC thisABILITY is published four times per year as the official publication of the Ohio
Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC), Office of Communications, 400 E. Campus
View Blvd., Columbus, OH 43235-4604; (800) 282-4536 v/TTY. Content may be
reprinted with credit. Contact RSC for electronic files.
It is the policy of RSC‟s Office of Communications to use “people first” language in
stories written by staff for its publications. Articles reprinted exactly as they originally
appeared from sources outside the agency may not reflect this policy.
RSC does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, creed, national origin, race, sex or
type of disability. End article.
HireABILITY 2008 - Strengthening Ohio Businesses through Workforce Diversity
Join Ohio employers, recruiters, diversity managers and Ohioans with disabilities for
HireABILITY 2008. The FREE conference will showcase best practices in disability
employment and employee retention, explore ADA issues and celebrate diversity in
Date/Time: October 2, 2008, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Location: COSI in Columbus
HireABILITY 2008 employer panels and break-out sessions:
Solutions to Workforce Shortages: Ohio workers with disabilities - diverse, reliable and
good for business
Employee Retention: keeping outstanding employees on the job
Demystifying Hiring Fears for Managers
Successfully Recruit and Interview Workers with Disabilities
ADA Maneuvering: understand the law in relation to your business
Roadmap of Resources: discover the financial assistance and services available to help
your business succeed
No Arms, No Legs, No Disability - Breaking down barriers with comedian and
motivational speaker Brett Eastburn
**5 SHRM Credits Pending**
Register Online Today! www.rsc.state.oh.us/HireABILITY. Seating is limited.
Thanks to our Sponsors:
COSI, Huntington Bank, Ohio Business Leadership Network
The employees that have come to us through RSC are the most loyal employees we
have ever had. They are always willing to go a step beyond expectations.
Steve Koster, President
All Custom Re-Bath
The first year of our Workplace Accommodation Specialist implementation along with a
more formal partnering with RSC has realized $1.4 million in costs avoided.
Chris Moranda, Manager of Disability Programs
(headline) RSC Serves Growing Number of Older Ohioans Who Choose to Remain
in the Workforce
The Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC) has seen a boom in the number of
retirement-aged Ohioans seeking its services. Members of the Post-World War II “baby
boom,” born between 1946 and the early 1960s, want to make sure their futures are
secure and the benefits of employment help ease their concerns.
“In 2003, RSC provided vocational rehabilitation services to about 2,400 Ohioans
between the ages of 45 and 64 who found or maintained competitive employment,” said
John Connelly, RSC executive director. “In the last four years, that number has jumped
41 percent to almost 3,800 and we expect it will continue to rise.”
Many “baby boomers” in Ohio are postponing retirement due to uncertainties regarding
health care insurance and Social Security.
These boomers are likely to experience age-related vision, hearing and mobility
impairments. Such issues can make it difficult to maintain employment without
assistance, which is why RSC is seeing more of this demographic in its offices.
RSC helps people with disabilities, including seniors, by providing resources that allow
them to continue to be successful in the workforce. In 1992, the 45 to 64 age bracket
accounted for about 15 percent of its consumers. By the end of this year, RSC expects
42 percent of nearly 9,000 consumers statewide to be baby boomers.
“RSC has been anticipating a continued influx of boomers, and it is doing its best to
serve the growing population,” added Connelly. “The agency is dedicated to helping
Ohioans with disabilities achieve their employment goals, but as funding shrinks, the
challenge becomes that much more difficult.”
RSC faces funding losses totaling more than $30 million for vocational rehabilitation
(VR) over the next 16 months. State funding cuts of 10 percent recently ordered by Gov.
Ted Strickland to meet state budget shortfalls led to a $3.1 million reduction in state
funds for RSC this year. The agency must chop another $2.7 million in State Fiscal
The state cuts jeopardize $21.6 million in federal VR funds administrated by the
Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). Although an RSA funding formula
matches every dollar Ohio invests in VR with $3.70 in federal funds, the federal agency
withdraws funds at the same rate when a state‟s contributions decrease.
“RSA can also impose a $3.1 million penalty if the state‟s cuts drop Ohio below a
minimum state funding threshold, called maintenance of effort,” said Connelly. “We are
exploring and implementing programs to replace lost state revenue with local dollars in
hopes of preserving the federal funding.”
Overall, RSC helped 8,700 Ohioans with disabilities find jobs last year, nearly half of
which included employer-provided health insurance. RSC has seen a 24.3 percent
increase in competitive employment since 2003, having landed more than 40,000 jobs
for people with disabilities. As the successes continue, administrative costs have
dropped by nearly a quarter.
Accompanying chart – Baby Boomers - Now, 45-64 and in disability prone years, their
percentage of all vocational rehabilitations in Ohio has doubled in a dozen years. End
Baby boomers in the workplace
Of the 41.2 million Americans with disabilities, 27.4 percent are baby boomers
between ages 45 and 64 (2006 American Community Survey).
