Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities

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2015 News Archives

Current Year

December 15, 2015

Sherlock Sentinels Meeting - January 7, 2016

Let your voice be heard! The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities is looking for individuals with disabilities and family members of individuals with disabilities to participate as Sentinels and members of their Sentinels Advisory Committee. Sentinels help inform the Sherlock Center of the needs and challenges for individuals with disabilities in Rhode Island. Come and learn about the Sherlock Center and what it means to be a Sentinel. There is an afternoon and evening session scheduled. Pick the session that works best for you. Learn more about the Sherlock Sentinels.

Date: Thursday, January 7, 2016
Afternoon Session Time: 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Evening Session Time: 5:00 - 7:00 PM
Location: Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities

Download Meeting Flyer and Directions 288 kb (PDF)

Online Registration Form

You may sign up to attend one of these sessions using the link above, or contact Elaine Sollecito at or 401-456-2764.

November 28, 2015

Norman Bird Sanctuary - Universal Trail Welcomes Visitors of All Abilities

The Norman Bird Sanctuary (NBS) celebrated the completion of upgrades to the Universal Trail and the new trailhead entryway with a Ribbon Cutting on Monday, November 23rd. Both Senators Reed and Whitehouse were in attendance. Attendees had an opportunity to walk the trail which begins at the NBS Welcome Center. The NBS is a recipient of a 2015 Access for All Abilities Mini-Grant from the Sherlock Center. The funds were used to support the improvements to the Universal Trail, along with support from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

November 12, 2015

Rhode Island Disability Law Center seeks input on Statement of Goals and Priorities

The Rhode Island Disability Law Center (RIDLC) is seeking feedback from individuals with developmental disabilities, their families and other representatives regarding their proposed Statement of Goals and Priorities for 2016, If you would like to provide feedback, please contact the RIDLC using the contact information provided below. Please respond by December 15, 2015.

Phone:(401) 831-3150 Voice / (401) 831-5335 TTY

Download Statement of Goals and Priorities 194 kb (PDF)

October 22,2015

RI College awarded TPSID grant to help individuals with intellectual disabilities attend college

RIC wins major federal grant to help individuals with intellectual disabilities break through barriers to higher education. Sen. Reed, who helped pass the Higher Education Opportunity Act, says new RIC program will help students with intellectual disabilities have an integrated campus experience that gives them the skills & training for self-sufficiency & successful careers.

Federal funds will enable RIC's Sherlock Center on Disabilities to expand offerings & help students with intellectual disabilities continue learning and developing the skills they need for an independent adulthood. The new federal grant is anticipated to provide up to $1.93 million over five years to expand higher-education options for Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) was originally authorized in 2008 by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-315), which Senator Reed helped co-author and pass. The program provides federal grants to two- and four-year postsecondary education institutions to create or expand high-quality, inclusive transition postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities. The goal is to establish a "Comprehensive Transition Program" (CTP) that helps students with intellectual disabilities attend college, successfully transition to the workforce, and reach their full potential.

The program will support 50-60 adolescents and young adults in obtaining a "Certificate of Community Studies" at RIC and increase programs participants' breadth of knowledge, interest and competence across a variety of domains including academics, independent living and community participation, career discovery and development, social competence, and self-determination. Information will be made available to interested individuals and families over the next few months.

Work Incentives Public Information Sessions - November 17, 2105

Do you receive SSI or SSDI? Would you like to work but are concerned that working could affect your benefits? If so, you may want to consider attending one of two public information session scheduled for November 17, 2015.

These sessions are sponsored by the Northern RI Collaborative, DHS/Office of Rehabilitation Services, and the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities. There will be a session on SSDI from 5:30 - 6:45 PM and a session on SSI from 7:00 - 8:15 PM. RSVP by November 12th.

Session Flyer
RSVP Online

LEAD Center Launches Employment First Website

The LEAD Center has launched the national Employment First website, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

This website houses a host of comprehensive resources for policymakers, researchers, and stakeholder to learn about the happenings in Employment First in one convenient place. Viewers can access national data and trends as well as state specific information and state comparisons.
Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Overview for Educators

The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt Peabody College offers Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Overview for Educators. This informational module covers the early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and provides an overview of the difference between medical diagnosis and an educational determination of ASD.

