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HDC Spotlight: Carmel Polk, MS, CESP

As a Transition Specialist, Carmel Polk helps PAY Check participants transition to life after high school by teaching them community and work-related skills that are crucial for independent life. PAY Check’s mission to nurture young people’s abilities for full community participation is what attracted Carmel to the position.

It is important that we ensure students have the tools and skills to live independently in society. We want young people to be the best version of themselves in every capacity.

– Carmel Polk, MS, CESP
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NDEAM Poster Now Available

In their latest weekly newsletter, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) released the official poster for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2021. NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. This year’s theme is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” and is available for download in English and Spanish. The poster conveys the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs (GODA) Annual Conference

Governor's Office of Disability Affairs 2021 Conference Flyer

The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs (GODA) will host its annual conference virtually via Zoom during the week of July 26 – 29, 2021.  This year’s conference will span four (4) days, and will feature breakout sessions pertaining to accessibility, education, employment, healthcare, voting, emergency preparedness, self-determination, leadership, advocacy, interactions with law enforcement, and more. Several representatives from HDC will be presenting at the conference including Stuart Simon and Sue Killam. Click Here for the conference schedule and links to the presenters’ bios and websites. The GODA Conference is presented free of charge and is open to the public.

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Competitive, Integrated Employment Funding and Flexibilities Fact Sheet

A new fact sheet, “Recent Funding Opportunities to Expand Access to Competitive, Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities,” from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) highlights new funding and flexibilities for increasing access to Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) for youth and adults with disabilities. These new funding opportunities and flexibilities are provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) and Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (FCAA), as well as through the work of multiple federal agencies.

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Louisiana LEND in the news: 2020 LEND graduate Sara Lass leads initiative to support infant development

Sara Lass uses toy monkey to play with baby in Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

The capstone project for 2020 LEND graduate, Sara Lass, BSN, RN, is featured in Children Hospital New Orleans’ Nursing Annual Report. Lass addresses developmental delays in patients at Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) through her project “Supporting Infant Development in the CICU After Congenital Heart Repair: A Nursing-Led Initiative.”

“Development is delayed in most patients due to their hospitalization,” said Lass, who recognized a limited use of supportive modalities and equipment for care in these infants. “All high risk patients are referred to the early developmental intervention program Early Steps upon discharge. However, it was noted that valuable opportunities necessary to address development in the ICU and cardiac step-down setting were not being utilized.”

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LADBP Celebrates DeafBlind Awareness Week

The Louisiana DeafBlind Project for Children and Youth (LADBP) is featured in Helen Keller National Center’s 2021 DeafBlind Awareness video campaign.

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LADDC-Sponsored First Responder Disability Awareness Training in Louisiana by Niagara University

man people woman business

The Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Planning Council is sponsoring a virtual Emergency Management Disability Awareness Training for Louisiana on four dates:

  • Tuesday, August 10
  • Tuesday, August 31
  • Tuesday, September 21
  • Thursday, September 23

There are separate topics for morning and afternoon sessions. You are encouraged to attend both sessions and must register for each session. The training is offered by the Niagara University First Responder Disability Awareness Training Program Coordinator David Dodge and there is no cost. Registration links and more information are in the attached flyer.

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St. Bernard Parish Evacuation Plan Exercise Needs People with Disabilities

first aid and surival kits

St. Bernard Parish is exercising their ability to evacuate the parish in case of disaster.  It is important to the St. Bernard Office of Emergency Preparedness Director, John Rahaim, that they know that they can respond to everyone including people with disabilities.  Director Rahaim is asking that people with disabilities help by showing up for the disaster plan exercise on June 30, 2021 at 8 AM.  The exercise will take place at the Grand Ballroom, 3220 Jean Lafitte Parkway, Chalmette, LA.

Director Rahim also welcomes people who can speak other languages, including American Sign Language.   EMDAC thanks St. Bernard for their desire to serve the entire community, and we hope that people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs can attend and help St. Bernard to BE PREPARED for disasters!

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Help make our Web site more accessible!

Girl using computer and signing

The Human Development Center has so much to offer, but is our website easy to navigate? Let us know by taking our Web Satisfaction Survey.

Just follow the steps below:

  1. Visit our Web site: www.hdc.lsuhsc.edu
  2. Tell us what you think: Take the Survey

Thank you so much for participating!!!

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Feeling Through at the Oscars

Feeling Through, nominated for the 2021 Academy Awards, is the first film to cast a DeafBlind actor in the lead role. The film has now connected thousands of people to the missions of DeafBlind communities around the world. Watch their journey to the Oscars here:

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