March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, giving us the perfect opportunity to educate our community about the unique talents of the people we support.
This year’s theme is “See Me, For Me,” which encourages everyone to focus on each person and get to know more about them as an individual. The theme calls on our community to recognize people for their abilities. Here at Community Services, we celebrate the people we support all year long. Our Agency accepts people of all abilities and promotes their inclusion in the community. We’re committed to providing quality, person-centered services that are tailored to each person’s needs and creating individualized plans to help every person we serve accomplish their goals.
For example, our Jefferson Career Center offers hands-on learning suites where the people we support can explore different career paths and develop job skills to connect them with employment opportunities. The learning suites offer training in a variety of fields, including hospitality, office work, and automotive detailing.
We’ve also had countless examples of those that we support achieving a greater level of independence. Jason, a participant at one of our Day Habilitation programs, worked hard to gain the skills and independence to be able to go to the store and walk around without needing someone there to hep him.
Our mini-grant program, which fills gaps in funding, is another way we help the people we serve celebrate their talents and discover what they’re passionate about. Mini-grants have helped fund several programs and experiences, including camping trips, an indoor garden, a recording studio, transportation supports and more.
We also celebrate and thank our employees, advocates, families and partners for helping raise awareness in the community and for making a difference in the lives of the people we support.
If you’re interested in hearing our success stories or want to learn more about the Agency, follow us on social media and sign up for our e-newsletter here.
Businesses who are looking to hire capable, reliable and committed employees should consider hiring people with developmental disabilities. Employers will be hiring someone who is dedicated and hardworking while at the same time enabling that person to become more independent and involved in their community.
Some of the benefits of a hiring a person with a developmental disability include, but are not limited to:
- A more diverse workforce
- Increased productivity
- Motivated employees
- Less employee turnover
- Reduced recruiting times
- Fewer training costs
There are also tax credits available for businesses that employ people with developmental disabilities. The first potential credit is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Employers can receive up to $2,400 in federal tax savings for hiring people with low incomes. The Workers with Disability Tax Credit (WDTC) can earn employers up to $5,000 for hiring people with developmental disabilities to full-time positions and up to $2,500 for part-time jobs.
According to the 2016 Disability Statistics Annual Report conducted by the University of New Hampshire, only 35% of all people with disabilities are employed. By employing more people with disabilities, their dependence on governmental supports decreases.
At Community Services, we know a job is so much more than a paycheck. It’s about learning new skills and being a part of the community. Our Vocational Services provide a wide range of opportunities to ensure people who want to work are prepared and have the supports necessary to succeed.
Read more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities here as well as the possible tax credits here.
BUFFALO, NY- October 30, 2017 – Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc. celebrated the opening of its Jefferson Career Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, October 30. Mayor Byron Brown and NYS Senator Tim Kennedy joined Mindy Cervoni, President & CEO of Community Services, in offering remarks on the crucial need for the center and similar initiatives that aid people with developmental disabilities in entering the workforce and in contributing to the vitality of Buffalo and Western New York communities. After the ceremony, assembled representatives from local businesses, private foundations, state/county agencies and community-based organizations were invited to tour the site to learn more about the center’s current and future services.
Located on Buffalo’s East Side at 1485 Jefferson Avenue, the Jefferson Career Center is designed to take a different approach in helping youth and adults with developmental disabilities to land rewarding job opportunities in their community. The center features a set of innovative career suites—hands-on, supportive learning environments that enable people to explore and embark on careers in fields of interest. Simulating authentic workplace settings, the center’s first career suites will enable people to learn the skills and tools necessary for holding competitive jobs in hotel housekeeping, automobile detailing, janitorial services, office administration, retail sales and hospitality services among other high growth fields. A culinary arts learning suite for careers in food services is planned as a major expansion to the center in early 2018.
To ensure that people acquire job skills that employers value, the center is working with local businesses and organizations to shape the center’s career-based learning experiences. As one example, Community Services has partnered with Basil Family of Dealerships to develop the center’s automobile learning suite. Through this partnership, Basil generously provided a skills building curriculum and donated supplies that will prepare people to secure car detailing jobs at dealerships, car washes and repair shops.