Thirty percent of people joining the workforce today will become disabled before
retirement, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The typical Social Security disability insurance beneficiary is a baby boomer, age
RSC rehabilitations ages 65 and older are on the rise, from 2.4 percent (1998) to
7.1 percent (2007), a trend expected to increase.
RSC Featured Consumer Karen Paver
(headline) Here for the Party
By Beth Ruth
Karen Paver has lived and worked in Marysville for more than 40 years. In the
mornings and afternoons, she used to drive a bus for Marysville Schools. When she
wasn‟t driving, she was operating her own catering business.
When Paver parked her bus to focus on her business, Karen‟s Event Center, she
discovered that years of working around roaring diesel engines had taken a toll on her
hearing. The hearing loss posed many challenges, such as communicating with party
planners. Catering events for hundreds of guests can be very difficult with a hearing
impairment. She was soon referred to RSC by another consumer who obtained hearing
aids through the agency.
Paver contacted RSC in 2004. She recalled her initial reaction when she found out how
RSC could assist her.
“I was shocked,” said Paver. “I thought hearing aids were all I‟d be able to get done, but
then they asked me, „How else can we help?‟”
RSC provided Paver with digital hearing aids, but she needed more assistance.
The agency helped her obtain doorbell transmitters that signal when customers enter
the building through the main entrance, the shop door and the service door; a telephone
transmitter to make her aware of incoming customer calls and a pager that alerts her
when the phone is ringing or a customer is arriving.
When on the phone with customers who were scheduling business meetings,
luncheons, weddings or parties at her facility, it was often hard for Paver to hear the
caller. RSC provided her with a device designed for use with her hearing aid.
The Hearing Aid Telephone Interconnect System (HATIS) plugs into the audio jack of
cordless and landline phones, as well as virtually all other communication and audio
devices. The electronic signal from the audio device travels to an earpiece. Inside the
earpiece is an induction coil that activates the hearing aid via an electronic signal. The
hearing aid acts as the receiver. Because the hearing aid is amplifying electromagnetic
signals that have never passed through the air as sound waves, it produces clear,
Before she began working with RSC, Paver had found that when things got cooking in
the kitchen, she was often unable to hear when deliveries were arriving. It was far too
difficult to hear the door when mixers and blenders were whirling. RSC wanted to make
sure no shipments were missed, so it provided her with a strobe light and receiver for
the kitchen that activates when deliveries arrive.
How It All Began
Paver got her start as a cake decorator, a talent she developed after deciding she didn‟t
like the taste of local grocery store cakes. She once tried to run a bakery, but getting up
at 3 a.m. to prepare doughnuts was not her cup of tea.
“We sort of vamped into catering from the cake decorating business,” she said.
Her initial catering business ran out of an 850-square-foot facility. She catered to other
halls and party houses. Four years ago, she and her husband built the current facility,
which holds up to 700 people.
“Without RSC, we wouldn‟t be where we are today,” said Paver.
Today, after 15 years in the catering business, Paver has more than a dozen people on
staff and her husband helps keep the kitchen running. On occasion, her children, who
are both in college, also work with her.
“Now, I don‟t have a problem being out where I need to be – out front with the
customers,” said Paver.
“RSC exceeded my expectations. I went in for hearing aids and they helped me get so
Accompanying graphics show Karen‟s Event Center, Karen Paver, and a display of food
service items at the event center. End article.
(headline) RSC Helps Families of Deaf Transition Students Prepare for Future
The Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission sponsored an exciting, informational
workshop to help parents and guide students with hearing impairments on their journeys
from high school to work or post-secondary education.
On September 12-14, 40 families of hearing impaired teens from across Ohio met at the
Columbus Marriot Airport for the “Making a Difference with Your Future” workshop. The
event focused on the students‟ self-awareness, development, career awareness and
how to begin preparing for the future. A key component of the workshop was a session
on transition from school to work or post secondary education.
“If we can give these families an idea of what to expect in the coming months and years,
we can help them develop plans for success and independence,” said Carl Sabo, RSC
workforce development manager.
Making a Difference with Your Future is one of a series of workshops by Deaf Initiatives
that have been established to guide families as they plan educational strategies and
make important decisions with their hearing impaired children. In the spring, Deaf
Initiatives will follow up the workshop by taking 20 students and their families to the
National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York and Gallaudet
University in Washington, D.C.
“Deaf Initiatives would like to thank the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission for
helping us continually reach our mission of strengthening the potential of youth who are
deaf or hard of hearing,” said Meredith Crane, the group‟s founder. “RSC‟s past support
has made a world of difference and has provided significant outcomes in the lives of
many youth, including the 175 students and families who have attended the past
Making a Difference with your Future workshops.”
RSC collaborated with Deaf Initiatives, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf,
Ohio Department of Education, Gallaudet University and several other agencies and
groups to help the families. Specialists from each organization helped them set goals
and establish timelines. The families also received insight into agencies and programs
that can enrich their children‟s futures.
Accompanying graphic – Making a Difference with the Future logo.
