The Logan County Board of DD celebrated the local community and recent statewide accomplishments during the 27th annual Elected Officials Breakfast on March 1.
Superintendent Saul Bauer opened the event by announcing the 2018 theme, Celebrating Community, honoring March as DD Awareness Month.
“I really think this theme fits Logan County better than any theme in the past. Through our efforts, the efforts of Logan County leaders and that of our local media, we’ve shared thousands of stories of our individuals working and thriving in our community.”
Several local officials, including Commissioners John Bayliss and Joe Antram, Sheriff Randy Dodds, Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley and Mayor Ben Stahler dined with staff and individuals from the Board of DD. The Ohio Department of DD Director John Martin delivered his final keynote address for the Logan County event.
Director Martin said since taking over the state board in 2007, he believes employers and others in Ohio have come to recognize individuals with developmental disabilities as valued members of communities and workforce. More than 3,000 individuals with development disabilities have been added to Ohio’s workforce in the past several years.
“Some of us, our skills and abilities come out easily with no problems. Then there’s others that take a lot of effort, support, even technology to develop,” Martin explained. “But when those skills come out the work is equal.”
Martin went on to compliment officials and employers in Logan County for their willingness to include individuals with developmental disabilities in work, worship and everyday life.
Martin, who plans to retire at the conclusion of 2018, also highlighted some of his department’s accomplishments during the past 11 years. He said a decade ago, there was much mistrust and mismanagement between the different state branches of government that handled developmental disability matters. However, Martin said the field has now come together and is working closer than ever before.
“In this upcoming budget, we moved everything related to DD under the Department of DD where we have a consistent philosophy with the goal of making services for individuals and families easier to navigate.”
Martin also underscored changes in the rules governing intermediate care facilities, conflict of interest issues and patterns of medical claims related to needed care for individuals as areas where the department has made improvements. He points to staffing and keeping individuals connected to their communities as challenges for the future. Filling staffing needs in counties, such as Logan County, are challenging and will become more challenging in future years, Bauer notes. Ohio needs to work cooperatively and collaboratively to address the staffing crisis.
Submitted on behalf of the Logan County Board of DD.