Thursday, September 20, 2018

Improving transition services for students

The state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is partnering with the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to improve transition services for students and young adults.

“Transition” is the phase when students move from high school to job or college. All students with IEPs should have a transition plan. Some students will continue past traditional 12th grade in a transition program, up to age 21. When they leave high school or their transition program, students with disabilities may qualify for different DSHS services – for instance help finding a job through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)  or supported employment through the Developmental Disability Administration (DDA). King County contracts with the state to offer supported employment services locally and administers them through its Developmental Disabilities Division.

DSHS and OSPI have a survey out on ways to support students who are potentially eligible for services through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). These services are the Medicaid long-term services and supports offered through the state’s “waivers” – Basic Plus, Core, Individual and  and others. A popular service is supported employment, which is offered through the Basic Plus and Core waivers, and administered locally by King County. If you want more information about transition, DVR and DDA, Informing Families has a family-friendly explanation.

The survey states that participants will:
  • Learn more about the secondary transition proviso in the 2017-18 supplemental education budget and the proviso work group;
  • Identify current supports and barriers affecting post-school outcomes for students with disabilities;
  • Provide feedback and additional input on proposed activities and resources related to the proviso work group; and
  • Share additional comments, questions, and input

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Supreme Court National Call-in Day Friday, Sept 14

Disability groups, including The Arc, have come out in opposition to Brett Kavanagh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. They are joining efforts on a national call-in day to raise awareness about their concerns with Judge Kavanagh's record. We encourage you to review their concerns and engage with your senators, as appropriate.
  • You can reach Senators Murray and Cantwell through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
  • This easy tool also gives you information about your federal elected representatives - including what committees they serve on and local office/contact information. Sometimes you can have the strongest impact by meeting with staff to help them understand an issue you care about. It can influence both the immediate concern and future issues.
  • Background materials on Kavanaugh and disability issues 

 Sharing from the Center for Public Representation:
Based on Judge Kavanaugh’s record on issues important to people with disabilities, disability groups strongly oppose his confirmation.

Last week's confirmation hearing did nothing to ease concerns about Judge Kavanaugh being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The disability community made history on Friday when Liz Weintraub became the first person with an intellectual disability to testify at a Supreme Court confirmation hearing. As a policy expert and leader in the disability community, Liz testified about what people with disabilities stand to lose if Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, including the right to self-determination and to make one’s own decisions. Please listen to her powerful words.  Liz sounded the alarm - now it’s OUR job to make the Senate listen to what our community has to say.

Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation threatens hard-won rights and protections for people with disabilities. His record shows risk to:
  • Access to health care
  • Civil rights protections
  • Opportunities for people with disabilities to make choices about their own lives
  • Enforcement of laws protecting people with disabilities
For decades, the disability community has fought for the right for people with disabilities to live in and participate the community, access healthcare services that help them do so, and make decisions about their own lives. We can’t go back.
We can make all of our voices heard together on a Supreme Court National Call-in Day on Friday, Sept 14, 2018.
Background materials on Kavanaugh and disability issues
- CPR is a national legal advocacy center for people with disabilities

Why this is important

The Supreme Court makes decisions about many disability laws and programs, such as:
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA says it is illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities. 
  • Medicaid. Medicaid provides health care and the services people with disabilities need to live in our communities.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA says students with disabilities have a right to education.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA made it easier for people to get healthcare and made it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in health care.
If Judge Kavanaugh joins the Supreme Court, he could make decisions about these laws and many others. How Judge Kavanaugh thinks about these laws will affect the lives of people with disabilities. His decisions could change how people with disabilities are able to live, learn, and work in the community.

What You Can Do

Friday, August 31, 2018

Resources for new K-12 discipline rules

The state (finally!) finalized new K-12 student discipline rules. Following are some resources from the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office.

Why is this important? 

Students with IEPs are about 2.5 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than students without IEPs. African American students also face high rates of exclusion and are about 2.6 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students.

What is new? 

The new discipline rules require schools to take a “prevention-based” approach, meaning that an attempt is made to correct a behavior before it requires discipline. The new rules also work to curb “informal suspensions.” If a child needs to be removed from class for the duration of a day, schools must to inform parents about the classroom exclusion as soon as possible. If parents are called to pick up their child, that should be documented and treated as a suspension. The parent guide (link below) goes into details.

The rules are being phased in. Links below detail which ones roll out this year, and which come next year.

Family Resources

District and Community Resources

Feedback wanted: Light rail stations in Seattle

Interested in station locations for Sound Transit? Here are some engagement opportunities from their outreach team:

Sound Transit is engaging Seattle communities in a conversation about the new West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project, which will deliver light rail connections to West Seattle and Ballard and neighborhoods in between, including SoDo, Chinatown-International District, Downtown, South Lake Union, Seattle Center/Uptown and Interbay.

As part of our commitment to engage future riders and communities, we’re hosting three Neighborhood Forums/Open Houses to gather feedback on potential station locations and route alignments.

We hope you’ll be able to join us! The event details are below:

West Seattle Includes stations at Delridge, Avalon and Alaska Junction
  • Saturday, September 8, 9 am - 11:30 am
  • Seattle Lutheran High School Gym
  • 4100 S.W. Genesee St., Seattle

Downtown Seattle
Includes stations at Seattle Center, South Lake Union, Denny, Midtown, Westlake, Chinatown-International District, Stadium and SODO
  • Tuesday, September 11, 5:30 pm - 8 pm
  • Union Station, Ruth Fisher Boardroom
  • 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle
Ballard-Interbay (Includes stations at Smith Cove, Interbay and Ballard)
  • Monday, September 17, 5:30 pm - 8 pm
  • Ballard Eagleson VFW
  • 2812 N.W. Market St., Seattle
If you’re not able to attend in person, we’ll have an online open house available in early September to share information and ask for feedback on the potential station locations and route alignments.