The module also includes instructional considerations for teachers who have students with ASD in their classrooms, as well as things to keep in mind when working with families of those students.
10 Short Films by Dan Habib Featured in SWIFT's Free Guide for Inclusive Practices

SWIFT (Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation) is a national K-8 technical assistance center that promotes the inclusive academic and social achievement of ALL students, including students with disabilities and those with the most extensive needs.

Dan Habib of the Institute on Disability at UNH has worked with SWIFT to develop ten "SWIFT in 60" films. These films are now included in the SWIFT Field Guide, a tool to support the implementation of inclusive educational practices.

October 3, 2015

Listen to recent NPR broadcasts pertaining to individuals with developmental disabilities living in Rhode Island.Is Life Improving For Rhode Island's Developmentally Disabled Adults?, by Elisabeth Harrison, September 29, 2015 Writer Casey Nilsson joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison to discuss her article in the new issue of Rhode Island Monthly.

Give Developmentally Disabled Adults More Opportunities to Thrive, by Kristin Gourlay, July 30, 2015
Tony Antosh, director of the Sherlock Center, talks with Kristin Gourlay about what has changed for people with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed 25 years ago.

September 19, 2015

September Issue - RI BHDDH Bulletin 477 kb (PDF)

The next Director's meeting with DD families is scheduled for Thursday, October 15, 4:00 - 6:00 PM.
Location: Buttonwoods Community Center, 3027 West Shore Road, Warwick, RI

August 26, 2015

The ADA: Know Your Rights
Sponsored by The RI Governor's Commission on Disabilities and RIPIN

Thursday September 24, 2015
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Rhode Island Parent Information Network
1210 Pontiac Ave. Cranston, RI 02920

Topics to be covered include employment, state and local government, service animals, accessibility, post-secondary education, housing, and alternate forms of communication.

Registration Link

August 24, 2015

The National Resource Center on Supported Decision-Making is conducting a short survey about:
  1. Ways that people get help from family, friend, and other people to make decisions.
  2. How parents, friends, service providers, or others help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities make everyday decisions, informally or formally.
Questions to think about:
  1. Do you use supported decision-making?
  2. Do you get help making decisions, choosing what to do, or choosing where to live or work?
  3. Are you a supported decision-maker?
You may take the short survey about supported decision making at

If you want to take this survey by phone or have a paper copy mailed to you, contact Celestia Ohrazda at
For more information on the National Resource Center on Supported Decision-Making go to
July 27, 2015

Disability Advocates Celebrate 25th Anniversary of the ADA

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus in the House of Representatives, commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act alongside advocates who continue to fight for increased access and inclusion for people with disabilities. The event was hosted by the Sherlock Center on Sunday, July 26th. In addition to long-time advocates Congressman Langevin and Anthony Antosh, the speakers panel included Gary Balletto, a former boxing champion emerging as a strong disability advocate in the two years since an accident that left him paralyzed, Katie Lowe of the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island and a representative of the Developmental Disabilities Council, and Alyssa Silva, founder of Working on Walking, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for spinal muscular atrophy.

Read the complete press release. 95.5 kb (PDF)

Twenty-Five Years of Progress, by Congressman Jim Langevin 101 kb (PDF)

Americans with Disabilities Act Hailed at Providence Gathering, Karen Lee Ziner, Providence Journal

July 21, 2015

2015 Sherlock Center Mini-Grants Awarded

The Sherlock Center has awarded a total of $10,000 in Access for All Abilities (AAA) mini-grants to four Rhode Island organizations.

The Sherlock Center's mini-grant initiative funds projects that increase access for people with disabilities to social, leisure, recreational and cultural activities in the community, with the goal of increasing long-term accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities alongside those without disabilities. Since the initiative's 2009 inception, more than $67,000 has been granted to 30 businesses and organizations.

Recipients of the 2015 grants are: Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol, the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Warwick, and Youth Pride, Inc. of Providence.

July 17, 2015

Creative Advocate in Disability Award

To commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act "ADA" and 40th of VSA arts of Rhode Island, they will honor Rhode Island youth with disabilities who demonstrate exemplary leadership by making a difference in their communities, advancing the rights of individuals with disabilities.

