Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

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On July 26, 2024, the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 34 years old. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. In addition to that protection, the ADA also guarantees that businesses that provide goods and services to the public […]
Video is being utilized as a powerful advocacy tool. Both professional and amateur filmmakers are using the power of video to change the world around them for the better. Videos are beneficial for advocacy campaigns because they are a simple and efficient way to convey the main points of an idea or project to many […]
The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities Arkansas advocates for policy and system changes that improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. One of our policy priorities is supporting inclusive education. We expect a safe, comprehensive, and inclusive education for every Arkansas student. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) […]
With the Thanksgiving Holiday upon us, we are all thinking about the things we are thankful for in our lives. As advocates in the disability community, we know that caregivers are at the top of that list for many. What is a caregiver? A caregiver is a person who gives care to another, generally in the […]
As NDEAM 2023 comes to an end there is a topic I’ve been stuck on for a while: Policy and Procedure. To some, P & P is not a topic they spend too much time thinking about. But I do. Policies and Procedures can make or break an organization. The execution of a high-level vision […]
Greetings from the Arkansas Council. We have had a busy few months. Thanks for visiting our Blog! July On July 26th we celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the ADA. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all […]
What Are You Proud Of?  By Kimberly Gatewood I’m Kim Harris Gatewood. I am a black woman with disabilities. I work for my state’s council on developmental disabilities. I would like to talk with you today about Disability Pride because July is Disability Pride Month. Let me take you back a few years, before I knew […]
HB 1046: “A Small Step” By Jon Taylor The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities draws from the values identified in the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act in evaluating and responding to current and future policy and funding issues that might affect the developmental disabilities community. The council supports legislation that advances the […]
A Fair Day’s Wage for a Fair Day’s Work by Jon Taylor Yesterday we shared an article about Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. If you happened to miss it, it’s on the GCDD Facebook page. Or click the following link to read it: The Subminimum Wage for Workers With […]
Disability Employment – An Unbalanced Equation by Jon Taylor National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is celebrated annually in October. This year’s NDEAM theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation”. “A strong workforce is the sum of many parts, and disability has always been a key part of the equation,” said Assistant Secretary for […]
A Flexible Way to Meet Today’s and Tomorrow’s Needs By Dennis Milligan Everyday life has become more expensive, placing an additional challenge on people with disabilities to meet today’s needs while planning for the future. Many of these families have been burdened with trying to keep their assets under $2,000 to avoid losing federal benefits. This […]
Show Your Pride By Kimberly Gatewood My name is Kimberly Gatewood and today, July 7th, 2022, is my first-time hearing about Disability Pride Month. I would like to learn more about how to get involved in disability pride events. If other groups have made a positive impact with pride events to support their communities, then the […]
Twenty-Seven Years Ago Today By Jon Taylor Twenty-Seven years ago today, Sue Jamieson, an attorney with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lois Curtis (and later added Elaine Wilson). Both Lois and Elaine possessed an intellectual disability and a mental health diagnosis, and at the time of the lawsuit, were trapped […]
How Organizations Can Help GCDD Reach Its Goals By Jon Taylor Every other year, the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities develops and distributes Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for its Competitive Grant Program. Any RFPs must be specifically designed to achieve the goals and objectives of the Council’s Five-Year State Plan. The Plan has three goals: The […]
DDAM 2022 By Jon Taylor March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. DDAM 2022’s theme is Worlds Imagined. My initial thoughts around Worlds Imagined were “What Ifs…” What if every person who had a disability: I could go on. You could too. But the longer I asked myself, “What If?”, I realized I was asking the […]
CareSource PASSE CareSource PASSE is a Provider-Led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE) Program and is a new option for Arkansans with complex behavioral health and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities starting January 1, 2022. CareSource PASSE’s office is in Little Rock and employs local, community-based care coordinators statewide. Five leading Arkansas health care organizations […]
What is a PASSE and what is supposed to do? By Jon Taylor In October and November, I travelled the state discussing Competitive, Integrated Employment. The best part of those the discussions was the Q & A. Most questions focused on employment, but I always had a few questions regarding services for people with disabilities. I […]
Find your seat at the table. Let your voice be heard. By Jon Taylor There are countless sayings about the consequences of inaction. Here’s a few: “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt “We constantly change the world, even by our inaction. Therefore, let us […]