Best Buddies Ambassador training Sept. 22

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

One of the cornerstones of its leadership development programs is its ambassador training. Seattle University Best Buddies will be holding its first ambassador training this fall.

Best Buddies Ambassadors is a program that provides training for participants with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in areas of speech writing, public speaking, and self-advocacy. Ambassadors develop the skills to professionally share their life stories, promote Best Buddies programs, network, and most importantly, advocate.

Ambassador training will be held September 22. The deadline to sign up is September 17.

What we are seeking:

  • Volunteers in the community who are interested in learning public speaking and advocacy skills by becoming ambassadors
  • Volunteers who are willing to support ambassadors write their speeches by serving as speech coaches. We will provide resources to speech coaches to support and empower ambassadors; they train ambassadors to develop engaging, progressive speeches that speak to the heart of the Best Buddies mission. 
  • Date: September 22, 2018, 10 am-12 pm
  • Location: Seattle University Campus, exact building TBA
  • Cost: Free but donations welcome!
  • Light snacks and refreshments will be provided
  • You do not have to be affiliated with Best Buddies to partake in the ambassador training! All are welcome!
  • Deadline to sign up: September 17

If you are interested or have any questions please contact Best Buddies Seattle University at

Through ambassador training, Best Buddies is aiming to create a network of self-advocates and allies that can work to make Seattle a truly inclusive city.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Become a great advocate!

Apply today for The Arc’s Leadership Intensive. It’s free!

Do you want more for yourself, your family, and other people with developmental disabilities? This 10-month series hosted by The Arc of King County will give you the skills and knowledge to speak up and make a difference.

Your commitment: 10 Saturdays, a trip to Olympia, in-class and at-home learning, and one community project. Learning is hands-on and fun! We will provide lunch and snacks.

Classes will take place 9 am to 3 pm at The Arc of King County, 233 6th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109. Bus stops are nearby and there is parking on site, as well as paid street parking.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2018 Inclusion Awards

… because we believe all people have the right to thrive in their communities

It is our pleasure to announce the 2018 Inclusion Awards, honoring seven leaders for their impact on the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

  • For commitment to inclusion: State Representative Ruth Kagi, 32nd
  • For protecting the rights of people with DD: State Representative Nicole Macri, 43rd 
  • For promoting the rights of people with DD: State Representative Tana Senn, 41st 
  • For workforce inclusion: Heather Weldon, Supported Employment Manager for the City of Seattle; and Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, chair, Housing, Health, Energy & Workers' Rights committee, Seattle City Council

We are also recognizing two longtime advocates for their ongoing commitment to building opportunity:

  • Community Change Champion – Kyle Matheson 
  • Lifetime Award – Donna Patrick

We will celebrate the 2018 honorees and their great advocacy work at our annual Summer Potluck Picnic, Wednesday, July 18, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, at the Renton Community Center. Add to your calendar

For more information about the work and individuals honored, please read on:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Gaps in long-term community supports

  • Tucked into a report about increased community supports is a sub-narrative about people not well-supported by Washington

A new study shows nationwide investments in long-term community care are up. The same holds true for Washington, with a caveat:

Overall, Washington is investing more in Medicaid, and more in its long-term supports and services. But while investments in community living for older adults and people with physical disabilities are up, investments in community-based services specific to developmental disabilities fell 16 percent between 2015 and 2016.

At the same time, Medicaid spending for institutional care for people with intellectual disabilities shot up 65 percent, while investments in long-term, community-based behavioral health services for people with mental health disorders remained zero.

The shift in community spending partially reflects Washington’s relatively new Community First Choice, a Medicaid option for attendant care that benefits people with a variety of disabilities. Some support for daily living that was provided in developmental disability waivers moved to this option.

But as those costs shifted out, there was no corresponding increase to community supports specific to developmental disability, such as residential, behavioral, and crisis supports. Instead, investment went to intermediate care facilities, housed in Washington’s remaining institutions for people with developmental disabilities.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Q&A: Can relying on public assistance disqualify you for a rental?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: Some people who rely on housing vouchers, Social Security, or other forms of benefits or assistance struggled to find landlords who would rent to them. This is called "source of income discrimination." This spring the state legislature and the Metropolitan King County Council passed laws to expand housing opportunities by prohibiting landlords or home sellers from denying people housing based on how they would pay for the unit.

Prospective tenants with verifiable alternative source of income - such as Social Security, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers, state Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) funds, or rapid rehousing assistance - cannot be discriminated against in the rental process.

The state bill in question is HB 2578. Some details are below. You can read a full summary is here.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Metro Access update: Got complaints? Contact the King County Ombuds

Last year, King  County audited Metro Access, and the the findings were blistering, with half the riders surveyed saying they are dissatisfied with travel times. The audit found that since 2008 the number of rides have gone down, trips have become longer and costs have increased. The audit outlined steps the county could take and flagged a new contract with service providers, starting in 2018, as a unique opportunity to make changes to paratransit service.

What has happened in 10 months?

The contract bidding process was delayed to address concerns and a consumer work group was continued. But beyond that, not much has changed, say some advocates, who remain concerned that the new contract won't address longstanding issues. Last year, Metro posted a blog detailing steps it had already taken to address audit findings and set a timeline to act on others. Now, King County is asking people who still have complaints to contact the King County Ombuds, and not just Metro's customer service.