While this fall still looks uncertain with COVID-19, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities will still be running their Fall grants and programs. Some of these may look a little different, but their staff are getting creative to support projects around the state in the safest way possible.

 Applications will be available on July 13th! This workshop will train you how to advocate for policies and initiatives that support full participation and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities. We are looking to be flexible with how we hold these training sessions as the Fall has so many unknowns. For now, we are planning to have a mix of virtual and in-person training sessions but we will adhere to public safety standards so we may hold all virtually. If you have always wanted to do Partners, but transportation has been a barrier, this may be your year! Apply by August 31st and our staff will keep you informed on how the sessions will look as Fall gets closer.

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While this fall still looks uncertain with COVID-19, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities will still be running their Fall grants and programs. Some of these may look a little different, but their staff are getting creative to support projects around the state in the safest way possible.

Do you have an idea to make your community a better place for people with disabilities? Our SPARKs grant applications will be available on July 13th! Organize your grassroots group and apply for funding to help make it happen! Individuals with developmental disabilities and family members may apply. We are looking for projects with a focus on voting (for the 2020 election), COVID-19, create transportation ideas, and project ideas from under-served communities.

Learn more

While this fall still looks uncertain with COVID-19, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities will still be running their Fall grants and programs. Some of these may look a little different, but their staff are getting creative to support projects around the state in the safest way possible.

 Does your program, school or organization want to increase employment for people with disabilities? Applications for Employment First Partner grants will open on July 13th! Spread the word to others in your community about the importance of employment for people with disabilities. Activities our grants support include presenting to service clubs and business groups, organizing community conversations, holding legislative events and town hall meetings, and educating people with disabilities and their families about having community jobs.

Learn more

Application Requests are now available for the 2020 Self-Determination Conference

Turning Vision into Reality! October 26-28, 2020

Calling all Wisconsin organizations that support self-determination and self-directed support in Wisconsin. We encourage you to submit an exhibitor’s application. This Year’s Conference will be held virtually.

Only applications from exhibitors that directly support self-determination and self-direction in WI will be accepted. All applications will be reviewed by a committee and selected based on interest, needs, variety and mission of the conference. We are particularly interested in having exhibitors with innovative approaches to services and supports for self- direction including the use of technology to help people with disabilities live full and inclusive lives.  Exhibit (Zoom) rooms will be live during Conference Networking Breaks on  October 27-28, 2020. Applications must be submitted by August 1, 2020

Calling all Micro-business owners!

There is a new way to exhibit at the Self-Determination Conference this year! The All Abilities Market is an online marketplace where microenterprises and artists can sell their products and/or services. You have the unique opportunity to join this marketplace and sell online, not only at the Self-Determination Conference but all year long!. Support is available to help you through the process. For more information about the All Abilities Market, visit
Applications must be submitted by August 1, 2020 


Do you Support Self-Determination in Wisconsin? We need your Support!
We are accepting sponsorship to the 2020 Self-Determination Conference. This year conference sponsorships will enable individuals with disabilities, their families, and professionals to attend the conference FREE of Charge. Learning together has always been an important tenet of our conference. Scholarships will help to ensure we provide the best virtual experience possible. Your contribution will help us continue to empower self-advocacy and self-direction in Wisconsin.

For additional information please contact Fil Clissa at .

See you at the Conference: October 26-28, Virtually Everywhere! 

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Housing security is vital for the health, wellbeing,  and community integration of people with—and without—disabilities. The Community Living Policy Center released a brief about the housing disparities for people with disabilities. It has many interesting stats and information. 

Read brief

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The 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA) is this month. One of the many things it is to require public transportation to be accessible. While there have been giant improvements made in this area, there are still many things that need to change. 

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Stacy's Journal: How Far is Too Far?

By Stacy Ellingen, 2020-07-01

How far is too far? That’s a loaded question in this day and age. With the ongoing pandemic colliding with the outbursts from the equity movement, 2020 will be read about in history books for years to come. Many people feel like the country is in shambles. People have different opinions about the two situations which creates tension everywhere. Different beliefs even among families are causing more unease during this unprecedented time in the world.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a pretty conservative person—I always have been. On most things, I listen to the experts and follow the advice of professionals. My immediate family is the same way, but I also think living with a disability has made me extra strict on some things. That’s why it was unusual that I wasn’t worried when COVID was first talked about back in late February. My parents were worried about it, but I didn’t think it was going to amount to anything. It wasn’t until everything starting shutting down in early March that I began to worry. States began implementing stay-at-home orders, and the number of cases began to skyrocket. News stories about hospitals prioritizing ventilators and refusing to treat people with disabilities began popping up in my Facebook groups.  What would happen if I would get it? It’s a question that still lingers in my mind today.

