The DDD Scoop (5-10-18)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The DDD Scoop LogoWelcome to the latest edition of the DDD Scoop.

As you've doubtless heard, Secretary Dimas disseminated the following announcement on May 3rd.

Staff Announcement from Secretary Dimas

Dear IDHS team,

It is with great pleasure that I announce that Melissa Wright has agreed to temporarily come out of retirement and become the interim Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). As a former Director of DDD, Melissa is uniquely qualified to step into this role. She worked her way up through the ranks of DDD over a 20 year period, serving as Chief of many of the Division's bureaus during that time until ultimately serving as Director from 1999 - 2002. After leaving the division, she held several upper level administrative positions at IDHS including the Director of Operations for the Division of Community Health and Prevention and the Director of the Office of Business Services. She also served as my first Chief of Staff prior to her retirement in December of 2015. Please join me in welcoming Melissa back to the IDHS family. Her first day will be June 4th and she will serve as the Director until a permanent director is secured.

I would also like to take this time to congratulate Director Greg Fenton on his retirement from state service on Thursday, May 31st. I want to thank him for the important work he has done as the Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities for the past three years and for his dedication to people with disabilities for a total of 36 years. One of the most important contributions he made during his tenure was leading the movement to Person Centered Planning for people with disabilities. This program focuses on outcomes that are identified by the person receiving services and delivered in a manner that reflects personal preferences and choices in collaboration with their guardian and family. Director Fenton has truly embodied our IDHS motto, "committed to treating people the way we wish to be treated", and for that we are grateful. We wish you nothing but the best, Greg.

Please join me in congratulating both Ms. Wright and Mr. Fenton.

Home Based Services Webinar

On May 8, 2018, the Division hosted a webinar on Self-Direction Assistance (SDA). The recorded webinar is now available on the DHS website at the link below. The slide show and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that were presented to the Division prior to the webinar are also available. Questions that were sent to the Division during and after the Webinar will be addressed in a later FAQ document. Additionally, please be advised that during the webinar, the SDA hourly rate was incorrectly presented as $40.01. This has been corrected on the slides and now reads $41.90.

Webinar: SDA Recorded Webinar (note: to use Closed Caption, please click the cc button in the panel at the bottom right of the screen)

SDA power point slides: (pdf) Click on link to access.

SDA FAQs May 8, 2018: (pdf) Click on link to access.

The Division continues to explore SDA services considering the supports needed by individuals and families in the HBS program. At this time, the billable services allowed are outlined in the above noted presentation and the DHS website at this link . The Division will continue to keep all stakeholders abreast of any changes.

Quality Review Section

If your agency was recently visited by a Bureau of Quality Management (BQM) review team to perform a waiver review, you can expect to see a post feedback survey in your inbox through Survey Monkey. In the past, reviewers handed out a hard copy of the post feedback form to be returned by mail or email.

The feedback provided by each agency helps to continually monitor the review process.

Have you received your 2018 NCI Staff Stability Survey?

Links to the National Core Indicator Staff Stability Survey have been emailed to all providers that provide direct services to adults with developmental disabilities in Illinois. ICF/IDD as well as Home and Community Based Services waiver providers are eligible to participate. If your agency has not received the link to the survey, please contact (217-524-1598) to be added to the distribution.

We've had several inquiries about the need to complete the survey if the information was provided previously. The answer is a resounding YES!! The survey completed about this time last year was for calendar year 2016. The current survey will gather updated information for calendar year 2017 and will be used to support efforts to improve wages, benefits, and retention of direct service staff within our state. So, please participate in the current survey, even if you provided similar information last year!

Ethics Training

The mandatory ethics training period is May 8th through June 6th. During this period, all DHS/Division employees are required to take the ethics training. Your completion of this training is both a legal requirement and a condition of your employment. If you have any questions relating to this training, please contact the Ethics Training Administrator at

Training Corner LogoTrainer's Corner-Quality Enhancement Unit

This edition of Trainer's Corner is all about Non-Verbal Communication Skills from the Emotional Intelligence Training curriculum.

There is more to communication than the words one speaks or messages being conveyed. There are also non-verbal cues that are used in everyday conversations. Being mindful of the signals you send others through body language and the manner in which you speak may get your point across a lot faster than your mere words.

Body Language - The saying, 'Actions speak louder than words' is so true in the workplace. It is easy to shower someone with promises, but when it is time to perform, if the actions do not measure up to the words spoken, the words spoken will be forgotten.

The use of body language can have both positive and negative effects. The thing to remember about body language is that if you are not conscious of what your body is doing while you are talking, the wrong message could be conveyed. For example, if you are smiling while giving someone condolences on the loss of their loved one, that could be construed as inappropriate and your words insincere. On the other hand, if you are congratulating someone on a job well done, but do so with a frown on your face, you could appear to be unhappy for the person.

The signals you send to others - Sending non-verbal signals to someone can be a great way to reinforce that which you've verbally spoken. It can also be used as a tool to further explain what you're trying to say. However, it can be a way of confusing the listener. So, this can be a valuable skill as long as you are conscious of it and have trained it to have a positive effect rather than using it as an uncertain form of communication.

Information derived from the DDD Emotional Intelligence Participant's Guide, provided by the DHS Bureau of Training and Support Services.

