April 2013 

April is National Autism Awareness Month.
How are you advocating for improved services
and supports for people on the spectrum? 

In this issue:

Georgia Developmental Disabilities Network Addresses GaLEND Trainees 
Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Programs Gain Funding
CLD and One DeKalb Host Autism Resource Fair
CLD Research: Home Visitors Present Materials on Learn the Signs. Act Early
Positive Behavior Videos Provide Easy Access to Training
CAC Spotlight - Elizabeth Labbe-Webb



             Georgia Developmental Disabilities Network      
GaLEND Trainees with Panel Discussion 


                        Dr. Daniel Crimmins, Ruby Moore and Eric Jacobson speak with Ga LEND trainees

The Developmental Disabilities Act (DD Act) created new pathways to providing successful programs and supports for people with disabilities. The DD Act established three programs with a shared goal and complementary functions.  The combined efforts of the University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), the Protection and Advocacy Agencies (P&As), and the Developmental Disabilities Councils (DD Councils) was intended to serve as a network creating positive change in the lives its citizens with disabilities.
In the state of Georgia, the DD Network includes four organizations:
DD Council - Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD)
P&A- Georgia Advocacy Organization (GAO)
UCEDDS- The Center for Leadership and Disability at Georgia State University (CLD) and the Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia (IHDD
The leadership and collaborative successes of the Georgia DD Network can be seen in initiatives to create more inclusive post-secondary educational opportunities in the state, to unlock the waiting lists for services, and to change laws that eliminate capital punishment for inmates with developmental disabilities. These organizations do great things because they are lead by people who bring years of experience to the people and causes they serve.
Executive directors of three of these organizations - Eric Jacobson (GCDD), Ruby Moore (GAO), and Dr. Daniel Crimmins (CLD) came together on March 13th to speak to trainees of the 2012-13 Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) program at GSU. The GaLEND program is a one-year interdisciplinary training experience that prepares students and community leaders to provide family-centered care to children and their families with developmental disabilities. This panel of experts was able to answer questions and offer valuable insight into advocacy, capacity building, and systems change.
Jacobson set the tone for the discussion with his response to the first question, "How do you lead?" His response, "By creating systemic change,” spoke to one of the fundamental goals of the GaLEND program.  The projects that the trainees and fellows have worked on during their time in the program have taught them the value of this process. It has also taught them that success in this field cannot be achieved alone.
The Georgia network owes their success to its leaders knowing when to lead an initiative that they are strong at, but also knowing when to defer to a more experienced or better resourced partner.  This ability to put the best organization forward to overcome challenges, makes the synergy of Georgia DD Network one its most valuable assets. Jacobson commented on the cohesiveness of the organizations, "I think that the four DD entities in GA are a model for collaboration across the country."
The panel discussed the “Us versus Them” mentality, challenges of leading people out of the “disability bubble”, and creating solutions for schools that benefit all students. The trainees realized that some battles they fight might not end as successfully as they may hope. Questions began to arise about the difficulties in being a leader.  One GaLEND trainee asked, “What do you do when you fail at a project?” Moore responded, "You can't call it a failure until you walk away and say, "I surrender.’" When asked how the organizations were able to build stronger communities given their different emphases, Crimmins added, "We share a vision. We start from different places but share values and ultimate goals."
The trainees felt that the lessons learned from the panel were invaluable. The knowledge shared will make them more successful in their careers. Trainee Carolyn Lullo said, “I was so encouraged by the commitment of the leadership in the state of Georgia to addressing the deep-seated issues surrounding how we, as a society, think about people and disability. They clearly recognize that for effective and lasting change in policy and practice to occur we must continuously be changing that narrative.  I left the seminar with an acute awareness of our need to link arms in order to achieve a just society in which people with disabilities are meaningfully included in all aspects of life.”
Learn more about the organizations of the Georgia Developmental Disability Network by visiting their websites at:
Center for Leadership in Disability and GaLEND at
Georgia Advocacy Organization at
Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities at
The Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia at


            Inclusive Post-secondary Education Programs in            Georgia Show Succeeds with Legislative Funding

                                          GAIPSEC logo

The 152nd Georgia General Assembly provided its first ever state funding for inclusive post-secondary education (IPSE). With the support of Senators Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) and Jack Hill (R-Reidsville), the senate added in $100,000 to the FYI2014 budget for inclusive PSE in Georgia. The Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning will receive $50,000 will go to support the already established program. The other $50,000 has been marked for the development of an IPSE program at a college/university in south Georgia. A specific location for the future IPSE program has not been chosen, but we are working with our connections in south GA that is yet to be identified.  

The Georgia Inclusive Post Secondary Education Consortium (GaIPSEC) members greatly appreciate its commitment from the legislature.

The next GaIPSEC statewide meeting will be held Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Bridging the Gap Between High School and College will be an opportunity to learn, plan and share for individuals, parents, college personnel, and transition specialists.  

CLD Collaborates with One DeKalb
for Autism Resource Fair


CLD and One DeKalb are collaborating to present DeKalb County Autism Resource fair on April 27th. The event runs from 10:30am - 1:30pm and will be held at the Manuel Maloof Auditorium in downtown Decatur. The event will provide an opportunity for families of children and adults diagnosed with autism to learn about and connect with agencies and organizations that provide autism services and supports in and for residents of Dekalb County. Forty organizations and agencies will be on hand to answer questions, discuss services, and provide resource materials. CLD discovered that many families living in DeKalb were not aware of the autism resources located in their county or community. 