In addition to employment services, the Jefferson Career Center will be home to a respite program for school-age children that will provide parents with a break from caring for a loved one with a developmental disability. The respite program is vital to Buffalo’s East Side families, many of whom could not otherwise access or afford these essential relief services.
“We are thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” noted Mindy Cervoni. “The Jefferson Career Center will positively impact many of the people we support by helping them gain work skills and connecting them with competitive employment opportunities. This center will help people achieve their goals and lead more independent lives.”
“The Jefferson Career Center is more than a building for the people we support. It is a representation of our belief that every person, given the appropriate supports and opportunity, has the ability to contribute to their community. For those we support, a job is so much more than a paycheck. It is independence, inclusion and an improved quality of life,” said Michelle Zangerle, Assistant Director of Vocational Services.
“Along with the opportunity to expand our Respite program, Jefferson provides additional space for a gross motor room and outside playground with a recreational area. With the addition of these two spaces, children that utilize Respite supports will have more space to develop and grow,” said Ashley McLimans, Assistant Director of Day Services.
Community Services is grateful for the aid of its partners in launching this initiative. The initial development of the Jefferson Career Center was made possible through the generous support of a range of funders, businesses and community-based organizations, including, but not limited to, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), The John R. Oishei Foundation, M&T Bank, the James H. Cummings Foundation, First Niagara Bank, the Basil Family of Dealerships, Northwest Bank and the Community Services Support Foundation. Community Services continues to work with local employers, private foundations and community-based organizations to expand the ways the center can benefit job seekers with disabilities, local employers and the communities of WNY.
Community Services will host a Conducting Serious Incident Investigations Course from October 4th through October 6th at 175 Humphrey Street, North Tonawanda. View the file below for more information or to register.
Download (PDF, 10KB)
Thank you to everyone who made the past year an incredible success for our Agency and Foundation. We invite you to take a few minutes to read our 2016 Annual Report. These stories reflect some of our biggest accomplishments, none of which would be possible without the support from our community. You can view our 2016 Annual Report by clicking here.
Jefferson Career Center Opening
After a very busy and successful 2016 and early 2017, we are set to open our Jefferson Career Center in the early fall. Located on the East Side of Buffalo in the former Bethel Head Start building on the corner of Jefferson and East Ferry, the Jefferson Career Exploration Center will offer pre-vocational services and employment services for adults with developmental disabilities. Our Respite services will also be offered within the Jefferson building. Respite services are offered to families we serve in a variety of degrees, such as after school care, over school breaks, and even on the weekends.
Jefferson Career Center will give those in our pre-vocation and employment services a chance to learn in a hands-on fashion. Throughout the building there will be different “suites” that will offer the people we serve a chance to learn more about different career paths. These suites include a culinary suite, an auto detailing suite, a mock hotel room and an office, all of which will give the people we serve an opportunity to explore career options and train in a variety of ways. We have several different community partners throughout Western New York who are helping to make Jefferson and the vision we have for it, come alive!
When the Jefferson Career Center opens, Community Services will be inching closer to our mission and vision of helping individuals with developmental disabilities in Western New York achieve their highest level of independence and promote their fullest participation in society. Through the partnerships established, Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled hopes to advance and expand employment opportunities for those we serve. The goal is ultimately for the Jefferson Career Center to become a go-to place within the community!
We would like to thank those who attended our 3rd Annual Golf Tournament in July 2016, and those who attended our 2nd Annual Buffalo Inspired Art, Far and Beer event in November 2016. Funds raised at both of these events went towards the Jefferson Career Center.
Our President & CEO Mindy Cervoni discusses the negative impact potential cuts to Medicaid could have on the people we serve in a letter to the editor that was recently published in The Buffalo News. We are urging our state legislators to vote against these budget cuts and to vote for the rights of people with developmental disabilities.
You can read the full letter by clicking here.
Our 4th Annual Golf Tournament, Chipping in for Community Services, was featured on Rise Collaborative’s website. Check out their blog for more information about our event and our Agency.
