Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR, The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city government, and local businesses from a
cross the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders' insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.
#ONEROUGE Week #97
‘Education & Workforce Development | Humans with Disabilities - Part II'
Meeting Notes Prepared by Samantha Morgan (Walls Project)
Heather Bourgeois (Principal, Louisiana Key Academy)
Our school is to service children with dyslexia. It’s 1 in 5 individuals, about 25%. Dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading. It’s due to a deficit of phonological processing. When you say the word cat can you break it into three individual sounds. The work of reading is hard for kids with dyslexia. We call it a paradox. You have an above average IQ. You’re creative, you have a great vocabulary, you’re a problem solver, but yet these basic foundational pieces you struggle with. Children start having problems with school when the first start with school. Immediately they are starting school with failure. It’s really damaging to the self-esteem of children and the family. What we call for is to identify dyslexia early. We should be identifying it at the end of kindergarten. We know what dyslexia is, we know how to screen for it, we know how to test for it. That’s what our school is for. Using their strengths and not holding them back at low level foundational pieces.
They just published a paper and they went into the prisons and they tested for dyslexia and found that 97% of people were in special education situations. And 87% dropped out of school. When did they first experience failure? It was 1st grade. We know how to teach a dyslexic child to read. It’s hard work, but by identifying it and teaching it, we can fulfill that self-esteem.
Mandy Noerper (Director of Support Services, My Possibilities - Dallas, TX)
Anything that isn’t programing comes through me. I have the widest lens of what we do here. My possibilities is a continuing education center focusing on adults with intellectual disabilities. We’re the opposite of the Key Academy. We catch them as they are transitioning out of the school system and we can lead them into adulthood. When they graduate, it’s just a light switch goes off for support. We were founded by three moms who said that’s not good enough. At the time the adult daycare was the model. We came in with true educational skills and we wanted to teach them something while they were here.
There was no curriculum at the time, so we created them. We are totally HIPSTER. We still have a very robust educational program but we also recognize that in Texas, our system, you come to one centralized person and they send you to 8 different places with 8 different services. That’s difficult for our families to manage and there’s a disconnection of services. There are gaps. We started to fill that gap. We put everything in one house. If there’s therapy out there, we offer it in house. We offer independent living coaching that is specific to their skills. One of our biggest areas is career services.
Jim Hanophy (President and CEO, Ability Connection - Dallas, TX)
We are a 68 year old organization. We used to be United Cerebral Palsy of Dallas. We changed the name in 2011. We serve about 800 people in the community. Our two largest programs are waiver programs. In Texas, in the developmental disability arena, you have a split between case management and the service provision side. So in one of our waiver programs where we serve about 300 people, we are the service providers.
In another one of our waiver programs where we serve about 500 people, we are the case managers.
We tend to serve folks with the more significant disabilities. We operate training centers here. We serve the entire gambit.
We operate 7 group homes. They are in the community in the neighborhood. Typically our homes are the nicest homes in the community. We also have youth programs for teens with disabilities. The whole point is to prevent skill regression.
There’s all these issues with spending resources.
Looking for a simple way to increase access to your print materials for humans with Dyslexia? Dyslexie font is a typeface – specially designed for people with dyslexia – which enhances the ease of reading and comprehension. https://www.dyslexiefont.com/
Heather Bourgeois - There’s a lot of Dyslexia is not a visual problem. It’s actually a neurological issue. It takes three parts of the brain working together efficiently to process the information. That work of reading is hard or difficult. There’s no font that’s going to make it easier. An early sign might be a speech delay. That’s where the disruption is. Until you have kids work on that skill, you’re not going to be able to work on that issue.
Can these programs be used in carceral facilities?
Jim Hanophy - From an eligibility standpoint there are issues to getting waiver slots. Practically what’s done, the mild to moderate disabilities are the most likely to be incarcerated. That population would benefit most from these services.
Mandy - We are working on perfecting our model on making it available to other groups so that they could scale, model, replicate. The true holistic approach. I honestly think we’re talking about marginalized populations, but even if you think about your coworker who irritates you, if you start looking at that person as an individual with challenges and needs, it would improve the situation.
Jim Hanophy - part of individualization is about addressing the individual needs.