This Award is to celebrate and encourage young Rhode Islanders of high school or college age (approximately between the ages of 15 and 25) that have a disability and are dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities, creatively helping expand the full inclusion of all people in our communities. Deadline for nominations is JULY 25th, 2015. Nominations may be submitted via email at or hardcopy at VSA arts Rhode Island, 500 Prospect Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860. Attention: C-ADA

Download 205 kb (PDF) complete details and nomination form June 19, 2015

Accessible Rhode Island - The guide to accessibility in the Ocean State

The Accessible Rhode Island website resource,, currently lists over 1,000 venues throughout RI, highlighting the accessibility features that make it easy for people with disabilities, and all, to search out and enjoy the wealth of activities in the Ocean State.

National Center for Education Statistics Releases The Condition of Education 2015

The Condition of Education 2015 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 42 indicators on the status and condition of education.
The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. In addition, 3 spotlight indicators are featured that describe selected issues of current policy interest.

Key "Soft Skills" that Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus across Fields

Soft skills are skills, competencies, behaviors, attitudes, and personal qualities that enable youth to navigate their environment, work with others, perform well, and achieve their goals.
We've identified five key soft skills that - according to researchers, employers, youth, and program implementers - most enable youth (15-29) worldwide to be successful in the workplace.

June 15, 2015

Public Forums Planned for July 27 - 31, 2015

During the week of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed on July 26th), the Governor's Commission on Disabilities and many other state and non-profit agencies conduct a weeklong series of open forums to hear the concerns of people with disabilities and their families.

The forums are open for anyone to come in and speak; representatives of the sponsoring agencies will be there to listen. State policy makers and planners want to hear your concerns about current services, unmet needs, and suggestions for improving services and expanding opportunities.

June 8, 2015

Iraida Williams, a Family Support Specialist at the Sherlock Center, was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cochlear America for her work advocating for persons who use cochlear implants. Mrs. Williams is a parent advocate for the Cochlear Implant Program at Rhode Island Hospital.
May 28, 2015

Access for All Abilities Mini-Grants
Submission deadline extended to Friday, June 12, 2015

The 2015 Access for All Abilities mini-grants cycle is now open. Eligible businesses and organizations include those providing social, leisure, recreational, and cultural activities to the general public in Rhode Island. Organizations may apply for up to $2,500. Four grants will be awarded by the Sherlock Center.

May 19, 2015

Rhode Island UCEDD Director Dr. Anthony Antosh Speaks at Congressional Autism Caucus Briefing

On Thursday, April 23rd, 2015, Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), Co-Chairs of the Coalition for Autism Research and Education, hosted a congressional Hill briefing on "Autism and the Aging Out Crisis." The briefing was held to shine a spotlight on the need for increased federal support for improved transition services for the youth and young adults with autism and their families.

Download Briefing

View Briefing on YouTube at

May 6, 2015

Autism on the Rise: How RIC is Changing the Outcomes

In 2014 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The prevalence of autism, according to the CDC, has been on the rise since the early 1990s.

To meet the needs of children with autism and to build the capacity of educators and school districts, in 2009 Rhode Island College established the Certificate of Graduate Studies (C.G.S.) in autism education program in partnership with the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities. Open to certified teachers and related service providers, this program extends their professional knowledge and skills, and ultimately their capacity to effectively teach and support individuals with autism.

Read the full story.

May 2, 2015

Access for All Abilities Mini-Grants

The 2015 Access for All Abilities mini-grants cycle is now open. Eligible businesses and organizations include those providing social, leisure, recreational, and cultural activities to the general public in Rhode Island. Organizations may apply for up to $2,500. Four grants will be awarded by the Sherlock Center. The submission deadline is Friday, May 29, 2015.
April 16, 2015

Meet the New Director of BHDDH

The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities is hosting an opportunity for people with developmental disabilities and their families to meet Maria Montanaro, Director of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. Join the Sherlock Center in welcoming the new director and come share your issues, concerns, and ideas for reform.

April 29, 2015, 4 - 6 PM
Arnold Conference Center
111 Howard Avenue Regan Building
Cranston, RI 02920

Open House - RI Transition Academy at CCRI
May 14, 2015, 4 - 7 PM

Prospective students, families, and schools are invited to the RI Transition Academy at CCRI to meet staff, students, and learn about instruction, curriculum and tour the campus.
April 15, 2015

2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook
Released on April 13th

The 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook tracks 71 indicators on the economic well-being, early childhood and development, K-12 education, safety, and health of Rhode Island's children.

