Keven Casey Speaks at Work Group — November 17, 2011

Less than three months after becoming Director of the Illinois Division of Developmental Disabilities, Kevin Casey spoke to a standing-room-only audience at the North/Northwest Cook and Lake County Work Group meeting on November 17, 2011.  He shared his impressions and thoughts on the many challenges facing Illinois at this time.

Regarding the impact of state budget shortfalls on programs for the disabled,  he indicated that he would act pro-actively and sought to enlist support from families, advocates, providers, officials and the governor.   As he learned more about the structure of Illinois services he would be looking for ways to involve more stakeholders.   He expected to hear from self-advocates at least once a month.

Regarding the Ligas mandate to help institutionalized individuals move into the community, he expressed concern about how the timelines for change were interacting with the financial constraints.   There was a lengthy Q&A session involving concerns from parents, advocates, providers and others.

Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Casey held a similar position in Pennsylvania.  He mentioned the need for a one-stop shop for parents, and noted that he had instituted a family training program and a book “Working Your Way Through the Maze in Pennsylvania”.

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Creating Options Town Hall Meeting — November 9, 2011

The Mayer Kaplan JCC auditorium was packed for a Town Hall Meeting titled “Creating Housing and Full-Life Options for Adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities.”    The meeting was convened by a task force concerned with the unmet needs for housing and community services in the area.   The Task Force principally consists of representatives of the Jewish Federation, Jewish Child & Family Services and Keshet.  In addition to launching a pilot project, they hope to develop a model for other communities to adopt and replicate.

Cathy Ficker-Terrill, CEO of the Institute on Public Policy discussed “How to Get from Here to There?”, a summary of current status, trends and opportunities.  Then she emceed a lengthy question and answer session with the audience.  Members were asked to answer three questions:  1)  What is your dream for the future for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities regarding a sustainable model that would allow them to live withing the community? 2)  What do you consider to be the biggest challenge in creating a sustainable model for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities who wish to live within the community? and 3)  How can you help?

Following the lively discussion, attendees were invited to participate in committees studying services, funding, communications, development, and outreach.

For more information email

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Annual Meeting — Lake County Center for Independent Living

Lake County Center for Independent Living

About 100 individuals with disabilities, service providers, legislators, families and volunteers attended the annual meeting of the Lake County Center for Independent lLiving on November 30, 2011. Program highlights included success in helping 10 individuals move from institutions into the community, offering vocational training to over 90 workers, continued efforts to coordinate and integrate transportation services in Lake County.

The LCCIL also invited attendees to attend the social and support groups for the blind, deaf. They also host a cross-disability support group called Words of Wisdom (WOW).  Those in attendance were invited to become members of the organization.  They announced details on their 2012 Legislative Internship program.

Charlie Pugesef was honored as the volunteer of the year. Following the program, attendees partook of a buffet.

The Lake County Center for Independent Living is part of a state-wide network that promotes independent living through advocacy, mentoring education,and referral. For more invormation visit

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SEDOL Grant-O-Rama

Over 30 grant-funded programs were showcased at the annual SEDOL Grant-A-Rama on November 30, 2011.  Booths describing the programs filled the Gages Lake School Gym as students, staff and parents described the programs to attendees.  The Grant-A-Rama preceded the quarterly Governing Board Meeting.

Grants were used to support innovative, “extra” programs such as these.

  • Acquiring Technology — Touch activated SMART Boards, specialized assistive equipment, hearing technologies
  • Job Training & Support — Support a Service Learning Project, Obtain Job Skill Kits, creation of student-run copy center, Building Trades class and the College First preparatory program, Employment Literacy
  • Health and Wellness — Eating Fresh, CPR Training, Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Treadmill fitness, Play with Heart lifestyles
  • Parent Support — Sign language class, Parent Mentor Project, Parents as Partners for Reading, Relatives as Parents Program, Summer Outreach Social Work
  • Basic Skills –Book Bonanza, E-Books, English Language Classes, Early Childhood Preparation

The Grant-A-Rama was sponsored by SEDOL and the SEDOL Foundation.  In addition to celebrating these innovative programs, they further recognized the many community partners that contribute to the education of SEDOL students.  For more information the the Grant-A-Rama, contact Ann Subry, or Carole Brooks

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Shepherd’s College Earns Accreditation

Shepherd’s College, an innovative, three-year training program for individuals with developmental disabilities, earned accreditation from North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement in December.  It is described in this article from the Journal-Times in Racine.  Shepherd’s College is located in Union Grove, Wisconsin.

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