Overview of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Though it had its official beginning in 1967, the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Fairfield DD) program had its roots in the active parents movement in the 1950s. Fairfield DD currently provides a full range of educational, vocational, social and residential services to meet the specialized needs of individuals with disabilities.
The agency’s mission is to bring about a vibrant community where people lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions. An organizational structure that promotes the vision of person-centered, individualized services is in place to support this mission.
Self determination, the philosophy that individuals have the right to choose their services and their service providers, is the guiding force behind every decision and service implemented.
Using person-centered planning, Fairfield DD makes services that an individual chooses accessible by contracting with other community partners to provide a wide variety of options from which the individual can choose.
Residents of Fairfield County provide the financial backing for many services through two local property tax levies. The levies supply approximately 67% of the agency’s operating funds, annually assisting more than 900 adults and children with disabilities.
The Educational Services Department helps meet the developmental needs of youngsters under the age of three years and the educational needs of children with disabilities from ages six to age 22. The goal of the department is to deliver quality programming that enables children to develop the skills they need to be fully participating members of their communities.
Children in Early Intervention are referred to the agency through Help Me Grow. Help Me Grow is a state-mandated service of information, referral and service coordination run locally by the Fairfield County Family, Adult and Children First Council.
Public school districts in Fairfield County place children into Forest Rose School, operated by Fairfield DD. Each child’s instruction is individualized to help him or her develop to full potential, and can include a variety of supports delivered in the home, local public schools, or a school operated by the agency. Support services include speech/language pathology, nursing, and occupational or physical therapy.
The Adult Services Options Department serves adults with disabilities. Services range from vocational training to production to personal-social activities to community jobs and volunteer activities. A network of contract agencies widens the variety of services available to adults with developmental disabilities.
Fairfield DD provides individual support coordination to any eligible individual who requests the service or who is receiving services funded through a Medicaid Waiver. Individual Service Coordinators, operating out of offices in Lancaster and Pickerington, carry out this service. For individuals who need the service but refuse it, a process is in place to determine risk of harm and to what extent Fairfield DD should go to encourage the individual’s participation.
Service monitoring is done by Individual Support Coordinators who use a tool to help them determine if services and supports as outlined in the individual’s plan are being delivered in the manner and frequency specified by the plan. If services and supports are not being offered, this is addressed with the providers. If there is a pattern of failure to provide specified services and supports, this information is turned over to Fairfield DD's Quality Department for follow-up and possible sanctions.
Crisis intervention, when necessary, is carried out by Individual Support Coordinators, along with other agency staff. On call, 24-hour services are available, and agency staff rotate on a set schedule to cover this. Each staff on duty has immediate access to a supervisor and to special resources such as respite and mobile crisis services.
The Intake Department of the agency provides eligibility determination, information and referral services to anyone requesting them. If an initial request for eligibility leads to a determination that the individual is not eligible for services provided by the agency, information on possible service options is provided. Fairfield DD maintains a resource guide of many services available in the larger community, which is made available to anyone requesting information and referral.
Fairfield DD's Quality Department receives and coordinates the investigation of incidents of abuse, neglect, misappropriation, exploitation and any other major incidents reported. Staff of the Quality Department work with other staff to ensure immediate health and safety of individuals involved, conduct investigations, and drive prevention plans to prevent or reduce risk of harm to the affected individuals. The Qulaity Department is also responsible for individual satisfaction surveys, general monitoring and compliance reviews of services provided by Fairfield DD and its provider partners, continuous process improvement reviews, and Fairfield DD's strategic planning process.
People First Language
People First vocabulary means using language that reflects the real person, not just their disability.
Put the person first in word and thought:
Emphasize the person rather than the disability. For example, say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.”
Remember that most people with a disability want to be thought of as an ordinary person.
Be accurate and non judgmental:
If you’re unsure about how to describe a disability, ask someone who knows.
Say “uses a wheelchair” instead of “confined to a wheelchair.”
Don't create superhumans:
While people with disabilities have had to overcome obstacles dealing with their disability, they generally have the same range of talents and dispositions as everyone else. Portraying people with disabilities as "superhumans" creates unfair expectations.
Avoid trendy phrases:
Most people with disabilities dislike euphemisms because they suggest a refusal to accept one's disability. A phrase such as "physically challenged," "differently abled" or "special needs" is sometimes considered condescending.