Note: This Superintendent’s Message accompanies the fall of the LCBDD newsletter Momentum, which will be available in early Nov . If you would like to receive this newsletter and be added to our mailing list, contact Anna Jeffries at 740-322-6911 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For a digital PDF version of the newsletter, click here.
At the end of September, leaders in Ohio’s DD system gathered in Dublin for the ADVANCE Partnership Summit, which
included teams from state agencies, county boards and providers.
During the three days of the summit, we were brought together to discuss the opportunities and challenges our system faces today.
Members of the Think Tank that helped organize the event were asked to present on a meaningful word that would inspire
conversations. My word was “inclusivity,” which I found very fitting!
The Oxford English Dictionary defines inclusivity as “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.”
Merriam-Webster has a simpler definition: “The quality or state of being inclusive” — which means, “including everyone.”
Inclusivity is one of the founding ideas of Ohio’s DD system. Families of people with developmental disabilities came together to create
opportunities for their loved ones, so they could remain a part of their home communities. Over the years, that activism led to more inclusive schools, workplaces and neighborhoods.
Everyone in our field values inclusion. And as we look at our challenges today and beyond, it will be a critical part of the future of our system.
It will take all of us — people we support, families, provider agency leaders, direct support
professionals, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, trade organizations and advocacy groups — to move our system forward. We must create environments where we listen to each other and value each other’s experiences. Each one of us plays a unique role but we are in this together. When one group of us succeeds, we all do.
If we can move forward with an inclusivity mindset, our system will grow to be even stronger as we all work together.
Contact Superintendent/CEO Jason L. Umstot by calling 740-349-6588 or email: Jason.Umstot@lcountydd.org.