(headline) National Guardsman Swears By Services Received from RSC
By Beth Ruth
When Carl Linder comes home from fighting a war, he‟ll fight fires and save lives.
Thanks to the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission he overcame the challenges of
both dangerous jobs.
Linder, a Louisville, Ohio native and RSC consumer, is serving his country as a
specialist in the Ohio National Guard. He completed military training in December 2007
and began a yearlong deployment in Kuwait.
Upon his homecoming, he intends to resume work as an emergency medical technician
(EMT) with the Louisville Fire Department and get back to ambulance runs for Aultman
Hospital in Canton.
In Iraq, Linder drives a gun truck, an improvised armored vehicle that provides convoy
security. It is armed with a .50 caliber machine-gun on top. When he is not on the road,
he acts as the assistant armor specialist, checking firearms in and out for the 14th 84th
Linder knows that if he or other returning veterans with disabilities need help getting
back into the workforce, the first place to go is RSC.
“There are all kinds of things to do when you come back, and there is new equipment
and software that can help you,” said Linder, who has a reading disorder, disorder of
written expression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which causes a
chronic level of inattention and impulsive hyperactivity. He notes that for him, “things like
voice recorders can help you be successful” by allowing him to take verbal notes, which
helps him be more structured and organized.
Since soldiers returning from a military tour will have different needs, he stresses the
importance of keeping an open mind about change.
“For a vet who comes back having experienced a life-changing disability, there is a
whole new life here,” he said. “There is something else out there if you cannot do the
same job you had when you left. I‟d recommend RSC as an agency to help determine
what else there is to do.”
Linder admits that the adjustments veterans with disabilities may need to make could be
significant and difficult.
“It‟s going to be hard – and other people aren‟t going to realize how hard it will be for
you,” said Linder. But he emphasized a key lesson he learned from the military. “But,
you go until you finish. When I went to basic [training], I learned that there is no turning
Speaking from Experience
These inspirational words are from a man who is no stranger to struggle.
Linder had difficulty learning in school because of learning disabilities. As a student, he
weighed his options and decided to attend R.G. Drage Career Technical Center in
Massillon, splitting his day between work and school. He graduated in 1989.
Linder wanted to become an EMT, but he failed the certification test four times. That‟s
when he found RSC and beat the odds.
Searching online for something that would help him succeed in his career choice, Linder
came across RSC.
RSC provided Linder with WYNN, a literacy software tool designed to enhance success
for individuals with reading challenges and writing difficulties, and training on how to use
it. With this tool, Linder was ready to take the next step in achieving his career goals.
RSC sent him to a fire training course at Stark State College. He received academic
support services from Disability Support Services Director Kathy Bernstein. The school
permitted Bernstein to read aloud all of the tests, except the final exam, to Linder. He
was also allowed to take the final without a time limit.
“I broke a barrier and I hope it will provide opportunities for others,” said Linder.
Keith Johnston from AsTec, a company that helps with career training for people with
disabilities, arranged one-on-one classes for Linder.
“Having ADHD has helped me overcome adversity,” said Linder. “I told my RSC
counselor, Jennifer Wells, „I‟m going to do this,‟ and when all was said and done, I
scored in the high 80s on my test! I never had a grade like that in my life!”
Linder thanked Jeff Magee, coordinator of emergency fire services at Stark State, and
Fred Bertram, emergency fire services department chair, calling them instrumental to
When asked what he would tell others with ADHD about stepping out and taking on the
challenges the world puts before them, Linder gave a rallying cry, “You can do it!”
Linder is proof positive. In October 2006, he was hired part time as a fireman in
Louisville (now on military leave). Chief John Fetty proudly manages Linder and a team
of two dozen others.
“Linder is a focused go-getter – it‟s all about the fire service,” said Fetty. “His
participation rate is so high; not having him here makes an impact on the department.
We look forward to him coming home.”
Captain Rob Yoder underscored Fetty‟s remarks.
“Carl brings a high level of enthusiasm to the job,” said Yoder. “He‟s been at it a while,
but he looks at the job like a new guy would look at it. He‟s always thinking of new ideas
and different ways to do things.”
Linder has earned the trust and respect of his peers and supervisors.
“I‟d fight a fire with him in a heartbeat. It hurts when he‟s gone,” said Chief Fetty.
Believe it or not, Linder‟s dreams do not end with fire fighting. He wants to be a writer
and is working on scripts.
Accompanying graphics: Carl Linder stands alongside Captain Rob Yoder at the
Louisville Firehouse, Linder on fire truck, Linder putting on gear and Linder‟s hat on a
shelf End article.
(headline) Honoring Veterans with Disabilities through Vocational Rehabilitation
RSC is helping vets with disabilities return to civilian jobs and pursue new careers
November 11 is Veteran‟s Day, a day to honor Americans who have made the ultimate
sacrifice in service to their country. It is also an opportunity to recognize those who have
returned from active duty with life-changing disabilities. The Ohio Rehabilitation
Services Commission (RSC) is doing its part by helping veterans with disabilities
discover their niches in the workforce.
