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Two students from the Columbus State University's Best Buddies International program join CLD staff and other Columbus residents in a reading of Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community in August. See more photographs from the event at  and don't miss your opportunity to hear a reading of the story at the 2015 Georgia Winter Institute. 

 In this issue:


CLD Awarded 600,000 Grant to Support Implementation of Autism Plan


Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) has received a two-year, $600,000 grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support implementation of the Autism Plan for Georgia, aimed at improving services for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.

In preparing for this project, CLD worked with an Autism Advisory Council composed of key stakeholders from across Georgia. The resulting plan addresses priorities of increased awareness of autism spectrum disorder among families, providers and the public; enhanced access and coordination of services and supports across the lifespan; and increased use of effective practices in serving children and youth with the disorder.

CLD Director Daniel Crimmins, said, “We are very excited to receive this award. The health and well-being of children, youth and adults with autism spectrum disorders and their families depend on the availability of family-centered and culturally competent services in our communities.This implementation funding will assist us in continuing to convene our partner organizations and agencies. Together we will identify and address our shared goals of disseminating resources and effective practices to service providers, educators and families across Georgia.”

For more information on the Autism Plan for Georgia aText Block. Use this to provide text...

The 7th Annual GAPBS Conference Returns to GSU
     Photo courtesy of GSU photography                       
CLD is pleased to announce that the 2014 Georgia Association for Positive Behavior Support (GAPBS) conference will be held December 3rd-4th on the GSU campus. This regional gathering for the national Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) provides training and education for parents, service providers, birth through five educators, and K-12 educators on the science and application of positive behavior support. The GAPBS conference committee is comprised of representatives from K-12 schools across Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia Southern University, University of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Education, and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. The conference is co-sponsored by CLD, the Georgia Department of Education and the GSU Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Lise Fox. Dr. Fox is a professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida and the Co-Director of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities:  A University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.  She is one of the developers of the Pyramid Model that provides a framework for the implementation of PBIS within early childhood programs.

This year's conference includes the following five presentation tracks:
  • K-12 - Presentations on positive behavior support practices for elementary school, middle school, high school, and special populations
  • K-12:DOE - Presentations from Georgia Department of Education PBIS leadership and participating PBIS schools
  • Birth through Five - Presentations on positive behavior support in early childhood settings
  • Family - Presentations on positive behavior support in the home and community
  • Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) – Presentations on positive behavior support practices relevant to the GNETS setting

Conference Co-Chair Dr. Emily Graybill commented, “The GAPBS Conference presentations provide evidence-based, practical strategies to help increase the quality of life for individuals with challenging behavior. Conference attendees leave the conference with information they can use immediately. We at the CLD are honored to collaborate with educators, university faculty, and state organizations to provide this rich learning opportunity for educators, parents, and community members. ”

Registration fees for the conference are $70 for general admission and $35 for students. Conference registration includes admission to all sessions, materials, and lunch on Wednesday.   
GAPBS is a state chapter of the national Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS). The purpose of the GAPBS network is to increase the visibility of positive behavior support, promote the use of positive practices, and promote membership in the national APBS organization.
For more information on the event including registration and speaker proposal submissions visit


Georgia Winter Institute 2015 Celebrates Community
in Columbus, Georgia

CLD will hold its fifth annual Georgia Winter Institute (GWI) January 25th – 28th at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center in Columbus, Georgia. GWI strives to build more inclusive post-secondary options and faith communities, create greater employment and financial independence opportunities, and promote futures planning and healthier lifestyles for individuals with disabilities. 

GWI attendees will include representatives of state agencies, service providers, advocacy groups, faith communities, business leaders, and civic organizations. During their time at GWI attendees make the connections and gain the skills needed to return to their own communities and effect positive change in the lives of traditionally marginalized men, women and children. 