Mandy Noerper - There are so many options outside special ed.
Rev Anderson - I am crying. This is such an amazing conversation. We hear over and over and over again these same stories and yet we cannot get the attention of legislators, judges, education policy makers, to tell them we need ways of testing people and making sure they are not always isolated. As a society we’ve chosen not to address these issues. You have no idea how many caretakers tell us these stories. One of the things I had a question about is how do we reset getting this information into everybody's hands as early as possible. We see it in the criminal system and then the options are so much more limited and the risks are so much higher.
Jim Hanophy - Some years ago on the other side in the mental health arena, the touchpoint between the first contact with an officer and the public is so important. We talked about mental health officers. I almost think if we should be coming up with a pilot to train officers how to interact properly. I think of how successful we were with mental health officers and we could do the same with intellectual disability officers.
Heather Bourgeois - About identification - a stigma identification. The kid already knows. They know they aren’t getting the words but they don’t know why. When I talk to parents and they say they don’t want to label or identify my kid. I’ve never had a kid cry about being dyslexic. They are always happy to know. When you tell an adult they're dyslexic, that’s when they cry. Because the pain of the missed opportunity is hard. To know is to be empowered and to have what you need. That kid wants to know.
Mandy Noerper - As someone who got a diagnosis of autism as an adult, I know how important it is. I now have a director level job because I know how to approach the world around me. We have to be so intentional about combatting the stigmas. Every single day, when we meet somebody, we need to use person first language and support how they are experiencing the world. Even if you don't have verbal skills, that’s fine, come be part of the conversation. We have the goals that the state sets for them, but if they have different interests, we have classes that support those things as well. What is it you want that will make you happy in addition to the skills you need? When it comes to moving into employment, people will say that they want to do something that’s not really fit for them. We will explore that, and help guide them through that so they can come to the conclusion on their own.
Jim Hanophy - one of the best tools to help someone have a voice and they’re called personal outcome measures. They discovered that was getting them nowhere. They interviewed people about what it means to have a good quality of life. They came up with 22 different dimensions. It’s also a driver of services and learning. Historically in the human services system we told people how many friends they needed to have. Now we take a look at the person to see if it’s appropriate for them. It’s a fantastic tool because it’s turned the system on its head. Council on Quality Leadership. When the survey team came out, they talked to individuals about individualized choices. Two of the outcomes lead to a high quality of life.
Pay equity - women make less than men and neurodivergent people make less than women. Can people speak to what pay equity could look like for people with disabilities.
Jim Hanophy - There’s a contradiction with pay equity for people with disabilities. There’s pay incentives for people who get disability insurance. It allows people to make a decent wage and still get their SSI. It’s very complicated and there’s so many myths out there and you’ll find people in these services might hold people back because they don’t want people to lose their benefits. It really is a generous system. We try to do good by people by holding them back because people don’t understand the work incentives. I have seen a shift with the mass resignation, companies are willing to pay market. We’ve noticed a turn for people making a good wage.
What is the language we should be using? Once we get past how people see themselves, what should we be advocating for?
Heather Bourgeois - We ask people to use the word dyslexia, right now is SLD (specific learning disability), which is not specific at all. Rather, we want people to use the word dyslexia. We advocate for people to use the knowledge. We encourage adults to talk about it to encourage people.
Mandy Noerper - There are a couple factors to consider - first is how the person wants to be referenced. Typically the deaf community, that is a deaf person. But if I’m speaking to a person, I want to know how they want to be referenced. I have friends who want to be called African American and I have friends who want to be called Black. Not everyone with a disability is neurodivergent. I think there are times when a person with disabilities is going to be the right framework. If I’m serving somebody who has some sort of neurodivergence, if I'm serving the person I’m serving all people with disabilities. If I’m helping one person I’m helping all people. I think neurodivergent is a fantastic term.
Jim Hanophy - The way the human services system is designed, it’s designed around a specific language. We have to play that game. We have to prove someone has a disability to qualify. Once that’s gone, you’re just the person. A lot of people don’t care about the language so much as they care about what that means.
How do we recenter people in a structure in which they don’t fit?
Jim Hanophy - I used to crack up when people say Joe’s confined to a wheelchair, but no, Joe uses a wheelchair.