In 2007, RSC helped at least 484 of these Ohio soldiers achieve competitive
employment. The veterans that RSC has served average a 36.7 hour work week at a
rate of $14 per hour.
According to a U.S. Army task Force, up to 20 percent of soldiers and Marines from
tactical units leaving Iraq and Afghanistan are affected by traumatic brain injury. Data
from the Post-Deployment Health Re-Assessment, which is administered to service
members 90 to 120 days after returning to deployment, reveals that 38 percent of
soldiers and 31 percent of Marines report some type of psychological symptoms.
“RSC and its agency partners stand ready to provide Ohio‟s veterans with disabilities
the services and technology they need to return to the civilian workforce,” said John
Connelly, RSC executive director. “Ohio companies welcoming wounded warriors back
to the workforce are also encouraged to contact RSC for help with assistive technology
and workplace solutions.”
To expand its service to military families, RSC is working to provide more information
about its services to returning service members. This will allow more veterans who need
the agency‟s services to receive them quicker.
Page 10 - 11
(headline) History-Making Forum Brings Disabilities to Forefront
Issues that impact people with disabilities took center stage during the first National
Forum on Disability Issues, which was held in Columbus on July 26.
Hundreds of disability advocates attended the event, featuring a telecast address by
Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, speeches by U.S.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and actor Robert David Hall (CSI: Las Vegas). A panel
discussion was conducted and moderated by Judy Woodruff of PBS‟ NewsHour with
The forum, held on the 18th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA), often projected the excitement of a political rally, notably the “live” speech by
Harkin, stand-in for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL.
McCain, softer spoken than Harkin, broadcast his remarks from his home state.
The Ohio forum builds on a similar event held during the New Hampshire primary, when
seven presidential candidates participated in a discussion on disability issues. Disability
advocacy groups nationwide are pushing disability-related issues to the forefront to
increase the political participation of people with disabilities in this fall‟s national
Landmark legislation strengthening the ADA, while garnering overwhelming support
nationwide, remains unsettled on Capitol Hill. The Ohio RSC favors the bill.
A national audience watched the proceedings which were broadcast for the Internet and
selected other markets. All Ohio radio reading services aired the event. Chief
organizers of the forum were the Ohio Disability Vote Coalition, located in Gahanna,
and Washington-based American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the
nation‟s largest cross-disability organization. Eighty disability-related and media groups
sponsored the forum.
After welcoming remarks by Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, Tim
Harrington, Ability Center of Greater Toledo, and Andrew Imparato of AAPD; double-
amputee Hall, who portrays a coroner on the hit TV series CSI, reminded viewers that
people with disabilities represent a block of 35 million voters.
Other speakers were Mike Strautmanis of the Democratic National Committee, Jim
Dickson of AAPD, Darren Jernigan of Permobil, and Bishop Timothy Clarke, First
Church of God, site of the forum.
Accompanying graphic and quote: “This election isn‟t only about the presidency; it‟s
about who is sitting on the Supreme Court for years to come.”
- Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
Accompanying graphic - Below, PBS reporter Judy Woodruff hosts a panel discussion
with John Hannah, Arc of Ohio; Rebecca Hare, Institute for Educational Leadership;
Cynthia Owens, Oregon Developmental Disabilities Council; and Paul Tobin, United
Accompanying graphic and quote: “We must remove all doubt that the law [ADA] is
intended to protect Americans from any kind of discrimination on the basis of a physical
or mental disability.”
- Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona
“We should make it our responsibility to educate one other person with a disability so
they‟re prepared to cast an educated vote based on real knowledge about where the
candidates stand on the stuff that affects our daily lives.”
- Robert David Hall, actor
Where Do They Stand?
Sen. Barack Obama
Sen. John McCain
Candidates answer American Association of People with Disabilities questionnaire
Accompanying graphic – Woman in wheelchair entering a voting area - There are 1.8
million Ohioans with disabilities, which is a significant number when it comes to the
polls. YOUR vote is important!
Register to Vote
Voter registration forms are available at 36 RSC field offices and other locations. Go to
www.rsc.ohio.gov for the nearest RSC office. County elections boards may offer Web
sites with downloadable registration forms. Follow instructions printed in the form.
Registration ends October 6.
Ohioans can vote by absentee ballot or vote early at the county election board or
designated location. Some counties will mail absentee ballots to registered voters after
September 30. To apply for one, visit the Ohio Secretary of State‟s Web site,
www.sos.state.oh.us. Absentee ballots must be received by the county elections board
when polls close on November 4. They can be hand-delivered. Pre-Election Day voting
begins September 30. Remember to bring a valid ID to the poll.
Polling locations in Ohio must be accessible to voters with any type of disability. The
Ohio Legal Rights Services urges voters with disabilities to inspect polling locations for
accessibility before Election Day. For a Polling Place Accessibility Checklist, visit
http://olrs.ohio.gov/other/soschecklist.doc. Send concerns about accessibility to OLRS
and Secretary of State.
