Developments Fall 2011
Disability Facts and Figures
Based on 2009 American Community Survey (ACS)
United States disability population is 26,150,710 - 12%
West Virginia has the highest prevalence rate at 18.8% of individuals with disabilities living in the community (336,497)
West Virginia has the highest prevalence rate of working age (18-64 years old) individuals with diabilities at 17.2% - 194,943
From 2007-2008, the percentage of the total population with a disability grew more in West Virginia than any other state, growing 4.1%
In 2007, West Virginia had the largest percentage of Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities at 26.4% while the national rate was 14.8%
- West Virginians with disabilities aged 18-64 disability break down:
- 57.2% - mobility disability
- 39.7% - cognitive disability
- 23% - hearing disability
- 17.7% - vision disability
- 17.4% - difficulty with self-care
Farmer Reaps Benefits of Workplace Accomodation
Another farmer is carrying on his farm operation with a little assistance from West Virginia AgrAbility and the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).
Due to different health problems, this farmer did not know if he would be able to continue providing fruits and nuts to his local customers. Mandatory chores to keep his operation running, like carrying and spreading mulch and pest spray as well as working in areas too small to fit machinery, made continuing to farm nearly impossible. After many conversations and visits with the farmer, it was agreed that if there was an easier way to get the chores done, the farmer would be able to continue running the farm himself. The farmer was determined to find a way. The farmer felt that if physical work did not cause him to have extremely labored breathing, then he could much more easily run his farm.
AgrAbility staff suggested several different assistive technology devices that could help the farmer do his chores with less impact on his respiratory system. One of the main recommendations was the Bobcat Toolcat. This utility work vehicle provided the agricultural worksite accommodations that met most of the needs of this farmer's agriculture operation.
The Toolcat combines the easy mobility that comes with a utility vehicle with the added durability, weight, low center of gravity and safety features only found on a utility work vehicle. In addition, more than 40 different attachments can be used with the Toolcat for farm work.
This farm accommodation may sound extreme for just getting around and doing chores more easily. However, relying on hired help and the threat of losing his job were not options. The Toolcat provides much more to this farming operation than just meeting the need to get around more easily. The Toolcat has the lifting capabilities, in this case for mulch, manure, and pesticides, that someone with respiratory problems cannot do.
Due to the Toolcat's cost, staff worked with the farmer to find funding. AgrAbility turned to DRS. DRS provides funding for workplace accommodations. In this case, a Toolcat is considered a workplace accommodation because without it, the farmer would not be able to continue to be employed. The farmer, DRS and West Virginia AgrAbility agreed that using a Toolcat would enable the farmer to keep his farm going, and keep him employed. Since the farm is his main source of income, DRS agreed to pay for the Toolcat. With this workplace accommodation, this farmer is able to continue his operation in less pain, and hopefully for many more years to come.
For more information, call 800-841-8436 or visit www.agrability.cedwvu.org.
Chafee Program Participates in White House Panel
Austin Adkins and Shane Cummings from the Daymark Youth Council of Charleston, along with the WV Chafee Program Youth Representative, Jessica Gibson, participated in the White House Panel on Youth Civic Engagement.
The purpose of the panel was to bring together youth who had participated in the 100 roundtable events and provide them with feedback.
As the President had anticipated, the ideas from the youth have provided fresh perspectives for the policy makers and legislative assistants who work for positive change for Young Americans.
The panel discussion was conducted live in the auditorium of the Executive Office Building in Washington, DC and on Facebook.
- Jon Carson, Director of Public Engagement
- Zakiya Smith, Senior Policy Advisor for Education
- Kalpen Modi, Associate Director, Public Engagement & Liaison to Young Americans
- Cedric Richmond, House of Representatives Member from the State of Louisiana (New Orleans District)
- Aaron Smith, Executive Director for Young Invincibles (Health Care)
- Tobias Wolff, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania (LGBT/DADT)
The Chafee Program and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Children and Families have been listening to youth at the state level and have invited them to work on implementation of several of their initiatives:
- Provide training to all youth in self-advocacy skills
- High school credit parity from district to district
- Assistive technology devices for students
- Funding for career programs for youth with GED
- Expansion of youth transitioning services/supports
The Chafee Program and the DHHR Bureau for Children and Families are so grateful for youth like Kyra Workman, Steve Marcum, Austin Adkins and Shane Cummings. They have taken time out of their work and school schedules to assist in making the policy and process changes that they feel will result in positive outcomes for youth in foster care today and in the future.
The West Virginia Chafee Foster Care Independence Program works to assure that youth make the transition from foster care to independence successfully. The program provides support and services to youth to complement their efforts toward self-sufficiency.
25 Years in Specialized Family Care
Diana Shay, Family Based Care Specialist
Lin and Mason Preston have been Specialized Family Care providers since 1986. In addition to their 25 years of specialized family care and respite care services, they have professional backgrounds in nursing (Lin) and law (Mason). Their hearts and affinity lean toward individuals with multiple medical and intellectual disabilities. They also give voice to individuals with chronic maladaptive behavioral issues including autism. Although the Specialized Family Care Program can only recognize one primary provider, both Lin and Mason are a team in providing the individual with the care they need within the home. With backgrounds in nursing and law, they have been assets to the legal system and the medical community by assisting professionals who have limited information about developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Linda and Mason have assisted families and professionals in the multidisciplinary process, child advocacy, guardianship proceedings, child abuse and neglect investigations and many other personal and professional causes.
In addition, this family is part of the vibrant arts community in Lewisburg, WV. This interest has enveloped the individuals who live with them. They attend the Chocolate Festival in the spring and Taste of Our Town (TOOT) in the fall. One may find the individual at a wine and cheese tasting, silent auctions, theatre productions or a fine dining establishment. Not only is this enriching to the individual who experiences these activities, the community at large is also exposed to individuals who have different abilities.
An Artist Story
by Debbie Cain
Charles (Chuck) Andrews heard about the Fine Arts Program through the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living when the program was in its infancy. He got involved right away and has remained an active participant. Chuck says the program has "changed my life" and been "a tremendous help". He has been able to stay involved in his community and get involved statewide by attending shows and exhibits. He has made friends of other artists in the program who share his interest in and passion for art and can relate to the challenges and joys of success of an artist who has a disability.
Chuck uses water colors, pastels, oils, and pencil to create landscape and wildlife drawings and paintings. Many of the ideas for his work come from observations and experiences from his days as a Scout Master for Troop 36 in Watson, WV. His love of nature and the outdoors is evident in his work.
Chuck worked as a custodian in the student center at Fairmont State University until Scharcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (a neurological disorder) made it impossible for him to continue in this capacity.
Chuck says, "I got tired of looking at the four walls, picked up a brush, and started painting again. It became my life second to my marriage. It helps with my depression and gives me something to do with my hands and with my mind. I love what I am doing. It's very rewarding. I have taught my three grandchildren."
Chuck teaches an art class at the CED Morgantown Office on Wednesdays from noon to 1:00 p.m. The cost is $10 per session. "Anyone who is interested is welcome. If you can write, you can draw. Hope to see you there."
Chuck says he most enjoys helping other people who have a disability. He encourages and challenges others in the disability community to get involved at the CED and in their communities. He says, "Volunteers are always needed. Getting involved helps people put their disabilities into perspective. It gives them something to dream about and hope for the future."