Many Patole - How do you have those conversations with the caretakers of children or adults. If you’re lucky you have two people in the household. What do you do if one wants to approach it one way and the other wants a different way? How do you have those conversations?
Mandy Noerper - You want to respect the needs of the parent.
Jim Hanophy - one of the best resources for a family struggling with this is another family struggling with this. And the other is making it okay to ask for help. Some parents are just exhausted.
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 08:30 AM
Good morning, everyone!!!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:31 AM
Go Pepper! <3
From Kim Mosby to Everyone 08:32 AM
Happy Friday all! Hope you had a good week.
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 08:35 AM
Louisiana Key Academy https://www.lakeyacademy.com/
From Casey Phillips to Everyone 08:36 AM
I have a family funeral this morning but will be back with you all next Friday to discuss challenges ESL citizens experience in the Capital Region. Thank you Pepper, Samantha, Helena and all our speakers today.
From Kim Mosby to Everyone 08:37 AM
Sending love & light to you and your family Casey.
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 08:37 AM
Peace and comfort to you and your family, Casey!
From Taryn Branson to Everyone 08:39 AM
As a former teacher, I didn't know the prevalence of dyslexia was this high. I taught English and Reading, so it makes sense why so many of my kids struggled with learning to read.
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:39 AM
Literally the School to Prison pipeline.
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 08:40 AM
^^^^^ so much that, @Morgan
From Ava Smith to Everyone 08:40 AM
yes, school to prison pipeline
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 08:40 AM
They become great writers - we so appreciate you- You guys are incredible!! Zariah Cherry is now writing a series of books after attending your Summer Camp! Lulu the Lollipop. They will return again this Summer! It was Magical she’s 4th grade now!
From Kim Mosby to Everyone 08:41 AM
Heather - can you share the article/report?
From Ebony Starks | Wilson Foundation to Everyone 08:41 AM
From Heather Bourgeois - Louisiana Key Academy to Everyone 08:41 AM
Yes - I will drop it in the chat!
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 08:41 AM
My Possibilities https://mypossibilities.org/
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:42 AM
Looking for a simple way to increase access to your print materials for humans with Dyslexia? Dyslexie font is a typeface – specially designed for people with dyslexia – which enhances the ease of reading and comprehension.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:42 AM
Failure to incorporate this base level assessment process at the beginning of the educational journey is magnified when added to racialized and marginalized resources to systems of low wealth and people of color.
From Heather Bourgeois - Louisiana Key Academy to Everyone 08:42 AM
www.dyslexia1n5.com - The Dyslexia Resource Center
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 08:43 AM
Love you guys Casey - our prayers are with you!
From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone 08:47 AM
Centralization is supposed to increase coordination, communication and ultimately effectiveness but so often, especially for "vulnerable" populations, it does the opposite. I think careful decentralization will be key to systemic change
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:47 AM
Can these programs be used in carceral facilities because we are using the prison system to warehouse many people with intellectual disabilities.
From Heather Bourgeois - Louisiana Key Academy to Everyone 08:47 AM
Congratulations on the new site!
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 08:48 AM
Ability Connection https://abilityconnection.org/
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:48 AM
Love that you stood for the fur babies ❣️
From SK Groll to Everyone 08:49 AM
Thank you so much for sharing! For both the speakers so far: how do you incorporate learner voice into organizational decision making? Particularly thinking about equity and institutional power, and how much power has been and continues to be leveraged against disabled people, particularly in the name of doing good
Really appreciating the conversation today and everything folks are bringing to the table!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:49 AM
FYI: Workers with a disability make an average of 66 cents for every dollar. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/research-report-107-the-disability-pay-gap.pdf
From Mandy Noerper to Everyone 08:50 AM
Sherreta, I totally agree that a deliberate approach, driven by the actual needs of our populations (and not legislature) is the key!
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 08:50 AM
Ability Connection improv class https://www.wfaa.com/video/entertainment/television/programs/good-morning-texas/ability-connection-introduces-new-improv-education-class/287-d8047bb8-e32b-4ff4-bf5a-769e0609a78f
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:50 AM
I love that One Rouge expands the knowledge base so we can change the outcomes.
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 08:52 AM
So sad that we do that - keeping you below the bar
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 08:53 AM
Pepper, you are amazing at this!
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:53 AM
As the legislative session is in full throttle these types of issues are only discussed in terms of cutting funding and advocates fighting just to tread water. Can the speakers speak to this challenge.
From Ava Smith to Everyone 08:54 AM
Also, need occupational hands on skills in the schools, mechanics, plumbing, carpentry etc
From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone 08:56 AM
There might be OER -open educational resources that can support learning in this arena
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:56 AM
Can Heather speak to whether all education students and current teachers trained in recognizing and referral and new research?
From Me to Everyone 08:56 AM
what are the overlaps of ADHD and Dyslexia?
From Ava Smith to Everyone 08:57 AM
My daughter experienced dyslexia at a young age, can you grow out of It?
From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone 08:58 AM
Since it is more of a complex identification process, can you speak to the stigma and hesitancy to screen for or label someone as having dyslexia?
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:58 AM
Yes they are. That is a huge problem.
From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone 08:59 AM
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:59 AM
Can't tell you how often I am told that is how they got into trouble.
From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone 09:00 AM
I have a similar question as Sherreta^^ I didn't realize dyslexia had such a broad spectrum.
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:01 AM
How are we developing and promoting humans with disabilities within our own organizations to ensure that that advocacy is led by and with the persons that are being advocating for?
From Girard Melancon to Everyone 09:02 AM
Jim Hanophy can you talk about how your programs have been impacted with kids with PANS?
From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone 09:04 AM
Yes!!! Because children with learning challenges end up as adults (i.e. workers) with challenges
Which is why we cannot continue to leave adult education/ high school equivalency educators out of these conversations
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 09:09 AM
We have that in the works here in Baton Rouge
With chief Murphy Paul. He believes in PIE in the SKY !
They are relieved!!!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:10 AM
Yep. Imagine going through your entire k-12 career not having the language to describe your difference.
So many women with invisible disabilities (add/adhd, autism, etc) are not diagnosed until adulthood.
From SK Groll to Everyone 09:10 AM
Can any of the orgs talk about if and how they employ adults with disabilities?
From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone 09:10 AM
I had the experience of a disabilities counselor telling my son he wasn't fit for college and should just get a job. He now has 2 degrees. So labels matter
From Manny Patole (he|his, CCBR) to Everyone 09:11 AM
Is intellectual disabled (what we are using here) the same as neurodivergent?
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:12 AM
Yes Manny. That is an umbrella term within the community.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:12 AM
How does the standardized testing culture impact serving the intellectual disabilities in public schools since funding and ranking are tied to testing.
From September Martin to Everyone 09:13 AM
Amazing to hear as the mother of a 4 yo autistic son! Eye opening. Stigma is real, we need to educate more.
From Manny Patole (he|his, CCBR) to Everyone 09:13 AM
Thanks, Morgan! Is there one term preferred over another?
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:15 AM
I see a lot of movement in the community towards neurodivergent as a positive term for all of us that have mental illness or learning disability diagnoses.
From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone 09:16 AM
Hey Jim - do you have a link to the tool and research on this?
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 09:17 AM
Council on Quality and Leadership https://www.c-q-l.org/tools/personal-outcome-measures/
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:18 AM
Our super amazing library system has a Career Center that has been working very effectively in meeting specialty workforce needs, whether incarceration impacted or physical and mental challenges or veterans challenges. I would love to see them included in the future calls on this topic.
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:20 AM
@Manny as with most marginalized communities the language is deeply personal and ever evolving. Within the autism community there is now a movement to get away from person first language ie “person with autism” vs autistic person as
…being autistic is not seen as separate from ones identity. No more than being Black or Latine’ or Deaf is
From Elizabeth Shephard to Everyone 09:21 AM
I wonder about the overlap of white supremacy and working with individuals with disabilities. There seems like a “ability supremacy” also exists.
From SK Groll to Everyone 09:21 AM
Thank you Morgan!!
From Mandy Noerper to Everyone 09:21 AM
You are correct, Morgan! I find that asking the individual I'm addressing or referencing is always the best bet!
(And I also prefer to be referenced as autistic!)
From Elizabeth Shephard to Everyone 09:21 AM
Great question Pepper!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:23 AM
@Elizabeth absolutely. Within disability communities, those who are able to communicate/interact with the neurotypical structures in a way that’s best conducive to capitalism are those that are typically uplifted or listened to.
And that’s not okay.
From Manny Patole (he|his, CCBR) to Everyone 09:24 AM
All great points raised today. SLD is good to know as well. I also wanted to know how to discuss with caretakers of children with SLD or other neurodivergencies these diagnosis so the kids can get the help they need? Is there any strategies around this?
From Elizabeth Shephard to Everyone 09:24 AM
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:28 AM
IMO Refusal to be labeled is just internalized ableism.
There is nothing inherently wrong with physical or mental difference. What is wrong is the structures that stratify our value based on those labels.
From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone 09:28 AM
What is the role of self advocates in your work?
From David Beach l Wilson Foundation to Everyone 09:29 AM
Great conversation today. Wishing everyone a great weekend. Geaux Tigers!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:30 AM
Jim thank you!!
From Elizabeth Shephard to Everyone 09:30 AM
From Kim Mosby to Everyone 09:30 AM
Great convo today! Have a great weekend.
From Kelli Rogers to Everyone 09:33 AM
Thanks so much everyone!
From Ava Smith to Everyone 09:34 AM
There is discrimination in disabilities in black and white population
From SK Groll to Everyone 09:35 AM
Thank you to all the speakers and contributors today! And thank you Pepper for your thoughtful and impactful facilitation!
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:36 AM
The respite system is so critical. In low wealth communities there are very few resources for those families.
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 09:36 AM
Got drop off
From Tayllor Smith to Everyone 09:39 AM
Thank you guys. I loved this conversation. As a part time caretaker of someone with a disability, this was an important and meaningful conversation for me.
From Omar Minhas to Everyone 09:39 AM
As a Texan...😭😂
From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone 09:39 AM
Love that Pat!!
From Heather Bourgeois - Louisiana Key Academy to Everyone 09:40 AM
Families <3 so powerful!
From Ava Smith to Everyone 09:40 AM
glad to be in the know!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:41 AM
Amen. The destruction of ableist structures starts at home and with our own internal dialogue about ourselves and the humans around us.
From Heather Bourgeois - Louisiana Key Academy to Everyone 09:41 AM
Thank you all for this amazing morning! Jim and Mandy - THANK YOU for your voice and work.
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 09:41 AM
From Manny Patole (he|his, CCBR) to Everyone 09:41 AM
From Pat LeDuff to Everyone 09:41 AM
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:41 AM
From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone 09:41 AM
Great convo! Thanks guys!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:41 AM
Happy Friday everyone!!
From Omar Minhas to Everyone 09:42 AM
Thank you everyone. Happy Friday!
From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone 09:43 AM
From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone 09:43 AM
Yes! I have some new books to donate!!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:43 AM
Heather - This happens all the time.
Live Healthy/Healthy BR Updates Good Afternoon Live Healthy Coalition, I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to update you on where our works groups are and to let you all know that I will send out communications soon for our quarterly coalition meeting. Our Outreach Group has been meeting and working to develop a monthly toolkit. Please find March's toolkit here for Nutrition Month. In April, we will focus on Minority Health Month. Please share on social and tag us! Our Physical Fitness Group will launch Family Fitness Rocks in May with BREC. More details to come soon! Our Community wellness group is working with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System to formalize a teacher's wellness plan. The School system will present its findings from the survey on Monday, and we will formalize a plan of how our organization can support this. Our website and our CHNA launch on March 30th; we will have a press conference announcing it. More details to come soon. We are looking to do partner highlights and promote your organization! Once a month, we would like to highlight a coalition member/organization on social media and our website. Please submit your requests HERE. We will do our best to get to everyone and produce content on a first-come, first-serve basis. We want to highlight your events. We want to make sure we are great partners to you, as you all are to us. Please send over all events to us here! To make sure we have everything up before the event happens, please submit it to us at least 14 days before the event. We are looking for more blog posts on healthy living for our website! With the website launching on the 31st, we want your older but still relevant blogs and new blogs. You can submit blogs here! If you want to write a blog but need guidance, please don't hesitate to reach out.