If you cannot mark a ballot or operate a voting machine because of a disability, ask an
elections official for, or bring, an assistant. Note: your assistant cannot be your
employer, an agent of your employer, a representative of your union, nor a candidate on
Youth Leadership Forum Empowers the Next Generation of Disability Rights
The 2008 Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) gave some of Ohio‟s most motivated students
with disabilities a one-of-a-kind leadership training experience. YLF, which is sponsored
by the Governor‟s Council on People with Disabilities (GCPD), teaches community
leadership and disability advocacy to outstanding students with disabilities.
On July 14, Gov. Ted Strickland joined GCPD chair Tanya Fernandez-Mote and co-
chair Deborah Moody in welcoming 34 Ohio high school juniors, seniors and recent
graduates to Columbus for the four-day forum. The event featured dynamic speakers
and seminar presentations, inspiring mentors and a host of fun activities that allowed
the students to learn how other teens with disabilities are preparing for their futures.
“We all have weaknesses, fears, anxieties and, in one way or another, disabilities,” said
Gov. Strickland. “But the wonderful thing about life is that we all have strength, faith and
spirit within us that longs to be set free; and every one of us has potential.”
Legislators and members of the disability community were also on hand to help the
young people familiarize themselves with government relations and the importance of
“As a legislator and as a leader, I think YLF is important,” said Rep. Jon Peterson, R-
Delaware, during the legislative luncheon. “It should help you engage as leaders and
self-advocates. The legislature depends on you to help us know the needs of our
Rep. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in
2000, told delegates that the legislature has “been given the authority to make
changes.” He told of his involvement in bills to improve accessibility and disability
awareness. He underscored the need to unite with a strong voice that will raise
awareness for disability issues in Ohio and beyond.
Highlighting the importance of voting as a form of advocacy, the Franklin County Board
of Elections brought several voting machines and demonstrated how to use them. The
delegates were reminded that in order to vote on November 4, they must be registered
and they must show some form of picture identification (including a state ID) with proof
of address, such as government issued mail, a check or government documentation.
They were also informed that when they vote on Election Day, the machines must be
ADA accessible, meaning voters must be able to vote without assistance.
Other speakers gave presentations on exploring career opportunities, education options
and assistive technology that can help people with disabilities achieve their goals. There
were peer group meetings, during which delegates were able to learn from one
Rep. Kevin Bacon, R-Columbus, and Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Warren, addressed the YLF
delegates at the Statehouse Atrium encouraging them to take every opportunity to be
leaders in their communities.
Geri Jewell, Cousin Geri on the NBC sitcom, “The Facts of Life” and the first actress
with a disability to appear on primetime television, gave a motivational presentation
during a YLF luncheon. She turned the focus from disabilities to a celebration of ability
through her inspiring, empowering, and healing presentation.
After the business was settled each day, the delegates and staff were ready to let their
hair down. A swimming party brought out members of the Ohio State University‟s Swim
Team, including Gulsah Guenec who recently competed at the Olympic games in
Beijing for her home country of Turkey. The team had such a great time with the YLF
group that they came back the following night to cut a rug at the YLF dance.
Dancing and swimming are two of the special abilities that the YLF delegates possess,
but they shared many more during the YLF talent show, where they took center stage to
read poetry, perform skits and show visual artwork.
The volunteer staff was as excited about the event as the participants. Many of them
had been YLF delegates in recent years.
“Once you‟re in, you‟re hooked,” said Heather Lynskey, a YLF staffer and Westerville
North High School alumnus who was a delegate in 2007. “I‟ll be a staffer for life.
“I am excited to be giving these participants the experiences I had, demonstrating
leadership skills and meeting new people,” she added.
As it has in past years, YLF again brought out feelings of solidarity and a renewed
urgency for the students to live up to their fine potential.
The Governor‟s Council on People with Disabilities thanks its sponsors, without whom
the YLF program could not have been successful:
Blaze Sports Columbus
Cincinnati Children‟s Hospital Medical Center - Project Search
Columbus State Community College
Eagle Advertising/Morgan Litho Printing
Franklin County Board of Elections
Hilliard City Schools - Transportation System
Huntington National Bank
Jeannie Cochran Photography
Ohio Department of Education
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Ohio Legal Rights
Ohio Public Transportation Assn.
Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission
The Ohio State University Swim Team
OhioHealth - Placement Options for Associates with Disabilities Team
Paralyzed Veterans of America Buckeye Chapter
Dr. Jack Ramey & River Roads - Athens Medical Associates
Sinclair Community College
State Independent Living Centers
Thanks to the YLF Planning Committee
The Ohio Governor‟s Council on People with Disabilities extends a “Thank You” to
Governor Strickland and the Ohio Legislators who participated throughout this forum.