Chipping In for Community Services – Golf Tournament 7.17.17
As you may or may not know, April is recognized by the Autism Society as National Autism Awareness month. CSDD aims to always lead the way for individuals with developmental disabilities, whether it be through transitional services, supportive employment, or general advancement. In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we’d like to share a little information on recent research found back in February that could mean a lot to any new parent of an infant.
Recent research shows it may be possible to assess an individual’s risk for developing autism before they display behavioral symptoms. The new study goes further, and suggests predicting whether or not a child will develop autism within the first year of their life could now be possible. The study claims to have identified which baby’s would eventually be diagnosed with ASD by the time they’re two-years-old, with more than a 90 percent rate of accuracy.
The results, published this past February, could change the landscape in context to early diagnosis and intervention of autism. While the medical community has long viewed autism as emerging in a slow, subtle and gradual context over the course of an individual’s first couple years of life, this study offers the first possibility that some higher-risk children could be identified during the first year of life.
In the study, 106 infants who were identified as “high risk” for autism premised on having an older sibling diagnosed with a developmental disorder as well as 42 other “low-risk” infants. Each went through MRI scans at the ages of six, twelve and 24-months. In those who went on to develop autism, brain surface area growth was considerably increased between the ages of six and twelve, and the overall size of the impacted children’s brains grew at a faster rate between the ages of twelve and 24-months.
In the high-risk pool, just the differences in the brain between ages six and twelve were able to predict if the child would develop autism with a rate of 80 percent accuracy. Other factors were considered, including additional brain measurements and sex to assess statistical analysis to so accurately predict which children would go on to develop autism.
Continuing to Move Forward
While most children aren’t categorized as being autistic until after they turn four-years-old, they can still be reliably diagnosed as early as 2. This new research could be integral in advancing treatment as research shows treatment and/or intervention is increasingly successful the earlier it’s initiated, and medical professionals are always looking to identify avenues for earlier, but reliable diagnosis. While biomarkers to identify at-risk children have yet to be identified, the study provides hope that they exist while possibly expediting the diagnosis time to cultivate earlier and more effective intervention.
Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled is proud of the community we serve. From assisting with vocational training for developmentally disabled in WNY, to providing a myriad of other services for the developmentally disabled, give us a call if you’re looking for assistance, or support in any kind to help you and/or your loves ones live the fulfilling lives you deserve. If you or someone you know is looking for supportive employment or jobs for someone with a developmental disability, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Back in 1987, the month of March was designated “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” by then President Ronald Reagan. The push towards deinstitutionalization in the 70s and 80s provided the bedrock for incredible and needed social advancement. Reagan’s proclamation asked Americans to offer individuals with developmental disabilities “both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.
A Changing Landscape
As the narrative continued to shift, and those individuals impacted began to live and transition into an increasing part of the general community, programs aimed at career coaching, planning and placement started to emerge as well. The notion that individuals with developmental disabilities could transition into productive and valuable members of the workforce was new to many Americans and as such, work to deconstruct long-established preconceptions and stereotypes had to be approached head on.
Just a few years later, in 1990, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, significant ground was made towards mitigating discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace.
With Reagan’s proclamation and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the realistic expectations of individuals with disabilities began to change and autonomy, perseverance and community involvement increasingly became an achievable goal. Simultaneously, along with better health care, individuals with developmental disabilities started living longer and cultivated a wide spectrum of support needed to live fulfilling lives.
In 2004, the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) further clarified the perseverance, importance and abilities of individuals with disabilities. While promising early interventions, special education and services to help high schoolers transition into adulthood, IDEA continued to open doors.
While there has been significant and positive change three decades after the establishment of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, many challenges remain and we at Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled remain committed to continue working and advocating for our community. Our 40 different programs provide a full range of services to meet the personal, social, vocational training for developmentally disabled in WNY needs and to meet the goals of the people we serve.
We celebrate achievements and diversity during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and hope you take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate with us. We emphasize our commitment to working with developmentally disabled and community efforts to ensure the availability of support services to advocate for individuals with disabilities to live, work and participate fully in society.