April 8, 2015

Isn't it a pity? The real problem with special needs

Torrie Dunlap, TEDxAmericas
Published on Jan 12, 2015

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Kids with special needs are marginalized in our communities, and we are doing it with the best of intentions. Inclusion expert Torrie Dunlap shares why we need to change our thinking when it comes to special needs.

April 6, 2015

Do Ask, Do Tell

The "Do Ask, Do Tell" report recently released by The Conference Board, provides an interesting look at the disability disclosure in light of changes to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Employers with federal contracts have a new goal of 7% representation of employees with disabilities. 98 companies were surveyed and interviewed regarding current disclosure and disability-inclusive practices. Learn more at the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

April 2, 2015

ADA Anniversary

Get ready to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA on July 26, 2015 with the ADA Anniversary Tool Kit - everything you need to share your ADA efforts and become a part of the ADA25 nationwide celebration and recommitment. Connect, Share & PLEDGE ON! to the 25th ADA Anniversary. Download Tool Kit now at
Video-on-Demand Children's TV Programming Now Accessible for Thousands of Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education announced the availability of free, video-on-demand children's television programming for thousands of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. Dozens of children's and family TV episodes may now be viewed online featuring closed captioning and descriptions through the Education Department's Accessible Television Portal project. Among the shows: "Ocean Mysteries," "Magic School Bus," "Bill Nye the Science Guy," "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," "Expedition Wild" and "Peg + Cat."
March 2, 2015

10 New SWIFT in 60 Mini-films Showing Inclusive Educational Practices

SWIFT (Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation) is a national K-8 technical assistance center for academic and behavioral support that promotes achievement for all students, including student with the most extensive needs.

These films, produced by Filmmaker Dan Habib, are available on the SWIFT YouTube Channel or on Vimeo.

"Article of the Year" on Early Childhood Teacher Education Now Available Free Online

The Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education recently made its "Article of the Year" for 2013 freely available online. Research on Early Childhood Teacher Education: Evidence from Three Domains and Recommendations for Moving Forward (March 2013), by Diane M. Horma, Marilou Hysonb, and Pamela J. Winton, examines the current research base in early childhood teacher education across three domains: addressing the needs of young children with disabilities and their families; understanding and working effectively with infants and toddlers; and, building young children's competence and interest in mathematics.

The authors find that much of the current research that exists is descriptive and focused on small samples of children in a few innovative programs. They discuss the characteristics, key features, and significant gaps in the research, and identify the kinds of studies that are most needed to enhance the impact of early childhood teacher education. See also, the related 2-page FPG Snapshot, The Impact of Early Childhood Teacher Education: How to Answer the Unanswerable Question (February 2013), for a brief summary of the article.


Working Together: Understanding the Link between Diagnosis and Special Education Eligibility
April 16, 2015, Student Union Ballroom, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI

For more information, contact RI Parent Information Network (RIPIN) at 401-270-0101.

A panel where educators, clinicians, and parents come together to strengthen the link between clinical community providers and the special education system.

February 5, 2015

Safety without Restraints: Trauma Informed Care
Rhode Island College
March 9, 2015, 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Fee: $15, register by February 27th

Featured Presenters:
Joan B. Gillece, Ph.D., Director, SAMHSA National Center for Trauma Informed Care
Janice L. LeBel, Ph.D., Director, Program Management, Child & Adolescent Services, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health

RI Developmental Disabilities Council, Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, RIDE, BHDDH, and DCYF

January 13, 2015

Understanding Trauma’s Impact on Young Children: Implementing a Trauma-Informed Curriculum - January 29, February 12 & 26, Warwick, RI

Painful and stressful experiences early in life can have a lasting effect on children’s growth and development. This series provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of these experiences on young children and introduces Trauma-Informed Care as an effective strategy for working with these children in a child care setting. The sessions will highlight the importance of building trusting relationships and recognizing cues and triggers while supporting children with a history of trauma. Participants can earn up to 15 PD hours by attending three face-to-face sessions. For more information on this or other trainings opportunities, visit the Center for Early Learning Professionals website.

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