Gov. Strickland welcomes nurse Karma Schilling, GCPD council member Brianne Clink
and delegate Danielle Reeves. Photo by LimeLite Productions
Anne Carter, senior vice president of diversity at Huntington Bank mentors YLF
Tanya Fernandez-Mote, GCPD chair, sits proudly with the 2008 YLF delegates and
Rep. Jon Peterson and Rep. Kenny Yuko at the Legislative Luncheon
State Sen. Ray Miller and RSC‟s Joe Dunn meet YLF volunteer Zac Holler
Jeri Jewell spoke about breaking barriers in primetime TV
NAME stands with Deborah Moody during a question and answer session
YLF staffer Heather Lynskey takes a few minutes to show delegate Tray-von Scott how
ladies play basketball. Photo by Jeannie Cochran.
YLF teens in the pool - Time for some fun!
YLF members dance the night away with OSU swim team members. Photo by Jeannie
The RSC Office of Legislative Affairs monitors bills affecting the disability community in
the Ohio General Assembly and Congress. It contributes synopses to our Web site,
www.rsc.ohio.gov. Click on the “Legislative” tab to view updates or for links to contact
information for Ohio legislators.
Senate Bill Broadens House Version of ADA
A pair of U.S. senators has introduced legislation to clarify the intent of the American‟s
with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ensure that Americans with disabilities are protected
The ADA Amendments Act, S 3406, sponsored by senators Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and
Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was introduced July 31. The bill, which has 63 co-sponsors,
including Ohio senators George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown, is similar to legislation
introduced in the House by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin. That bill passed by a 402-17 margin in
Considered to be one of the landmark civil rights laws of the 20th century, the ADA was
designed to protect any individual who is discriminated against on the basis of disability.
The law was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law in
1990 by President George H.W. Bush.
Since the ADA became law, a series of court decisions have unduly narrowed the
category of who qualifies as an “individual with a disability,” contrary to Congressional
intent. By raising the threshold for an impairment to qualify as a disability, these court
decisions have deprived individuals of the discrimination protections Congress intended
The ADA Amendments Act would remedy this problem and restore workplace
protections to every American with a disability. The bill leaves the ADA‟s familiar
disability definition intact, but takes several specific steps to direct courts toward a more
generous meaning and application of the definition. The legislation would make it easier
for people with disabilities to be covered by the ADA because it effectively expands the
definition of disability to include many more major life activities, as well as a new
category of major bodily functions.
Accompanying graphic – man in wheelchair getting off bus
Travelers with Disabilities Can Sleep Easier
A new state law will make hotels more accessible to people with disabilities.
On June 12, Gov. Ted Strickland signed SB 237, which requires all Ohio hotels to have
at least one bed that is suitable for use with a portable lift in 25 percent of the rooms
that the hotel is required to hold as accessible rooms or suites. The lift is to be provided
by the guest.
Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, introduced the bill, which also specifies requirements
for the types of beds and timelines for compliance. It also requires the Ohio Civil Rights
Commission to enforce the requirements pursuant to the act.
The new law permits the State Fire Marshal to fine a licensee $250 per violation not to
exceed $1,000 per day,
The new law is backed by the Governor‟s Council on People with Disabilities and took
effect September 11.
Federal Judge Blocks Autism Plan
U.S. District Judge James L. Graham has temporarily blocked the state from
implementing a funding plan for autism services that was to take effect July 1. The
judge ruled that there is reasonable chance that the new state funding rules violate
federal Medicaid law, but he has not rendered a final decision.
The Ohio Legal Rights Service, representing a group of families with children who have
autism, sued the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Department of Job and
Family Services in federal court to prevent funding changes from taking effect. State
officials argued the changes are necessary to keep the state in compliance with federal
Most of the families are served by Step By Step, a Columbus autism treatment facility.
State officials argued that the facility‟s rates were out of line with other providers and
that comparable, less expensive services can be obtained elsewhere.
Judge Graham said that the state is ignoring the fact that the services may not be
available at all elsewhere, or not at the “same intensive level” as provided by Step By
The judge emphasized that he was not yet issuing a final ruling that the services at
issue are “medically necessary,” only that the plaintiffs are likely to successfully prove
their case in court.
Ohio Law Maker Wants Protection for Disabled in Hate Crime Law
State Sen. Eric Kearney, D-Cincinnati, has introduced a bill that will grant people with
disabilities protection under Ohio‟s hate crime law.
Senate Bill 349 was prompted by February‟s attack of Ashley Clark, a mentally disabled
Talawanda High School senior. She was allegedly violently attacked in her Hanover
Township home by two teenagers.
Hate crime laws provide additional punishment for criminal offenses if the crime can be
shown to be motivated by race or animosity toward specific groups of people. If the bill
is passed, it will put disability in the same category as race, color, religion, and national
Ohio is one of 23 states that does not include disability in its hate crimes legislation,
according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
If the proposed law were already in place, Kearney contends that the attack against
Ashley Clark would qualify as a hate crime because her disability appears to be a key
reason why she was targeted.
Ohio Attorney General Rules ADA Does Not Protect Golf Cart Drivers
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not exempt people with disabilities who
drive electric golf carts on public streets and highways from complying with state laws
governing motor vehicles, Ohio Attorney General Nancy Rogers said in an opinion in
The opinion followed a request from the Tuscarawas County prosecuting attorney‟s
office to clarify state statutes regarding ADA accommodations for operation of motor
vehicles. The AG upheld the opinions of predecessors, saying anyone driving a golf cart
on public roads must comply with state motor vehicle laws, including those for vehicle
operation and passenger safety.
