Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) Announces the Family Support Loan Fund

The application period for the Family Support Loan Fund is open
from April 1 to April 30, 2015.

The Family Support Loan Fund provides access to short-term low interest rate loans in order to obtain family support services, which help to maintain a dependent family member with a developmental disability in the home. To qualify for this loan program, families must have their family member entered into the Community Contract Management System (CCMS) as either waiting for, or enrolled in a Family Support Services Program (FSSP) before a loan can be considered. Parents and, or guardians cannot apply for a loan in their child’s name. Minors are not eligible to apply for a loan.
  • The outstanding loan amount for any family may be up to a maximum of $8,000.00.
  • Loans can be for a maximum period of 60 months (five years).
  • Loan interest rates are 0.97% (as determined by the Colorado State Treasurer) for Fiscal Year 2014/2015.
  • Repayment of the loan is the full responsibility of the applicant.
Who Qualifies?
  • Families that support a family member with a developmental disability in their home are eligible to apply for a Family Support Loan.
  • Families enrolled in the Family Support Services Program are also eligible for the Loan Fund, but loans cannot be repaid using funds from the Family Support Services Program.
Benefits and Services 
Examples of services and supports that may be purchased with a Family Support Loan include:
  • Adaptations to Home
  • Construction Materials and Labor
  • Specialized Transportation
  • Adaptations to Transportation
  • Special Equipment/Clothing
  • Medical/Dental Costs
To find out if you're eligible, contact the Community Centered Board (CCB) in your area or the Medicaid Customer Contact Center.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Imagine!'s Out & About Program Welcomes New Intern

The New Year brought in a new Therapeutic Recreation intern to Out & About! Quincy Hegeman, a Senior from Frostburg State University, Maryland, signed on with Out & About in January to complete a 15-week internship, which is the final step in gaining her bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation. One of her tasks as an intern is to work as a Therapeutic Instructor in the field and gain hands-on experience. “My goal is to find out if I prefer working in a community-based setting or a clinical based setting,” said Quincy.

As the internship progresses, Quincy will gain experience with performing intakes, writing Therapeutic Plans, and writing individualized goals for participants. She will also get to practice planning and facilitating activities. The variety of tasks are aimed at giving Quincy a 360-degree experience at Out & About. Before she wraps up the internship in May, Quincy is required by her university to complete a special project that benefits Out & About. Right now, her plan is to research articles and studies focused on the activities and interventions Out & About provides. For instance, finding a study that outlines the potential outcomes/benefits of someone participating in a theatre program. She will also research best practices for implementing that particular activity. Lisa Bargatze, Quincy’s internship supervisor, said, “We, as a therapeutic team, are excited to support Quincy in this project! It will be a great learning experience for her, as well as a useful tool for the department.”

“I’ve learned already how to be flexible and think quick on my feet when change occurs,” said Quincy. She also explains it’s becoming clear, that “It takes a lot of work to plan lessons and maintain a smooth activity.” Having grown up in northern Maryland, Quincy says, “I like how Colorado reminds me of home, just bigger mountains!”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Imagine!'s Leadership Development Program Update for March

This month has given Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group (LDG) group a chance to touch on many different areas and activities. After the initial planning phases, both groups are working hard researching and beginning to outline their case study projects. We look forward to sharing what we learn as we continue with this process.

We also attended the first class in the Great Leaders series, offered through Mountain States Employers Council, on How Great Leaders Build Trust. The class talked about the importance of trust in working relationships, common pitfalls to having trust within your team, and strategies for building relationships that foster trust. This class focused on looking critically at your own behaviors, and how they influence those around you. Trust must be built on a balance of valuing people and delivering results; as we all assessed ourselves, we realized that our strengths tend to lie in one area or another. For some, it is easier to focus on the outcomes and not actively invest in relationships, while others have an easier time relating to teams of people, but difficulty in holding these teams accountable to results. Being aware of the importance of both aspects allows us to reflect on current behaviors and improve them as we learn. We look forward to building on what we learned next month!