DeKalb County is the fourth largest county in Georgia and is home to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Emory University, and the Marcus Autism Center. 

This event follows closely with the mission and principles of One DeKalb which are to listen and gain understanding and awareness; communicate and collaborate to achieve best results; be honest, open, and transparent; honor the unique cultures of DeKalb communities; and to provide excellent, responsive service.

For more information and to access the free registration page visit or click here

CLD Research: Home Visitors Present Materials on 
Learn the Signs/Act Early

Photo of woman holding baby girl. The “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign, launched in October 2004 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) aims to change perceptions about the importance of identifying developmental delays early and gives parents and professionals the tools to help. WIth improved early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities, children and families can get the services and support that they need. 

CLD was funded by the CDC to evaluate strategies to reach underserved low income families.
CLD researchers are studying the programs impact of Learn the SIgns materials at local childcare centers in Atlanta.  CLD staff visited selected childcare centers from June 2012 through March of 2013 talking to parents about the program and signing up to participate in the research project. 108 families consented to the project and were assessed for their child's development and then broken into four groups. The level of attention given to groups, and the settings in which the information was discussed were different. The study is looking to see if the materials help families in identifying developmental delays. Once all data have been evaluated there will be a qualitative interview that will gather stories, opinions, and thoughts from participants. 

Erin Vinoski, MPH CHES, who works on the project stated, “Several of the research staff have heard informal feedback from the parents, indicating that they found the Milestone Moments booklet extremely helpful, and even shared it amongst their families and groups of friends. This is the type of feedback that, combined with results from the quantitative survey, will provide the most complete picture of how families perceive and use the materials.”

CLD Launches Positive Behavior Videos Website

            Screen shot of the Positive Behavior VIdeo website

CLD has launched a new website, The website includes brief video overviews of positive behavior supports, exercises to help develop a positive behavior plan, and other resources. The Positive Behavior Supports Videos present information about the functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plan process. This is an evidence-based approach that can be highly technical and generally requires considerable university training and field-based experience to master. As a result, there are a limited number of people with the expertise to assist teachers and parents in planning. 

The website provides a framework for parents and teachers to complete a Brief Behavior Questionnaire and Intervention Plan (BBQuIP).This series of questions assists parents and teachers in determining what their child is trying to communicate through their behavior. The BBQuIP focuses on the child's strengths and provides a framework for identifying new skills to teach the child as replacements. The videos describe the PBS process and explain special education laws as they relate to PBS and its incorporation in the Individualized Education Program.  

We at CLD are committed to reducing the disparity in access to positive behavior supports. The Positive Behavior Videos and the Brief Behavior Questionnaire and Intervention Plan (BBQuIP) were developed to support this mission. Resources on the site include developing behavior intervention plans, functional behavioral assessments, general behavior strategies and other positive behavior methods.  Access to these resources is free to all who are interested in learning more about this effective and proven method of behavior intervention supports.

Daniel Crimmins, CLD Director, said, "The videos provide a great overview of the positive approach to behavior. They feature many of our professional staff speaking directly about ways to support children with challenging behavior."

Visit the website at 

Community Advisory Committee
Member Spotlight:  
Elizabeth Labbe-Webb 

                                        Elizabeth Labbe-Webb, executive director VSA Arts Georgia

VSA Arts of Georgia serves as the statewide organization for bringing the arts to people living with disabilities and disparities. Their Arts for All gallery hosts artists who are living with physical or intellectual disabilities, are homeless, have survived physically abusive situations, and others who are members of populations that are marginalized.  VSA Arts of Georgia started in 1974 as Very Special Arts. The organization is a part of the the international VSA network that works towards  fulfilling the vision of an inclusive community that encourages everyone to enjoy and participate in the arts.

Elizabeth Labbe-Webb is the Executive Director of VSA Arts of Georgia. Labbe joined the staff in 2006 and brought more than 16 years of arts and non-profit management experience to the organization. 

As a member of the CLD Community Advisory Committee (CAC), Elizabeth sees herself as a devil's advocate in response to people utilizing community supports as they transition into adulthood. As a person with a disability who saw those supports dissappear when she became an adult, she proposes that children with disabilities be raised to be independent as possible. While community supports and programs exist, they are not always guaranteed. Economy, budget, geography and program availability all are key to programs being sustained. She insists that building strong communities in tandem with teaching people with disabilities how to best navigate the world is the best way to prepare them for the rest of their lives.

Labbe-Webb states, "Don't set our young people up to expect separate. They may have to work differently to get what they want; but they can get what they want. There won't always be someone there to assist you, even if it is the law. Young people with disabilities have to learn to overcome the obstacles that may be placed in their way." 

Her goal for VSA Arts of Georgia is of a similar vein. "I want to put the model of a separate space for separate people doing separate things out of business. We are committed to the transformation of Arts for All. We want the word "special" to disappear." 

VSA Arts of Georgia can be found on the web at

The Community Advisory Committee ensures that the perspectives of people with developmental disabilities, family members, providers, and policy makers are included in the work of CLD. For more information on the CAC at the CLD visit
The Center for Leadership in Disability serves as a bridge between the university and community in support of evidence-based practices that improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The CLD is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD), and operates within the Center for Healthy Development and the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University. 

Initiatives of CLD are supported in part by Grant #90DD0662 from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities of the Administration on Community Living (USDHHS) and by Project #T73MC19939 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Public Health Service Act, Section 399BB (e)(1)(A), as amended by the Combating Autism Act of 2006) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (USDHHS). 

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