9/24/15 CP News

Volume #21 – Issue #7

The Transformation Panel was created by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to address concerns and deliver recommendations on the future of our system.

Families and others are invited to attend one of seven Transformation Panel public forums held across the state throughout the month of September, to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns with OPWDD Acting Commissioner Kerry A. Delaney and Transformation Panel members.

These public forums are an opportunity to express your views, and OPWDD has asked that you consider the following questions when sharing your thoughts to help them learn the most from this forum:
•    How can self-direction help you take control of your supports and services?
•    What do you think would help more people find and keep jobs in the community?
•    How can we better plan to meet your residential support needs in the community, now and into the future?
•    What ideas do you have for reforming the existing system so it will be sustainable and flexible enough to help meet people’s needs into the future?

Your views will inform the Transformation Panel, the Residential Registration List Report and the development of the Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Services (5.07).

Please register here by 3 days in advance of the forum you are attending, and also if you will be speaking, since space will be limited.

OPWDD will be collecting questions in advance when you register and will try to address as many of the questions submitted in advance as possible. Your questions should address broader system-wide issues. Questions about a specific person’s services will be directed to OPWDD’s regional offices and will not be addressed at this forum.

Speakers will be asked to register in advance, limit their comments to no more than three (3) minutes, and bring two (2) copies of their written thoughts.

You can also submit your thoughts or concerns in writing if unable to attend:

NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities
Neil Mitchell, Special Assistant to the Commissioner
44 Holland Ave., 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12203
Or by email:

For general information about the Public Forums, please contact:
1-866-946-9733 or

Transforming Together Public Forum Schedule

Thursday, September 24
12 noon – 2 pm
The New York State Fairgrounds
Art and Home Center, Martha Eddy Room
581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse

5 pm – 7 pm
Guardian Angels Church Hall
2061 E. Henrietta Road, Henrietta

Friday, September 25
11 am – 1 pm
Burchfield Penney Art Center
1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo

Tuesday, September 29
5 pm – 7 pm
Empire State Plaza,
Meeting Room 6, Albany

Wednesday, September 30
12 noon – 2 pm
Westside Ballroom
253 New York Road, Plattsburgh

Al Shibley


Preschool Special Education for 3-5 year old students with a disability is an entitlement program authorized under the federalIndividuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B. School districts are responsible for evaluating students’ needs, developing a plan (IEP) and determining the appropriate setting for the services.

The rates for 4410 approved preschool special education programs have not received any increase for the past six years. Increasingly, this has begun to affect the quality and availability of programs throughout the state, with several recent closures of programs serving these young children.  The State Education Department has requested a 3.1% increase, beginning July 1, 2015 for our 4410 classrooms.  But, we have still not heard any final determination from the Governor’s Office or the Division of Budget.

In order to bring attention to the issue, the Capital Region Council for Young Children with Special Needs has created petition requesting that Governor Cuomo, NYS Division of Budget (DOB) Director Mary Beth Labate & DOB Education Unit head Joseph Conroy support a rate increase for preschool special education programs in NYS.

The petition can be found here.

Please share the link with staff and families who might be interested in signing it.

Barbara Crosier


Senator Robert Ortt (R-Niagara), who is the chair of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, is having a public hearing on the future of sheltered workshops in New York State for families and individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  The hearing is on September 28, 2015 from 6-8 pm at the University of Buffalo (hearing notice with further details below).

Senator Ortt invited CP of NYS President & CEO Susan Constantino to testify (in person or in writing) at the hearing as well as CP of NYS Affiliates who have work centers.  If you would like to present, or send written, testimony at the hearing on September 28th in Buffalo, please contact Joe Erdman at (518) 455-2024 or at

Sept. 28 Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities   
Chair:     Senator Robert Ortt
Public Hearing:  The future of sheltered workshops in New York State for families and individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities
Place:   Center for Tomorrow, University of Buffalo, North Campus, 119 John Beane Center, Buffalo, New York
Time:  6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Contact:   Daniel Toomey (518) 455-2559
Media Contact:  Antoinette DelBel (518) 455-2024

Barbara Crosier


The Assembly Health and Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities committees and the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities is holding a hearing on October 8th in Albany to hear testimony on New York’s Medicaid “TBI Waiver” program and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care.

We encourage service coordinators to reach out to all of their participants and family members to ask them to send written testimony regarding any concerns that they may have regarding their TBI waiver services transitioning into managed care and include how long they have been receiving TBI waiver services and how the services, as they are now, have supported them remaining in their homes in their communities.   Additionally, we urge all stakeholders, service coordinators, nurses, etc., to submit written testimony regarding any concerns that they may have regarding the TBI waiver services transitioning into managed care.

