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Nicole LeBlanc

Nicole LeBlanc is the coordinator of the Person-Centered Advisory and Leadership Group (PAL-Group) for the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS). She'll help to ensure that the PAL-Group informs and supports the direction of the efforts of NCAPPS and will help with the development of cognitively accessible project materials and resources that reflect the experiences of people with disabilities. Nicole has a keen ability and interest in public policy and excels at communicating the needs of people with developmental disabilities to public officials. She worked for 8+ years at Green Mountain Self-Advocates in Montpelier, Vermont as advocacy director, supporting her peers with disabilities to feel comfortable talking to elected officials about their needs. While at GMSA, Nicole served as the project assistant for the Inclusive Healthcare Partnership project, researching tools that would assist people with I/DD in getting their healthcare needs met. She also helped prepare the self-advocate team members for monthly meetings on topics such as transition from pediatric to adult healthcare providers, health and wellness, and healthcare policy. Nicole is a natural leader chosen by her peers due to her unwavering commitment to speaking the truth to power. She has presented keynotes on the dignity of risk at statewide self-advocacy conferences in Alabama, Missouri and Rhode Island. Since 2011, Nicole has consulted for Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network—developing self-advocacy tools and curriculums, presenting webinars and video blogs on the topics of healthcare, what is autism, presuming competence, self-managed services, voter access and employment of people with disabilities. Nicole moved to the DC Suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland to begin the Paul Marchand Public Policy internship at AUCD that went from 2016-2017. Nicole is one who is not willing to shy away from taking on big challenges and new adventures. In 2017 Nicole traveled to Iceland & Ireland as part of the AAIDD delegation. Since November 2017, Nicole has been the advocacy specialist for the Southern Region of Maryland where she assists self-advocates in dealing with the challenges of the service system. From February 2018 to September 2018, Nicole served as the Dr Ruth Sullivan policy fellow. From March 2018 to March 2019, Nicole was the SARTAC-Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center fellow for NDRN where she created a booklet on advocating for policies that promote Competitive Integrated Employment ('Real Jobs for Real Pay').... Read More

Handling Emergencies: A Guide to Personal Safety and Emergency Management

This guide for individuals with disabilities helps people who live in their own homes to prevent emergencies from occurring and to plan in case an emergency does occur. Prepared by HSRI for the State of Oregon, Services to People with Disabilities, the guide addresses six risk areas — medications, medical conditions, abuse & neglect, back-up caregiving, home safety and natural disasters — and includes an emergency information sheet and other quick-reference lists.... Read More

Jami Petner-Arrey

We are pleased to announce that Jami Petner-Arrey, Ph.D., will join HSRI in the position of policy associate on April 6. Jami will work within our intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) studies team in our Tualatin, Oregon office. She’ll participate in and manage projects related to the design of support systems for people with I/DD. Popular topic areas include self-advocacy, means for supporting families, strategic planning, and systems redesign centered on establishing individualized supports budgets for service recipients. These efforts will primarily involve quantitative or qualitative data analysis, policy analysis, and partnerships with state human services agencies, local organizations, and others. Jami completed her doctoral studies in special education at the University of New Mexico with supporting studies centered on social justice, advocacy, and public policy. Previously, she served as a Homebound Head Teacher in the Albuquerque Public Schools and as university instructor. She also completed post-doctoral studies in Ontario, Canada to explore employment practices and person?directed planning for people with I/DD.... Read More

HSRI Presentations from AAIDD Annual Meeting 2015

HSRI President Val Bradley and many members of our staff recently attended and presented at the AAIDD Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference sessions and plenaries highlighted exciting innovations in research, practice, and policy, and HSRI attendees returned feeling motivated and energized about progress in the field. Here we provide a number of the presentations they gave, covering such topics as staff stability, the new HCBS requirements - tools for tracking compliance and for self-advocates, and quality of life data and trends.... Read More

Inclusion article

Are people with autism benefiting from disability reforms and supports to the same extent as people with other developmental disabilities? HSRI staff, along with partner Ari Ne’eman, examined the NCI Adult Consumer Survey data to find out. They discovered that, compared with respondents without an ASD diagnosis, respondents with ASD with were less likely to have paid jobs in the community, less likely to have had input into major life decisions, and less likely to be included in their communities. Check out their newly released article in the journal Inclusion, featuring additional findings and some suggestions for future research and policy. Congratulations to the authors – HSRI’s Dorothy Hiersteiner, Valerie Bradley, Julie Bershadsky, and Alixe Bonardi, and Ari Ne’eman of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network!... Read More