A final highlight of the month was discussing the book The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. Naoki has autism, and wrote the book using an alphabet grid when he was 13 years old. In the book, he attempts to answer the questions that his family and society have about his behaviors, and how autism affects his life. The book has such a different perspective from other books that discuss intellectual and developmental disabilities. It gives insight into the self awareness that Naoki has about his autism and how much he knows, but can’t control. Reading his account of his experiences, which are laid out with honestly and thoughtfulness, encourages us to look beyond the surface behaviors of those around us. Often our reactions and own behaviors exasperate the challenges of others. As David Mitchell, who wrote the introduction to the book, points out, it’s important to really consider which behaviors, “aren’t symptoms of autism but consequences of autism, its harsh lockdown on self-expression and society’s near-pristine ignorance about what’s happening inside autistic heads.” There is no one account that can capture the experience of every individual, and we discussed at length how Naoki’s account is very true for him, but may not be true for all. Elena provided some insight into how Naoki’s Japanese culture may have influenced his perspective, and how a westerner may have answered the same questions defiantly.

Understanding what’s happening inside anyone’s head is complex, and the limited capacity of language to capture the abstract concept of emotion limits us. Whether Naoki’s experiences are true just for him, or offer a more universal insight into the thinking of those with autism, The Reason I Jump forces readers to think and experience to world of those who think differently. Naoki ends the book with this thought: “I think that people with autism are born outside the regime of civilization. Sure, this is just my own made-up theory, but I think that, as a result of all the killings in the world and the selfish planet-wrecking that humanity has committed, a deep sense of crisis exists. Autism has somehow arisen out of this. Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different in many ways. We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for Earth, that would give us quiet pleasure.”

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Post-Secondary Education Research Study


Parents of students with intellectual disabilities of all ages, please participate in a post-secondary education research study!

The time is now for your voice to be heard!

We are pleased to announce a growing movement of concerned parents and professionals who envision a Colorado in which Higher Education opportunities are available for students with intellectual disabilities. The mission of IN! Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education is to work with colleges and universities in Colorado to design and create inclusive post-secondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities on at least two campuses by fall of 2016. Our hope is that within ten years, students with intellectual disabilities will be fully included in the academic, residential, and social components of college life across Colorado.

IN! Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education has formed a partnership with JFK Partners at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Designed as Colorado's University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, JFK Partners has teamed up with IN! to design a survey for parents of students with disabilities. This partnership makes it possible for parents to give input and ultimately help create a program for young adults with intellectual disabilities in Colorado. If you are a parent of an individual with an intellectual disability, please click HERE to complete this research survey. The survey should not take more than 10 minutes to complete.

Please complete the survey before April 1, 2015.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Imagine! Innovations Department Host Home Spotlight

Imagine!'s Innovations Department would like to recognize Lyle Jasmin, who is a Host Home Provider (HHP) for his outstanding demonstration of Innovations quality standards and commitment to the Imagine! mission. Lyle has been a provider with us less than a year, but he has proved himself over and over as a reliable and motivated caretaker. 

Lyle has been remarkably successful working with the two consumers that live in his home, one of which was having major struggles in his previous placement and entered the home on an emergency basis. Lyle recently demonstrated his extraordinary attention to detail and dedication to his consumer’s health, safety, and well-being. The consumer had been prescribed a new medication. This medication was filled and sent to the home by the pharmacy. Prior to administering the medication, Lyle noticed the generic name of the medication was the name of a medication listed on the consumer’s allergy list. Instead of administering this medication, he notified his Coordinator and Nurse Case Manager and we were able to verify the allergy and request new medication. Both the Coordinator and Nurse Case Manager were highly impressed Lyle caught this potentially harmful mistake that had not been caught via the other levels of oversight. We just wanted to recognize Lyle for this true attention to detail and say thank you to him for his quality of care day in and day out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Introducing Johnny

Today we'd like to introduce you to Johnny, who is the newest resident at Imagine!’s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder. Johnny and his new housemates gathered late last month to celebrate his birthday. Enjoy the pictures from his celebration, shared with us by Site Supervisor Shannon Bundy.

To learn more about Johnny and how he is using technology, click here or on the YouTube link below to see how he uses an iPad App to overcome communication barriers.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Imagine! Community Forum Set For Tuesday, March 31

You Are Invited to the Annual Imagine! Community Forum 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 from 5:45-6:45 PM
 Aspen Family Services450 Courtney Way,
Lafayette, CO, 80026

Do you have questions, concerns, or ideas about Imagine!? Then join us for our Annual Community Forum on Tuesday, March 31. Representatives from Imagine!’s staff and Board of Directors will be on hand to answer questions and receive input from families and local community members. Join us in person or by phone! Topics to be discussed include:
  • The State of the State 
  • Ending Waitlists in Colorado/Growth at Imagine! 
  • Community Capacity Issues 
  • Conflict Free Case Management and its Implications 
To attend in person: R.S.V.P. @ (303) 665-7789 To attend by phone: 1-877-668-4490 Access code: 573 659 219 (while listening in, you can view the slideshow presentation at http://imaginecolorado.org/online-multimedia-events)