On The Move

Kimberlee Connor will be joining the Division on May 16th as an Administrative Assistant I with the Bureau of Clinical Services. Kimberlee began her state career in 2015 with the Department of Human Services/Child Support Division. In late 2015 she transferred to the Department of Human Services/Bureau of Collections where she most recently served as Office Coordinator. Previously, she spent 17 years with the City of Springfield, Convention and Visitors Bureau/Group Travel Department, scheduling for the thousands of visitors to the Springfield historic sites and surrounding area tourist destinations. She and her husband have 2 children, 1 grandson and a granddaughter due in September.

Iles Park Place Blood Drive

The Division of Developmental Disabilities is hosting a Blood Drive on Friday, May 18, 2018 from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Please, mark your calendars and be prepared to participate. The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is critically low on blood reserves at this time! If you would like to sign up now, please email Teresa Sheley at for available time slots or you can donate blood at the center on a different day close to our blood drive, but please make sure you give them Sponsor Code 60835. Thank you very much for being a part of this life saving event! All presenting donors will receive a free "Let's Taco Bout Donating" t-shirt!!

State Operated Developmental Center News

43 Children Are Diagnosed Every Day With Cancer

Choate Center: On April 27th individuals from Choate Developmental Center participated in the spring games at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. The beautiful sunny weather made for a great day for Special Olympic athletes from all over Southern Illinois to compete and have a great time! Choate athletes competed in running events, walking races, softball throw and long jump. Athletes from Choate had a very enjoyable day and brought home several medals and ribbons

Fox Center: Fox Center individuals were able to attend Seussical the Musical on April 26th at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

Kiley Center: On Sunday, May 6, 2018, Special Olympics for Track and Field was held. Kiley individuals were awarded a total of 17 gold medals, and 14 individuals who qualified with gold medals will go downstate for Special Olympics from June 15 - 17th. Kiley was one of the biggest groups at Regionals. Everyone worked so well together making this a successful event!

Ludeman Center: The Ludeman Stinger Aktion Club met April 25th and filled their pots with dirt and planted seeds. The individuals took the pots home and some of them have been reporting regularly on how well their plants are doing. On May 2nd Aktion Club met and the individuals made "Mother's Day" cards for their loved ones.

Mabley Center: Twenty-Two Mabley athletes participated in the spring games track and field at Harlem High School on Saturday. Everyone did an excellent job. The center had a total of 8 gold medals. Those individuals will advance to state games on June 15-17 at Illinois State University. Good Luck team!

Murray Center: A large group of Murray individuals were able to attend a St. Louis Cardinal Baseball game last week thanks to the generosity of a Murray Staff Person, Stacey Miller.

Shapiro Center: Individuals enjoyed attending the Spring Dance on April 26th. They had fun dancing to music provided by a DJ and socializing with their peers.

Dreams really do come true

In closing, I want to share with you how excited I was to learn that for the first time a football player with one hand, Shaquem Griffin, was drafted by the National Football League (NFL). Shaquem was selected by the Seattle Seahawks on the third day of the NFL 2018 draft. He will be playing for the same team as his twin brother, Shaquill, who is a cornerback for the Seahawks. Besides making history, Shaquem's story has been an inspiration to so many people around the world. At the age of four, Shaquem's left hand was amputated due to a congenital birth defect. As a result, I'm quite sure that throughout his life he encountered people who told him there would be limits on what he could do and dreams that he would never realize. Becoming a professional football player was doubtless one of those dreams; however, Shaquem proved the doubters wrong and has hopefully created new possibilities for other athletes with disabilities.

As he begins his professional career, it is my sincere hope that the media focus will be on his play on the field and not the fact that he has one hand. In fact, Shaquem has stated publicly that he would rather others not concentrate on his disability. Unfortunately, we live in a society where too much emphasis is placed on disabilities over abilities - on what people cannot do versus with they can do. Even our service plans for individuals for many years focused on people's deficits instead of their strengths. The truth, of course, is that all of us have strengths, shortcomings, and areas that require further development. Importantly, our growth and development are often affected by our beliefs about what we can and cannot do, and people who are close to us play an important role in helping us develop our self-perception and our belief systems. Once established, our belief systems are very powerful - so powerful that they can hold us back from achieving our goals and dreams.

Regrettably, I had to learn the hard way that most of our self- limiting beliefs - i.e., I'm not smart enough, talented enough, good enough - are not based in reality. Clearly, Shaquem never believed there were any limits on his potential and his ability to realize his dream of playing professional football. And similarly, throughout our history, major contributions have been made by people who refused to buy into the false narrative about what they could accomplish in their lives.

  •  Thomas Jefferson, who many historians believe had several learning disabilities, was a prolific writer and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
  •  Thomas Edison, who one teacher described as "too stupid to learn", is regarded as one of America's greatest inventors.
  •  And more recently, Gary Cohn, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, went on to become Chief Operating Officer and President of Goldman Sachs, and, from 2017-2018,

the chief economic adviser to President Trump. Interestingly, it is reported that a teacher once told Cohn's parents that "if they were really lucky and spent a lot of time with 

  Cohn, he might grow up to be a truck driver".

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in which he envisioned a world where people would not be judged on their outward appearance, but instead on the "content of their character". Regrettably, some 50-plus years later many people still have to overcome barriers to reach their full potential because of perceived limitations in their abilities.

Upon hearing the news of his selection in the NFL draft, Shaquem stated that he is looking forward to the day when he will be called "Shaquem Griffin the football player and not Shaquem Griffin the one-hand wonder".

I hope that day comes soon!

Have a great weekend!