Finn Gardiner

Finn Gardiner is a Master of Public Policy student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University. He currently works with the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Throughout his work, Finn combines disability advocacy, policy analysis and research, and written and visual communications through policy briefs, original reports and white papers, and contributions to research projects. His research and advocacy interests include education and employment for autistic adults, comparative disability policy, inclusive technology, LGBTQ cultural competency, and policy that takes into account the intersections between disability, race, LGBTQ identities, class, and other experiences. Finn recently worked with a team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and HSRI on a project that gauged attitudes about the creation of an autism database in Massachusetts in order to create policy recommendations for the state. Finn is a seasoned public speaker who has appeared at a variety of venues, including the Obama White House’s 2016 LGBTQ Disability Day panel, the National Council on Disability’s panel on inclusive technology for people with disabilities, the United Nations’ 2016 Disability and Ageing Symposium, and the 2015 and 2017 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities national conferences. Finn’s writing has been published in NOS Magazine, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and the anthology All the Weight of our Dreams. ... Read More

Cathy Ficker Terrill

Cathy Ficker Terrill’s career has included working in government, nonprofit organizations, university teaching, advocacy and supporting and mentoring self-advocates. Before joining CQL as president and CEO on January 1, 2013, Cathy was president and CEO of The Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities, an Illinois-based organization dedicated to providing leadership and technical assistance to drive public policy and promote best practices for individuals with disabilities. Cathy previously served as president and CEO of the Ray Graham Association, where she utilized the CQL Personal Outcome Measures to reinvent a provider agency to become a more community-based, person-centered organization. Ray Graham Association was the first organization to be accredited with both the Quality Measures 2005 and the latest standards, Person-centered Excellence Accreditation. Cathy worked as the vice-president of the Brain Injury Association (BIA). She is also a past president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) as well as a former president of Illinois TASH. Cathy authored a manual on Consent Issues for Self-Advocates and Direct Care Staff, and was a two-term Presidential Appointee to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID). For the past 20 years, she has volunteered internationally, helping to create services for people with disabilities in Kosovo, Poland, Russia, Korea, Cyprus, Lithuania, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and China. ... Read More

Jami Petner-Arrey

Jami is a policy associate whose work is driven by a passion for promoting the autonomy of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This passion is expressed through work to ensure that all individuals with IDD can access the diverse supports they need to thrive. Jami is particularly devoted to working with public agency staff to explore changes needed in IDD systems that better promote access to and use of supports, and to develop plans to implement needed changes. Jami is also highly skilled in helping governments to manage limited resources through the implementation of a supports budget framework that fosters equity and promotes self-direction of services. In addition to supporting clients in systems change and supports budgets, Jami also has deep experience in working with self-advocates and regularly contributes to the efforts of The Riot!, a platform for self-advocates to talk about the issues that are most important to them. Prior to joining HSRI, Jami held a post-doctoral internship with Queens University: Multidimensional Assessment of Providers and Systems (MAPS) to assess and develop quality indicators for IDD support services. Jami was a special educator, including a head teacher, for 11 years and a service coordinator and direct support provider for 4 years. Jami is also a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) fellow, has interned with Disability Rights New Mexico, and has participated in ethics training and sat on human rights committees. When not at work, Jami enjoys running, being in the wilderness, crafting, compulsively reading, and spending time with her favorite people in the world (Asa-husband, Ario-son, and Juni-daughter)! Education Doctorate in special education: social justice, advocacy, and public policy from the University of New Mexico Master's degree in special education: severe disabilities from the University of New Mexico Bachelor's degree in special education: language arts from Eastern New Mexico University... Read More

Outcomes For Adults On The Autism Spectrum - Webinar

Valerie Bradley and Ari Ne’eman (president and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network) recently presented a webinar entitled “National Core Indicators and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Putting the Data in Context.” Sharing NCI data on demographic characteristics and outcomes for adults on the autism spectrum who receive services from state I/DD systems, they provide policy and research recommendations that address the need for services and supports that encourage inclusion, integration, autonomy and decision-making, productivity, and independence. To watch the webinar, please use the following links: Part 1 Part 2... Read More

Yoshiko Kardell

Yoshi is a policy associate whose work is driven by a passion for supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to live a good life in the community. Yoshi is particularly dedicated to working with public agency staff to create systems of support that align with a set of core values and promote best-practice models in service delivery. She is also highly skilled in developing effective means to communicate with stakeholders around systems change. In addition to supporting clients in systems transformation efforts, Yoshi also has experience working directly with people with disabilities and supporting statewide self-advocacy organizations. Prior to joining HSRI, Yoshi was a Planning and Communications Coordinator at the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, supporting their mission to improve the lives of Oregonians with disabilities. Prior to that, she worked in the disability field providing direct services to individuals with disabilities in variety of settings—including group homes, day programs, an active rehabilitation center for individuals with traumatic brain injuries—as well as in-home supports for people with disabilities living in the home of a family member. In addition to her work at HSRI, Yoshi is a yoga teacher, with a specific focus on pre- and postnatal yoga offerings. When not at work, Yoshi enjoys practicing yoga, studying Eastern philosophy and traditions, and keeping up with her very energetic son, Elliott. Education Master of social work from Portland State University Bachelor of social work from the University of Nebraska – Omaha Recent Projects Reimagining support systems for people with IDD Pooling knowledge to advance best practices for supporting families Helping self-advocates direct their lives and shape public policy... Read More

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