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AdaptAbilities: Finding a New Home outside an ICF

Chris Rupinsky's life has "changed dramatically," his mom says.

After complications at birth, he was rushed to a neonatal clinic where he experienced seizures. Two weeks after birth, he was permitted to go home to his parents, George and Barb, and three younger siblings.

"We knew he would have difficulties, but thought he would catch up," Barb says. But after some time, it became apparent that Chris was going to need more help than most. "He has epilepsy, diabetes, anxiety, and anger issues." 

Chris was in various schools throughout his adolescence, including Fairhaven School, administered by the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities. "The people that worked with him really made things good for him," Barb says.



Technology Offers Mental Health Access: Ohio Project Hits 5-Year Mark

Janine from Troy, Ohio, doesn't have to travel the 30 minutes to Dayton in order to see her psychiatrist.

Instead, she video chats with Dr. Allison Cowan after a short drive to the Miami County board, known as Riverside Developmental Disabilities. It's just a three-minute trip from her day program.

In 2012, Ohio launched the Telepsychiatry Project for Intellectual Disability. Telepsychiatry is available for people with disabilities who have a co-occurring mental health need, are enrolled in Medicaid, and have access to a webcam. This project developed from a need for Ohioans in rural or low-income communities to receive mental health care from psychiatrists who specialize in dual diagnosis. Prior to the pilot, nearly half of that population received specialty care from their primary care physicians. The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) collaborates on the project with Wright State University and Access Ohio Mental Health Center of Excellence, a behavioral health organization serving Central and Southern Ohio. Dr. Julie Gentile is the project's director from Wright State's Coordinating Center of Excellence (CCOE).



AdaptAbilities - Ellie Nickoli

Miss Ashland’s Outstanding Teen Grateful for Early Intervention

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, Ellie Nickoli dropped three minutes off her cross country time. She is a competitive swimmer, swimming breaststroke for her junior high school, and she holds the title of "Miss Ashland's Outstanding Teen".

"I am always so proud and amazed when I watch her race," says Ellie's mother Libby. "I never dreamed with her diagnosis she would be so active!"

To see Ellie today, you would never guess that she was diagnosed with congenital hip dysplasia when she was four months old. A well-child check led to a specialist appointment, and an orthopedic specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital confessed that it was one of the most extreme and severe cases of hip dysplasia he had ever seen... More


AdaptAbilities - Linda Dunaway

One year ago the staff at Toward Independence (TI) in Xenia could not get two words out of Linda Dunaway. Her head was always down, she was grouchy, and she didn't want to leave on planned excursions.

Then, in October 2015, Linda had a secret.

"I didn't know Linda, except to see her," Beth Esterkamp from TI reveals. "I was at our agency picnic when Linda approached me."

"I've got a secret. You can't tell anybody," Linda told Beth. "I got a job. Can you believe it? Igot a job!"

The "one" in one bistro's name is short for Our ­Neighbors Eat, a philosophy that  Executive Chef Robert Adamson wanted to bring to the "food desert" that was downtown Xenia. He approached Mary Crockett, community development coordinator for the city. She in turn approached Mark Schlater, CEO of TI, expressing the need for a restaurant in downtown Xenia, and said they were interested in using the empty storefront adjoining TI... More


Adaptabilities - The Cade Sisters

The Cade sisters love to be with each other, and they love to clean.

"Cleaning is their thing," says Rebecca Puckett, an SSA at the Vinton County Board of Developmental Disabilities (VCBDD).

But their love for each other and necessity to work together meant finding a very accommodating employer, which was tricky. "They are just really, really close. Been together their whole lives…never been apart. It was a struggle to find employment because they would have to take on two," Puckett remarks. "They wanted to work the same shifts."

Enter Michael Williams, owner and director at R.M. Funeral Services.  As a student at Ohio University in Athens, Williams saw a young man with developmental disabilities  More