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April is Autism Awareness Month.
Some estimates indicate that 1.5 million people in the United States are on the autism spectrum.
Many resources are available to help individuals with autism, their families and the agencies that provide services.
The Autism Society provides resources for youth and adults in the Autism Across the Lifespan section of their website: http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/lifespan/
The Autism Speaks website includes an Adults with Autism section that addresses topics such as independent living, transition and employment: http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/adults-autism
The Region 7 TACE (Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center) offers this toolkit, specific to vocational rehabilitation services for adults with autism:
All of DVR's managers recently attended a 2-day leadership conference, where they joined their management colleagues from the other DWD divisions and programs to learn about the many innovations in DWD as well as to share promising practices.
As part of the conference, each division prepared a presentation that highlighted the innovations in their divisions that allow the department to provide effective and efficient services to Wisconsin citizens. DVR developed a video for the conference, and you can view it on the DVR WorkWeb:
Technology can play an important role in assisting people with disabilities, including adults with autism, to live and work more independently.
Organizations and companies have compiled lists of features and applications that can assist people with autism:
Submitted by Gina Haupt, DVR Social Security Reimbursement and Ticket to Work Specialist
Recently, there have been questions from counselors regarding how to tell if an individual applying with DVR is getting SSI or SSDI because of a disability or because of another reason such as age or having a parent with a disability. This is an important question as it directly relates to presuming a person eligible for services. How, then, does one determine why a person is getting benefits?
Perhaps the easiest method is to ask the consumer. Unfortunately, this may not always be feasible. Even if it is, some consumers are not sure what type of benefits they are receiving and why. Luckily, there are some clues that can help staff determine the reason.
Story in Juneau County Star Times: "Schools, community help disabled adults find work."
Karen Lambright - VRC, Madison
Email from a DVR consumer's parent
We are excited! Thanks so much for everything you are doing for (consumer name). You are making a big difference in his and our lives. You are the best!
Steve Chronquist - VRC, Green Bay
Email from former consumer
It has been at least four years since we last talked. I thought it would be neat to give you an update on what has been going on since then.
I am currently in my 5th year of teaching special education (which is crazy to think about). I taught special education for the first three years at the elementary level and have been at the middle school level for the last two years. I currently have my first student teacher and can't believe that it is my turn to share classroom "tricks".
I love what I do and could not be happier with any other career. I want to thank you for everything you did years ago to help me be successful in college. Without that success, I would not be where I am today. I will forever be grateful. Thank you again for everything. There are no words to express my gratitude.
Brenda Kleven and Rita Olin - CCP
Email received by Program Development Section Chief Lorie Lange
Again thank you for all of your assistance! The CCP staff are all wonderful ladies and have really helped me out - recently Brenda and Rita had to do a teaming activity on invoices each one entered but was all part of an adjustment. I asked for their help, and they came through and took care of getting the correct amount issued to a vendor. GREAT COOPERATION! So appreciated their assistance and patience!
Flora Bazzaz - VRC, Madison
I just want to say thank you for everything that you have done for me.
Karen Cesar - VRC, Waukesha
I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me and discuss your professional career development. Your insights were very helpful and have confirmed my decision to gain additional work experience before I complete my master's degree.
I also appreciate your advice on how to make myself more marketable and competitive in the counseling field.
Again, thank you for your advice and insight.
Brock Hansen - VRC, Madison
Yes, I have the van, the zero effort steering helps a great deal, turning is no longer hard. Also, the palm hand grip which is flat, instead of a steering wheel knob that you grip, also helps with safety.
I use the vehicle for what I think taxpayers intended, mostly it goes from home to work each day, and then back home again. It carries me and my disability service dog to work each day, regardless of the weather. Without it, I could not bring my 350 pound power wheelchair to work each day, and without that chair, I would not still be working, for I am now too weak to push my manual wheelchair around. It helped me to stay employed.
My intent is to work as long as I can (hopefully for another 15 years), my family of 6 gets their healthcare from my work. My 2 kids in college can go, in part, because I work. I will work until my body collapses completely. So the car kept me working; keeping me working, kept our family health insurance and keeps me paid.
Thanks for your part in this. I know the road ahead of me is a tough one, but I am in the fight, to keep a normal life each and every day.
With me I work hard each and every day to earn my money and care for my family, and pay my taxes. Nobody has promised me a tomorrow, so I just try to appreciate the little I have in life. For me that is enough, I have no greater ambitions beyond that anymore.
Coreen Knop (CCC) and Sandy Ellsworth (VRC) - Elkhorn
The job is really overwhelming but I am going to do everything I can to make sure this is where I'll be retiring. I want to thank you and Sandy for all your help.
Melissa Jasurda - CCC, Madison
I want to thank you for your assistance at the February 20, 2013, Dane County Job Fair. You provided our job center customers with a pleasant welcome and helped us keep track of the number of job seekers. I hope that you will be available to assist in future events. Thank you.