If you would like to present testimony, either in person or written, please contact Logan Hardy @ 518-455-4371; fax: 518-455-4693 or

Barbara Crosier


The New York Yankees HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) made a stop at CP of NYS Affiliate Jawonio on August 20th to visit the Hunterdon Huskies Contender Cheerleaders, a dance group for girls with disabilities. Michael Pineda, Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve and other representatives from the team surprised the girls at the Jawonio Health Center in New City and spent the morning learning about the squad and the programs offered by Jawonio. The girls performed for the Yankees and even taught the players a routine. The Yankees players were also joined by professional wrestling stars. “It’s unbelievable we get to share this part of our life with the New York Yankees,” said Debbie House, the group’s founder and cheer coach.

Yankees general partner/vice chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal presented a check for $5,000 to both the Hunterdon Huskies Contender Cheerleaders and the Jawonio Center. The day didn’t end after the surprise visit to Jawonio by the Yankees. The girls were transported to the Bronx to watch the Yankees play Cleveland. The cheer team got to mingle with players on the field and then formed an escort line to cheer their heroes as they ran onto the field to start the game.

On each of five consecutive days during the celebration of HOPE Week, the Yankees shine a spotlight on a different individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support. Each day is designed so honorees can share their inspirational stories with Yankees players, fans and the media, while being surprised with the day of their dreams.

Al Shibley

Jawonio pic 1-1

jawonio pic 2


Last month the federal government designated Metro Community Health Centers (MCHC) in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).  The designation provides numerous benefits, including reimbursement rates that will more closely relate to the actual costs associated with providing appropriate care for many of the people utilizing the three MCHC sites, as well as programmatic benefits that will enhance provider recruitment, malpractice coverage and pharmaceutical management, among others.

The new FQHC has also formed a formal partnership with NYU/Lutheran Family Health Centers, one of the largest FQHC networks in the country, which will allow for the creation of new innovative programs, including a special-needs dentistry initiative that can offer patients a full spectrum of coordinated dental care.  MCHC is also working on several fronts to improve Health Information Technology and expand offerings in behavioral health services. There are other initiatives in the works which will help expand available services and increase the number of people served by MCHC.

Marco Damiani


CP of NYS employee Bill Reilly has been working with BlazeSports for some time to build a program that facilitates the participation of young people with disabilities in competitive sports. A Spring Track Clinic at Chelsea Park, sponsored by a grant from the NYS ELKS Association, in partnership with the New York City Parks special needs group, was very successful.

An Adaptive Tennis Clinic made possible by a grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA), in partnership with NYC Parks, is scheduled for Saturday, September 26th from 10am-3pm at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The USTA grant will help cover the costs for coaches and equipment.

For more information on the adaptive tennis clinic contact Bill Reilly at wreilly@CPOFNYS.ORG or Duane Schielke atdschielke@CPOFNYS.ORG.

Al Shibley


The Weinberg Family CP Center at Columbia University Medical Center will conduct a conference on November 14th entitled “The Future History of Cerebral Palsy”.  The conference will be held in NYC and the cost is $75 for physicians, $50 for other health professionals, and $30 for patients and families.  In addition, the conference can be streamed live if you are unable to attend.

This conference will provide a comprehensive overview of cerebral palsy and will introduce practitioners to aspects of care management that should be included in their provision of specialty care, and facilitation of the transition from pediatric to adult care. These will include understanding common co-morbidities, recognizing challenges to effective physical examination, realizing the importance of coordination of care, and facilitating access to resources available for the people with cerebral palsy and their families. This conference will focus on cutting edge research and treatments that will improve the lives of pediatric and adult patients with CP. For more information and to register please visit the conference website.

Deb Williams


Join OPWDD in celebrating its Annual Works for Me event on October 22, 2015 from 10am to 12pm at the Huxley Theater in the New York State Museum in Albany.

The 2015 Honorees Include:

  1. Small Business Winner- Northland Veterinary Hospital in Canton NY where Wilma has been employed as a Kennel Attendant for 23 years with SEMP supports from St. Lawrence NYSARC.
  2. Medium Business Winner- General Control Systems in Green Island NY where Malcolm has been employed for a year with SEMP supports from Warren, Washington, Albany Counties NYSARC.
  3. Large Business Winner- Oneida Savings Bank in Oneida NY where Michelle, who was previously employed in a workshop, has been working at the Bank for 2 years with SEMP supports from the Madison/Cortland ARC. Corporate Winner- Walmart in Springville NY where David has been employed as a cashier for 12 years with SEMP supports from Suburban Adult Services.
  4. Not-for-Profit Winner-The New School in New York City where Alexandra has been employed as an Administrative Assistant for 2 years with SEMP supports from JobPath.
  5. Youth Transition Winner- Syracuse City School District who has been working with OPWDD’s Employment Training Program and the Onondaga Community College to transition students from high school to competitive employment

To register for Works For Me click here.

Barbara Crosier