An Inch Away: Opening the Glass Door to a Better WorkforceBy Jon Taylor (Adapted from an Op Ed that ran in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on 10/21/21) The CDC reports that 35% of Adult Arkansans – one out of three – live with disabilities, which is nearly 10% higher than the national average. This means that […]
Preaching to the Choir By Jon Taylor Over the last several weeks I’ve had the privilege to speak about Competitive, Integrated Employment to audiences across Arkansas (Zoom and in person!). Every group asked great questions, offered powerful insights, and shared some very personal experiences. In every group I spoke with there were employers who were already […]
PamBy Jon Taylor Two weeks ago I wrote about two summers with Ahmad and Alik. They came to me through a program sponsored by Arkansas Workforce Services (AWS). During that time, I was building a partnership with another state agency that also focused on Disability and Inclusion: Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. ARS’ mission is to prepare Arkansans […]
This week’s blog is from Yvonne Rowland, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) Stay at Work/Return to Work (SAW/RTW) program coordinator. The Access and Accommodations team at ARS is charged with the mission “to assist Arkansans with disabilities to live and work more independently through the expertise in, use of, and access to various services and assistive technology.” When an […]
NDEAM 2021 Thoughts from the Vice ChairpersonBy Lud Kozlowski A job or career is a pathway out of poverty and into success and prosperity. Individuals with disabilities have abilities and talents that never should be DISSED and should be seen for who they are and for their ability not the disability. As someone with a developmental […]
The Summer of Tombstone By Jon Taylor I was the middle of my mid-morning store tour when Raven, my Backroom Coordinator, ran up to me and said, “That new kid just threatened to fight me!”. “Seriously?” “Yes! He said, “I’ll fight you right now!”” The two of us returned to the backroom to find the new […]
Let’s Get to Work.  By Jon Taylor Today is the first day of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Held every October, NDEAM is a time to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the multiple contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Every year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) […]
The Misunderstood and Underdiagnosed Condition of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum DisordersBy Elizabeth Cleveland, PhD, CCC-SLP and David Deere, MSW, MTh The prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is roughly 1 in 20 individuals. Less than 1% of those individuals are identified and diagnosed, leading to a vast misunderstanding of behaviors and symptoms. As an umbrella […]
NDVRW & DSPRW 2021, Preparedness Month Continues This week was very busy! It was Direct Service Provider Recognition Week and National Disability Voter Registration Week, along with continuing to celebrate National Preparedness Month. Thank you, DSPs! During Direct Service Provider Recognition Week, we recognized the need to elevate the vital career of the direct service […]
Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.  By Jon Taylor I grew up in New England, bouncing between Massachusetts and Maine until I was 30. In the Northeast, emergency preparedness for most people focused on being ready for snowstorms, Nor’easters (BIG snowstorms), and Blizzards (REALLY BIG snowstorms). Some of the preparation was similar […]
Today’s Decisions Shape Tomorrow’s OpportunitiesBy Dennis Milligan Living with a disability is a life-altering challenge like no other. It’s made more complicated when you add in the financial ramifications, especially when determining eligibility for means-tested benefits such as Medicaid, SSDI, SNAP or TANF. Not being able to save more than $2,000 is a financial burden, […]
It’s not “Them” and “Us”. It’s just us.By Jon Taylor My involvement in the disability community began about 10 years ago at TJ Maxx in Conway, AR. I was an operations manager, and staffing was a major part of my job. So, when I was told we were going to have a large group of […]
Celebrating National ABLE to Save Month August marks the nationally celebrated ABLE to Save Month where those involved in ABLE Savings Plans programs across the country highlight the value and importance these plans bring to those living with disabilities. The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) became law on December […]
DD Awareness Month Arkansas 2021-Artist Spotlight March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Join the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities Arkansas (GCDDAR or the Council) in highlighting the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form stronger, more diverse communities. Together we can raise awareness about the importance of inclusion of […]
Thank you Caregivers! National Family Caregivers Month (Caregiver Appreciation Month) is a month-long tribute to recognize those individuals providing caregiving support to a family member or loved one. Each year, in November, we take time to recognize and give praise and support to the 78 million people who dedicate their time, often unpaid, caring for […]
Educate, Engage, Participate Dubbed the most important election year ever, 2020 is certainly the year to stay engaged, become educated and actively participate by using your voice through the voting process. For individuals with any form of disability, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires government entities of all levels provide equal opportunity […]
The Atlantic Hurricane Season & Arkansas Although Arkansas typically does not have a direct impact from a hurricane, it is common that inland communities are threatened as a storm moves away from the coast. Storms of hurricane intensity may bring high winds, flooding, and power outages to areas away from the coastline, including our state. […]