Amber Alerts Expanded
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is expanding the state‟s Amber Alert system
to include the elderly and people with mental impairments.
Ohio launched its Amber Alert program in 2003 to quickly notify the public of missing
children and provide descriptions of the children and their captors when available. The
Amber Alert program for the elderly will use the same methods of notifying the public of
missing adults: radio broadcasts, scrolling messages on television, notices on overhead
road signs and nearly instant communication among law-enforcement agencies.
The Amber Alert program for elderly and mentally disabled adults results from
legislation and will not carry additional cost. The alert will be activated after local
authorities confirm that the individual is missing, is 65 or older or has a mental
impairment and might be in serious danger of bodily harm or death, and that there‟s
enough descriptive information about the person and circumstances surrounding the
disappearance to help locate the person.
GCPD members Chosen
Gov. Ted Strickland recently chose two new members to serve on the Governor‟s
Council for People with Disabilities.
Katherine Hevener, Cincinnati, is currently retired after serving as a rehabilitation
specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs. She also has 20 years experience in
computer access training. Hevener received a bachelor‟s degree from Vanderbilt
University in 1981.
Diana Pollock, Lancaster, serves on the subcommittee on adult guardianship at the
Ohio Supreme Court and volunteers for the Sherman House in Lancaster. She
previously served as the assistant dean for development at Ohio University-Lancaster
and as a lecturer for the department of city and regional planning at the Ohio State
University. She received a bachelor‟s degree in environmental biology from Ohio
University in 1980 and a master‟s degree from Ohio State in 1983.
Senate President Honored for Aiding Behavioral Health Services
Disability Advocates Appointed to Board
Tina Adams, Belpre, has been named to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council.
She has been the senior environmental engineer for MPM Silicones since 2004, served
as the senior project engineer for Triad Engineering and as a senior environmental
engineer for the Exxon Company.
Lin Laing, Cincinnati, has been appointed to the Ohio Statewide Independent Living
Council. Laing has served as executive director for the Center for Independent Living
Options since 1996 and was also the organization‟s chief financial officer from 1992-
1996. Laing has served on the Community Shares Board of Directors since 2001.
RSC Consumers Meet with Lawmakers
RSC‟s Legislative Affairs Department arranged for two RSC consumers to visit with
House Finance Committee Chair Rep. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark. Consumers Kristen
Fram and Neil Cunningham, both from Newark, shared their personal stories with the
state representative and answered his questions. The consumers were recommended
by BVR counselor Kathy Korb. RSC consumers who would like to set up a legislative
visit can contact RSC Office of Legislative Affairs at (614) 752-9228.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Eye Injury Prevention Month
National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
October 2 - HireABILITY 2008 at COSI in Columbus. This conference will showcase
best practices in disability employment and employee retention, explore ADA issues
and celebrate diversity in Ohio. See page 4 of thisABILITY for complete details.
October 7-8 - Teaching Strategies and Transition for Students on the Autism Spectrum
at the Holiday Inn Eastgate in Cincinnati. For more information, visit
http://store.spectrumtrainingsystemsinc.com/ciohco.html. Register at
Oct 8-10 - Professional Association for Retardation (PAR) Convention at the Embassy
Suites Hotel in Dublin. For registration and information, contact (419) 522-6207;
October 17 - Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually
Impaired of Ohio (AERO) Moving Forward Division Day Conference at Kings Island
Resort and Conference Center in Mason. For more information contact Sue Guagenti,
October 17 - DiversABILITY Employment Summit at Online Computer Library Center
(OCLC) Conference Center in Dublin. Keynote speakers: Geri Jewell (“Cousin Geri”
from “The Facts of Life”) and U.S. EEO Commissioner Christine Griffin. Cost $50. For
information, contact Jennifer Smith or TyKiah Wright, (614) 802-2364.
Diabetic Eye Disease Month
National Alzheimer‟s Disease Awareness Month
Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month
November 4 - Election Day
November 7-8 - Ohio Special Initiatives by Brothers and Sisters (SIBS) Conference at
the Airport Marriott in Columbus. The conference, supported by the Ohio Developmental
Disabilities Council, county boards of MRDD and Ohio State University Nisonger
Center, will give adult siblings of people with disabilities an opportunity to meet and
develop networks of support, information and friendship. Information sessions will deal
with future planning, coping with the loss of a loved one, assistive technology and
housing. Learn about tools that will help provide for the future health and well being of
families and communities. Visit www.ohiosibs.com. Contact Dr. Tom Fish,
email@example.com or Nick Hetrick, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nov. 8 - American Sign Language Expo in the Lausche Building at the Ohio Expo
Center in Columbus. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. ASL Expo is a trade show for the sign language
community, with an emphasis on bringing together the deaf and the hearing
communities. Adults (13 and older) $5, children (3-13) $3. Parking $5. Visit
www.aslexpo.com for more information.