Experts in the field of community building, inclusion, and futures planning who will be leading the conference include Reverend Bill Gaventa, Deamon Hargess, and Tom Kohler. These presenters ability to engage audiences, motivate people into action, and weave inclusion into the very fiber of their own communities will make this the most powerful GWI to date. 

GWI Chair Stacey Ramirez says, "As we see more successes from futures planning we see the movement towards full community inclusion growing as well. In this, the fifth year of GWI we are excited to empower more people through this processes, facilitating greater employment and fiscal independence, and increased post-secondary educational options." 
Learn more about registration, GWI areas of focus, and view photos from 2014 GWI at View a gallery of photos from the event at . 

My Voice. My Participation. My Board
Promotes the Inclusion of All Voices in Leadership Roles

                            Photo courtesy of Ryan Johnson
This August CLD completed the final installment of a three part training series - My Voice. My Participation. My Board. Self-advocates and supporters from across the state of Georgia came together to learn how they can strengthen their self-advocacy and board-related knowledge to better serve in leadership roles. Participants gathered for three 2-day sessions that were designed to educate and empower them to make their voices valued in their communities. 

Topics of discussion included successful networking, effective communication, finding boards to serve on and other skills needed to serve on boards and councils. Sessions were led by experts in the field of self-advocacy and civic engagement including CDC Health Policy Analyst Ramu Kaladi, President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities Liz Weintraub, Self-Advocacy Specialist Self-Advocacy Specialist for the Institute on Disability and Human Development  Tia Nelis, and Georgia General Assembly Staffer William McKeen. 

Susanna Miller, Training Coordinator said, "The goal of the event is to give our participants the skills and confidence so they can grow their presence on local advisory councils, board of directors, and communities at large. An increase in their presence in these settings promotes full acceptance and inclusion for individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities."

CLD thanks the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities for their sponsorship of the training. Stay tuned to the CLD website and social media channels for dates and times of future My Voice. My Participation. My Board. trainings. 

View a gallery of photos from the event at . 

2014-2015 Georgia LEND Cohort Announced

CLD welcomes its fourth Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (GaLEND) cohort. The GaLEND program provides graduate-level students training on the intersection of their chosen fields and policy and best practices with individuals with disabilities and their families. The program provides didactic and experiential learning in classroom, clinical, and community settings to further develop the skills of participants within their own disciplinary backgrounds, as well as to work together toward the greater goal of improved public health policy and systems. The program accomplishes this by preparing trainees from diverse professional disciplines to assume leadership roles in their respective fields and by insuring high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence. 

The members of the 2014-2015 Georgia LEND cohort are:

   Karen Harris Brown - Special Education
   Creystal Castell -  Social Work
   Brook Dickson - Nutrition
   Rachel Esch - School Psychology
   Ashlee Fox - Nutrition
   Kimberly Gold - Communication Disorders
   Amy Harrod - Physical Therapy
   Robbie Huff - Self- Advocacte
   Sarah Jackson - Family
   Kelley Mautz - Rehab Counseling
   Nasra Mirreh - Family
   Ramatu Mohammed - Family
   Brenda Liz Munoz - Family
   Jurine Owen - Physical Therapy
   Steven Staud - Self-Advocacy
   Shelly White - Family
   Ani Whitmore - Clinical Psychology
   Marnie Williams - Youth Advocacy & Mechanical Engineering
   Bess Winebarger - Self-Advovacy
   Evan Winebarger - Family 
   Laura Wood - School Psychology

GaLEND alumni have gone on to take employment with some of the most influential organizations in the world of health disparities and the advancement of people with disabilities.  CLD is honored to call these participants alumni of the Georgia LEND (GaLEND) program and is excited to see them enter into the next phase of their careers. Some GaLEND alumni who are building upon their training and making positive changes in the world of disability include:
     Emily Dreschel, 2013-2014 cohort - Post-masters Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) at the Kennedy    
     Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland

     Jessica Drennan, 2013-2014 cohort - Manager of the Children With Special Health Care Needs
     (CHSHCN) Program with the South Carolina Department of Public Health   
    Megan Douglas, 2012-2013 cohort -  Associate Project Director for Health Information Technology at
     Morehouse School of Medicine.