To email your questions/comments in advance: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ImagineForum2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Out & About Center Stage/Creative Expressions Classes to Create Theatre Magic

This year marks the fifth Anniversary for Imagine!’s Out & About’s Centre Stage program. In this program, participants start with brainstorming plot and character ideas in December. The last Friday in February showcases their original creation and shares all participants’ talents and contributions with the public. This year, Centre Stage is directed by Kristel Jelinek Brown, program director at Parlando School for the Arts. “This group is full of such dynamic energy and ideas,” said Kristel. “It is my favorite part about any artistic process, finding out what excites the group then collaborating as a team to make it all work together!” Kristel brings extensive experience and very high energy to each rehearsal, inspiring participants to reach past their comfort zone and act with confidence.

This year, Out & About’s Catalog program designed its Creative Expressions class to aid the big production by building the set designs and props. Examples of projects completed include: spray painting aspen trees, creating an Aspen City Limits sign, cutting out and painting a party bus alien space craft using cardboard, and designing a Maroon Bells landscape as a back drop. The neat thing about this Creative Expressions class is that the participant’s work will be seen by a large audience. They may not appear on stage, but are still “in the play” as their hard work contributes to the big show. “Everyone makes a contribution and it is wonderful to see everyone's creative juices flowing,” said Alexa Trujillo, Out & About instructor.

The annual performance took place on Friday, February 27, and was a giant success! As you can see below, all actors and actresses were glowing with confidence and self-satisfaction. Family members, friends, and even Out & About Friday Night Out participants filled the Broomfield Auditorium with laughter, cheers, and wonderful support. It was a great way to celebrate five years with this ever growing activity. Thank you to all who attended and thank you to the participants for an amazing night!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

National Survey about Siblings of Individuals with Disabilities, their Support Needs, and their Families

The Sibling Leadership Network is studying the support needs of siblings of individuals with disabilities through a survey called the National Survey about Siblings of Individuals with Disabilities, their Support Needs, and their Families. The purpose of the Sibling Leadership Network is to promote a broad network of siblings who share the experience of disability and people concerned with sibling issues by connecting them to social, emotional, governmental, and provisional supports across the lifespan enabling them to be effective advocates for their brother and sister, and to serve as change agents for themselves and their families. The network is looking for anyone who would like to share their perspectives.

The survey could be completed by any of the following:

  • Siblings of people with disabilities;
  • People with disabilities;
  • Parents of people with disabilities; and
  • Professionals working with people with disabilities and their families.

This is an online survey that takes less than 30 minutes to complete and is available in both English and in Spanish.

Click here to visit the survey page.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spread The Word To End The Word: #Respect

Today is the annual Spread the Word to End the Word Awareness Day. The Innovations Advocacy Council would like to remind everyone that "Respect" starts with the words that we use on a daily basis.

The Innovations Advocacy Council understands that it is not always easy to stop using words that have become industry standards, but through the commitment of the people who provide services, the family members, and the individuals in services, a cultural change can occur.

The Power of a Word

Words can hold great power and it is through our words that we can potentially hurt or demean others. The council has created some alternative word choices to use:

  • Instead of using “consumer” or “client,” use “individuals with disabilities” or “people with disabilities,” or better yet, refer to our individuals simply as people and/or individuals.
  • Instead of using the terminology “high-functioning/low-functioning,” try to explain the parameters of the situation. For example, instead of saying high-functioning, you could say that the person is independent in the community and requires minimal supports. Instead of saying low-functioning, you could say the individual requires additional assistance with daily living tasks.
  • Above all else, we should never use the R-Word. While everyone understands that this is an official diagnosis, there are other ways in which to express the diagnosis such as developmental disability or intellectual disability, and plain and simple, this word is offensive regardless if it is used clinically or not.
For further information or to take the pledge, please visit the Spread the Word to End the Word official website at http://www.r-word.org/.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Finding Happieness

Today we’d like to share a great story from our friends at Apostrophe Magazine.

Connie Whitley's book, “Finding Happiness,” is all about finding joy in life. She brought her story to life using an iPad.

Click here to read the story.