"Hello, Neighbor." began as a newspaper insert that was released in early 2020. It shared the lives of several rural Vermonters with disabilities, while also answering questions like "How do I connect with my peers?" and "What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?"
Council staff worked closely with N&R Publications, and the people they were interviewing, to craft an accessible newsletter that everyone could enjoy. It has since been continued by VTDDC staff and members as poster-sized advocacy with heart. The full collection is scheduled to be displayed in the Vermont State House during the legislative season of 2025.
A special thanks to our volunteers who gracefully shared their stories, faces, and life experiences.
Please note that these digital files have been resized to the standard 8.5" by 11" inches to reduce the file size, however the real life posters are 24" by 36" inches.
- How an ABLE savings account could fix our future with Terry Holden of Jeffersonville, VT.
File size: (1.1 mb)
- People who QUALIFY FOR SERVICES should get them with Dion Lashay of Bennington, VT.
File size: (691 kb)
- An INCLUSIVE EDUCATION showed me I’m capable and PROTECT Vermont’s MEDICAID-funded Services with David Frye of Charlotte, VT.
File sizes: (785 kb) (766 kb)
- Children learn inclusion from adults who model it with Crista Yagjian of Guildford.
File size: (874 kb)
- Our TRANSPORTATION ISOLATES rural Vermonters with Mike Gruteke of Derby Line.
File size: (1.24 mb)
Would you like to display the "Hello, Neighbor!" collection in your place of business or community? Send us an email and let's talk!
"Postcards from Home"
During the pandemic it was hard to connect self-advocates with legislators to discuss important issues that affected their futures and their community. These phone recordings, combined with an accessible video, was VTDDC's solution.
Two "Postcards from Home" were crafted in 2022 and shared with Legislators, and friends, on YouTube.
- To: the Housing and Services committee with Nicole Villemaire and Kirsten Murphy. February 2022.
Video length: (3 minutes, 30 seconds)
- To: the Senate Health and Welfare committee with Dion Lashay and Susan Aranoff. February 2022.
Video length: (2 minutes, 37 seconds)
The Inclusive Healthcare Partnership Project (IHPP) was initiated by VTDDC to bring the voices of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into Vermont’s conversation about healthcare reform.
A team of self-advocates, family members, physicians, and other healthcare providers met monthly. They reviewed findings from focus groups, key stakeholder interviews, Medicaid claims data, and research into innovative best practices. They found that adult Vermonters with I/DD are a medically underserved population and recommended steps to improve the health and healthcare experience of this group.
“Our staff has no special training on the best way to care for people with intellectual disabilities — whether it’s how to communicate or how to feel comfortable — nobody has had that training.” - a Vermont medical professional
The “triple aim” of healthcare reform promises better health and a better care experience at a reduced cost. These three goals can be achieved for adults with complex disabilities by:
- Ensuring that healthcare workers are trained in disability-related issues and provide appropriate accommodations.
- Adapting wellness supports and programs to the unique needs of people with disabilities.
- Supporting a “warm hand-off” when youth with disabilities transition to the adult healthcare system.
- Reimbursing provides for extra appointment time, pre-visit nursing assessments, and other best practices.
A special thanks to the State of Vermont's Health Care Innovation Project for their grant to make this project and study possible.
The Disability Core-Competency Training Project is the first of its kind to deliver 20+ hours of instruction to healthcare officials on 11 disability-related topics. The training team educated 240 care coordinators, nurses, case managers, and other community health workers.
To preserve the intent of the project, all training materials were consolidated into an online-toolkit. This allows for trainees to return for a “refresher” or for new interested parties to educate themselves on this delicate and much-needed orientation. The end-goal is to improve health-outcomes and experiences, and prevent medical emergency situations for Vermonters with disabilities.
The second of two grants from the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project, the toolkit illustrates what the Pacific Health Policy Group calls “the disability core-competencies”.
- Some topics within the toolkit include:
- Universal Design
- Best Practices in Communicating
- Sexuality and Disability
- The Role of Early Trauma
- Person and Family Centered Care
- Transitioning from Pediatric Care to Adult Care