November 14 – Ohio Association of Adult Day Services Board meeting in Columbus.
November 19-21 – Network of Autism Training and Technical Assistance Programs
2008 Conference, hosted by Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence at the Greater
Columbus Convention Center in Columbus. Visit www.nattapconference.org or contact
(866) 886-2254; email@example.com.
April 14-16, 2009
The 10th Annual Solidarity Conference will be presented by the Disability Network of
Ohio at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Convention Center, 350 N. High St. in Columbus.
Plan to attend Ohio‟s leading conference for and about people with disabilities. Share
experiences and ideas, collect useful information and resources, learn about new
programs, try new technologies and attend some of more than 30 information session.
For more information, contact AXIS Center, (614) 262-8124, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page 18 contains the continued story of YLF from page 13.
Thousands Visit RSC Booth at Ohio State Fair
Visitors to the RSC booth at the 2008 Ohio State Fair got great information about how
the agency helps people with disabilities achieve quality employment, independence
and disability determination outcomes. Adults and children spun the prize wheel and
answered disability-related trivia questions to receive useful prizes, such as tape
measures that can be used to determine whether a home or office is accessible to
someone with a mobility disability.
The youngsters also enjoyed making colorful sign language nametags with rubber
stamps. The stamps show the letter and the sign with which it corresponds.
Visitors shared stories of success and many people inquired about how to refer family,
friends and coworkers to the agency.
RSC appreciates all who came by and we look forward to seeing you again in 2009!
Accompanying photos – RSC booth, prize wheel, kids stamping and other visitors.
RSC/TAHRA Job Fair is Key Networking Site for Employers and Job Seekers with
A partnership that is committed to fulfilling employment needs of qualified people with
disabilities in Northwest Ohio will link employers in the region with skilled workers who
can fill urgent staffing needs.
On August 7, the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC) and Toledo Area
Human Resource Association (TAHRA) hosted the 2nd Annual Job Fair at the Erie
Street Market in downtown Toledo. Eleven Toledo area businesses, including A to Z
Health Care, Inc.; AmeriCare; Fifth 3rd Bank;* Huntington Bank;* Libbey, Inc.;* Luther
Home of Mercy;* Manpower;* Pilkington;* TolTest, Inc.;* United Collections Bureau -
The Sierra Group and Walgreens Distribution Center - Perrysburg,* met one-on-one
with a talented corps of 60 RSC consumers.
“This was not your average job fair,” said Steve Michaluk, RSC employer services
specialist. Michaluk evaluates RSC job seeking consumers to determine their job
readiness and assist in job placements or referrals for on-the-job training. “It was
focused solely for our consumers.”
In 2007, nearly 7 percent of the job seekers who attended the event were hired by an
employer who was at the job fair.
RSC provides training for people with disabilities to ensure that they are prepared when
they link with potential employers at these types of events. For instance, some of the
individuals who attended the job fair had gone through mock interview training with area
employers and job seeking skills training.
RSC and TAHRA partnered in June to hold practice interviews during which a dozen
RSC consumers who are eager to work sat down with employers, human resources
professionals and trainers, explained Michaluk. “After the interviews, the prospective
new-hires were given feedback so that they were thoroughly prepared for the real deal,”
* indicates TAHRA members End article.
BDD Helps Homeless
The Homeless Project Workshop in RSC‟s Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD)
has provided service to 1,000 homeless people filing for Social Security disability
benefits since its inception in 2006. The average processing time for the claims is 61.5
days, more than 30 days faster than other claims.
On the Fast Track
BDD‟s Fast Track Unit has reached a milestone - over 10,000 cases have been
processed through the Fast Track Unit in an average of 9.5 days per case since its
Page 20 (back cover)
Governor Honors Outstanding Efforts to Serve Youth, Workers with Disabilities
On August 13, Gov. Ted Strickland assisted the Governor‟s Council on People with
Disabilities in recognizing 10 Ohio businesses and individuals from across Ohio who
have shown outstanding leadership and determination on behalf of people with
Accompanying photo: Award winners (back - left to right): Nan Sklenar and Kelly
Blackman, Huntington National Bank (Employer of the Year - Large); UNKNOWN; Gov.
Ted Strickland; John Meeks, Standex Electronics (Employer of the Year - Medium);
Renee Kimbell, ESU supervisor; UNKNOWN, Greater Dayton Regional Transit
Authority (Health and Welfare Advocacy Award); Jessie Baginski (Maureen Fitzgerald
Leadership Award); Wayne Cocchi (Maureen Fitzgerald Leadership Award); Melissa
Bowshi, accepting on behalf of Derrick Allen, Marysville (Karla M. Lortz Scholarship).
Front - Leslie Fern, Bowling Green State University (Public “Best Practices” Award);
Tanya Fernandez-Mote, GCPD. Not pictured: Falmer Screw Products & Manufacturing
(Employer of the Year - Small). End article.
Non-Profit “Best Practices” - The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati