Council Annual Report Summary

Community and Rural Health Planning
Public Health

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What you need to know

​Council activities in 2019 included the following:

  • Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), especially those with Down syndrome, are more likely to develop dementia and at a much younger age, often between the ages of 35-45. The Dementia Capable Care train-the-trainer project brought national subject-matter experts on dementia in aging adults with IDD to Nebraska. They provided information and training to family caregivers, guardians, direct support professionals, and others to address the needs of adults with IDD suspected to have a form of dementia or with a dementia diagnosed. This project included the replication of a Caregiver's Resource Guide with information and resources specific to Nebraska.

  • People First of Nebraska (PFN), the state's self-advocacy organization run by and for individuals with disabilities, held their 40th annual convention with 191 participants. Individuals with disabilities led or co-led 13 breakout sessions on the topics of voting rights, leadership training, health, employment, and more. PFN collaborated on projects with other People First/advocacy organizations in neighboring states. They hired two individuals with IDD as Disability Policy Specialists to follow introduced legislation, contact senators about the bills, and testify at public hearings. This unique program received national recognition at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities conference. PFN members created and delivered valentines with their stories to senators' offices, along with notes thanking senators for their support on important disability legislation and asking them to remember people with disabilities when they vote in the future. PFN continues to provide leadership training and opportunities to its members to strengthen the role and voice of the disabilities community in the state. 

  • Lincoln/Lancaster County Human Services received funding to conduct School Resource Officer (SRO) training prior to the passing of 2019's Legislative Bill 390. The SRO project provided four days of training on “Policing the Teen Brain in Schools" curriculum. Attendees included 26 Lincoln Police Department SROs, officers interested in being a SRO, 6 people involved in the gang unit, the heads of security for Lincoln Public Schools and Grand Island Public Schools, a Vice Principal for Lincoln Public Schools, 3 SROs from the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, and a SRO from the Superior Police Department. Additionally, 15 LPS employees signed up to attend the one-day training on the role of the SRO. Data on the number and type of law enforcement referrals in schools; a student's previous juvenile justice system involvement, and suspensions, expulsions, and supports for those youth; and whether the students involved have a disability will be reported. This project will compare the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years and will specifically report the number of contacts with African-American male students with disabilities compared to the general student population.

  • Special Olympics Nebraska trained 17 young adult and adult Special Olympics Athletes on leadership skills. Participants used the Gallup Clifton Strengths Finder to learn about their strengths and set goals. Athletes attended national conferences, one athlete was selected to be on the Special Olympics North America Athlete Input Council, one was selected to help design the 2022 USA Games logo, and one Special Olympics Nebraska board member and athlete attended Unified Leadership training. Three schools achieved Champion Unified Banner School status through inclusive student leadership, unified sports, and whole school engagement. Students with IDD are included and accepted by their peers because of the unified program and messaging.
  • The Nebraska Association of Service Providers provided an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to tell their stories in their own words through a public platform on Nebraska Educational Television. Thirty individuals submitted applications; the Advisory Board narrowed this number down to seven. Selected individuals arrived at the NET studios to record their stories. The finished project, “Turn It Up! Stories from People with Disabilities," is a 30-minute program that aired on NET multiple times during Developmental Disabilities Awareness month in March 2020. The program has a permanent home on NET.

  • Autism Society of Nebraska received funding to address the lack of curriculum needed to empower people with IDD with advocacy, self-advocacy, and self-determination skills. A national subject matter expert was brought in to present the “Train the Leaders Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) Adult Self-Advocacy Series" to advocates of adults with disabilities who will train future trainers on the PEERS model across the state. Response to the evidence-based curriculum has been extremely positive, training more than twice the anticipated number of attendees. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, this project will continue for up to an additional six months to allow the remaining in-person training sessions to be completed.

  • The multi-year Juvenile Justice Brain Injury & Cognitive Disability Task Force project looked closely at the disparity issue facing youth with disabilities in Nebraska. The task force purpose was to develop strategies and strengthen recommendations to reduce the number of youth with brain injury, cognitive disability, behavioral and mental health disabilities, and other learning disabilities from entering the juvenile justice system. The diverse task force stakeholders included school facility and administration, law enforcement, juvenile justice, Educational Service Units, probation, private sector companies, community-based programs, state agencies, behavioral health system of care representatives, and family members. If students are already in the system, the task force worked to ensure they receive adequate services and accommodations. The project began in Lincoln and expanded to three additional communities across the state. An outcome of the project is a Classroom to Courtroom Pathway flowchart that shows the path that students with disabilities take when they enter the juvenile justice system, and the supports and opportunities to assist the student to successfully remain in or return to school. The task force final reports (2018 and 2020) are available on the Council Resources webpage.

  • At the quarterly meeting in February 2019, Council members voted to remove the word “Planning" from the Council's name. This change was necessary in order for the Council to come into compliance with the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the federal oversight agency for all 56 state and US territory Councils. We are now the Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities.

2019 Annual Program Performance Report
2020 Annual Program Performance Report
2021 Annual Program Performance Report