     Carolyn (Lullo) McCarty, 2012-2013 cohort - Staff in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at Centers for
     Disease Control

     Donna Johnson, 2011-2012 cohort - Director of Child Health Projects with the Georgia Department of 
     Public Health

     Gailynn Gluth, 2011-2012 cohort- Current President of the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of

CLD is proud of the work that these and all of the former GaLEND trainees are doing and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. We look forward to great work to come from the 2014-2015 LEND cohort.
Learn more about the Georgia LEND program and watch video testimony from GaLEND alumni at

GaLEND is funded by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

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View a gallery of photos from the event at 

Community Advisory Council Focus: David Toback 

David Toback is Training Specialist with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities. He joined the Community Advisory Council (CAC) in 2013. 

Q: How did you learn about the Community Advisory Council?  
A: I first heard about the Community Advisory Council through Susanna Miller.  She spoke during an Advisory Council Meeting that I attended during April of 2013.
Q: How long have you served on the CAC? 
A: I was appointed to serve on the CAC in May 2014.
Q: Tell us about some of the projects that you have worked on during your time on the council. 
A: The first project I have worked on is the My Voice, My Board, My Participation training.  This three-session training event is geared to empower self advocates to serve on community service boards.  Uniquely blending professional development training, public speaking tools, and the knowledge base of how a community service board functions, this ambitious curriculum boldly maps out the path that enables individuals to participate within their communities at large.  
Q: How do you think your professional experience adds to your work and decisions on the CAC?    
A: The work done by DBHDD is framed by the valuable insights of our community partners.  Combined efforts yield more meaningful results for the individuals and families we endeavor to support.  My professional experience as a project manager gives a unique perspective into both the executive leadership vision and the concerns of the workforce that carry out the tasks. 
Q: Tell me some of the skills/knowledge you have gained during your time on the CAC and how have you been able to use it in your role at DBHDD?  
A: As mentioned above, my experiences so far with the CAC have been invaluable in terms of understanding practical concerns raised by our community partners.  This knowledge taken back to 2 Peachtree has guided me in discussions had with executive leadership in terms of project execution and how to best assist those families and individuals we seek to serve. 
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing people with disabilities and their families today?  
A:From my view point the largest challenge is access to information.  Our system is a large and complex one.  Various facets are responsible for a variety of functions.  The department is working hard to streamline this accessibility to key information and service building. 
Q: What is your favorite part about your involvement with the CAC?  
A: I very much enjoy hearing the success stories.  It is inspirational to me when a simple idea birthed in one conversation grows to an outreach project that changes the lives of so many. 
Q: What would you tell someone who was considering becoming a member of the CAC?  
A: If you have a passion for people, love of fun, and are energized by the synergy of likeminded folks, then this is the place for you. 

       CLD Events logo

     AUCD 2014

    November 9-12, 2014
     Washington, DC

      The 7th Annual Georgia Association               for Positive Behavior Support                             Conference
                                                                            December 3-4, 2014
State University
                                                                                    Atlanta, GA 

                           Georgia Winter Institute
                            January 25-28, 2014
                                  Columbus, GA

Visit for a complete CLD calendar of events

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 School of Public Health at Georgia State University. 

CLD is an active member of Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) which represents the 67 UCEDDs and 43 Leadership & Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LENDs) across the United States. 

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). 

Join in on the conversation with the Center for Leadership in Disability on these social media sites or by emailing us: 
Copyright © 2014  Center for Leadership in Disability  All rights reserved.

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Our address is:
Center for Leadership in Disability
School of Public Health
Georgia State University 

 Citizens Trust Building
75 Piedmont Avenue, 
Suite 514
Atlanta, GA 30303