Transitioning to Normalcy Since March, our state has adjusted to a new norm of social distancing, remote work, telemedicine and mask wearing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Now, three months later, Arkansans are once again tasked with shifting into another new norm – opening Arkansas back up. During phase 1 of the state’s reopening, […]
GCDDAR Staff Leadership Transition Process Q&A Released The Arkansas Council and staff continue their work as the staff leadership transition process moves forward. Our organization has released a Transition Q&A document to help answer questions related to this process. Please follow this link to access a PDF of the Q&A:GCDDAR 2020 Staff Leadership Transition QA […]
The Arkansas Council and staff congratulate Eric on his new appointment. Please read below a press release issued yesterday by the Arkansas Department of Commerce. Eric Munson named Securities Department Commissioner Press release 2020-05-14 10:25By the Arkansas Securities Department / Arkansas Department of Commerce May 14, 2020 (LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston […]
Employment versus COVID-19 Employment seems like a far-reaching goal during this time of uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.  However, large corporations across the state have an immediate need to increase their workforce to meet the demand for products sold in their stores. According to USA Today, clothing retailers including JCPenny, […]
Thriving Together By Katherine Donoven We are all facing uncertainty right now. In the last few weeks, each day has brought new information and concerns that alter the way we expect life to unfold. Today, I am supposed to be in Cambridge, Massachusetts to present on team building. My trip, like so many other events […]
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month Arkansas 2020 Join the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD or Council) in raising awareness about the importance of inclusive communities and acceptance for people with disabilities. This year the Arkansas Council’s theme is ‘Get to know me’. People with disabilities are people, first and foremost, and want to be […]
Building Relationships and A Career Path through Supportive Mentors by Lud Kozlowski At first, being identified by others as autistic offended me, whether it was by a doctor or just someone I met in passing. I knew there were times growing up and as an adult when I obsessed over a matter, and those times […]
Will You Become a Mentor in 2020? Mentoring someone can forge the building blocks of your own success while helping others reach their greater potential. Sometimes being a mentor to someone is not as obvious as having a name tag that says “Mentor” or saying, “I’ll be your mentor.” Providing advice, training or sharing stories […]
Giving Thanks to the Family Caregiver November, as you may know, is National Family Caregivers Month. It is a month to show our appreciation and support for the caregivers in our lives; there are many. The National Alliance for Caregiving estimate that there are 44 million individuals in the U.S. who are caring for a […]
Who Takes Care of the Caregiver? Have you ever thought, “Who takes care of doctors when they get sick?” or “Who cuts the barber or hairstylist’s hair?” Have you asked, “Who takes care of the caregiver?” These individuals pour their energy and love into providing care for their loved one’s day in and day out, […]
On October 19th, 2019, Kim Gatewood, self-advocate and administrative assistant, was featured on social media by national APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First), sharing her competitive, integrated employment story. Please briefly describe your current job. I am the administrative assistant for the staff of my state’s council on developmental disabilities. I work 20 hours […]
On October 14th, 2019, Lud Kozlowski, self-advocate, business analyst, GCDD member and Vice-Chair, was interviewed and shared some of his experience in competitive, integrated employment. Please briefly describe your current job. I am a senior member enrollment benefits specialist at a large health insurance company. What barriers have you experienced in finding a job in […]
Providing opportunities for individuals based on their abilities, not on their disabilities, can not only enrich a business’s culture but also the community the business serves. National Disability Employment Awareness Month, celebrated each October, advocates for employers of all sizes to actively participate in inclusive employment of individuals with any type of disability. You may have questions. […]
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and Arkansas had a great first week celebrating inclusive employment. On October 1st, Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) Arkansas members and staff joined Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) at the State Capitol for the Arkansas NDEAM kickoff event, along with Lt. Governor Tim Griffin, DisabilityIN, the Arkansas […]
In this post, we wrap-up our discussions on employment during National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019. October has been a busy time across Arkansas with many people celebrating NDEAM, beginning with Governor Hutchinson’s Arkansas NDEAM 2019 Proclamation and kick-off event at the State Capitol, throughout the month many businesses welcomed people with disabilities into their […]
Emergency Preparedness Are you prepared?  Disasters are a year-round threat that can impact a family, community or entire region of Arkansas in a matter of minutes without warning. Thousands of Arkansans are annually displaced from their homes due to natural disasters like tornadoes, flooding, ice, fire and other forms of severe weather. But, the million-dollar […]
The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities strives to provide Arkansans with updates on what is going on in our communities including upcoming events, hot topics, spotlights on self-advocates, and information on new programs & resources. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog and new content!