I’ve noticed that many people have eased up on the guidelines such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and attending large group gatherings. While I understand we all are sick and tired of living in a bubble for so long, the virus is still very prevalent across the country. It’s very hard to understand this when people are asymptomatic, but yet, are carriers of the virus. This is where the concept of being accountable for one’s own actions is so important. A person may not be overly concerned about contracting the virus herself/himself, but the thing that the person needs to remember is that she/he can spread it to others without even realizing it.

Obviously, nobody intentionally means to spread the virus to other people, but when people choose not to follow the guidelines, it often seems like people don’t care about others. This can be very frustrating and cause tension among friends and family. To those of us who are concerned about getting the virus, it’s hard to understand why some people aren’t taking the recommended precautions. The saying, “if you don’t feel the need to do it for yourself, do it for others” comes to mind during times like this.

Taking responsibility for one’s own actions carries into the equity movement as well. I personally believe that every single person on earth is racist. Most of the time it’s unintentional and we don’t even realize it. As a society, I feel we need to do a better job of understanding different cultures. Regardless of what culture it is--ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, economic status, or something else—we need to do a better job of understanding people.

There have been many posts on social media about comparing ethnicity inequality to disability inequality--some agreeing; others disagreeing. While I agree that there are some similarities, I don’t think now is the time to compare. I don’t think it’s right to draw attention away from the ethnicity inequality crisis. Yes, even though the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is this month, there are still many inequalities for people with disabilities; however, we need to remember that we’re not the only culture still facing barriers.

Both of these issues boil down to having respect for one another. Yes, people have the right to have their opinions of what’s wrong and right and what people should and shouldn’t do, but we need to be respectful. How far is too far? That’s a rhetorical question. How far should the government go to enforce the pandemic guidelines? How far should law enforcement go to ensure equality?  How far does society have to go to have equality for all people?  Those are some questions that we may be pondering for years. Unfortunately, I don’t believe either situation will be resolved anytime in the near future. It’s my belief that both situations may take many years to resolve. My hope is that people will be more respectful of others as we create this new normal. Not only will it help to resolve the issues at hand, it will bring us closer together! 

***The views expressed here are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of InControl Wisconsin, the Network or any of our sponsors. 

The Great Lakes ADA Center is conducting a research to identify emerging practices to support disability inclusion in the context of the pandemic. They are looking for members of disability employee resource or affinity groups, and diversity and inclusion professionals to interview. Participation includes a 30-40 minute interview via a web-based platform where participants will be asked about their work experiences, success stories, and resources to support disability inclusion in the workplace. 

 Findings will be disseminated widely through the center and various disability and business-related networks. All responses will remain confidential and anonymous, with all shared results being de-identified. For more information contact: Courtney Mullin, Research Assistant, Great Lakes ADA Center at

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The Task Force on Caregiving is asking for public input on draft policy proposals to help support and strengthen the direct care workforce, increase access to care, and improve the quality of caregiving in Wisconsin. The Task Force wants feedback from people in Wisconsin with a wide range of perspectives and experience, including family caregivers, paid direct support professionals, people receiving care, communities of color, and people living in urban and rural settings.

Materials on the Policy Proposals and a Public Input Meeting on June 29 have been posted to the website. A Public Input Survey will be available from June 29 through July 14.

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Member Spotlight: Duane

By SD Network, 2020-06-25

Meet Duane. When he’s not biking, kayaking, or playing hockey, he strives to assist people with disabilities have choices through the help of technology. He’s a strong advocate of self-determination and believes it’s the best practice for people with disabilities to live the best life possible. We’re so fortunate to have Duane as a member of the Network! 

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Duane began working with people with disabilities as a junior in high school. He started as a Direct Support Provider at St. Francis School for Exceptional Children in Freeport, Illinois and eventually became the residential director there. He went on to be a Qualified Mental Retardation Professional for an agency in northern Illinois and while attending graduate school at the UW-Madison, was hired by the Waisman Center to assist in the design, development and implementation of the Sound Response Program. He explains that Sound Response was the first documented Remote Supports service in the United States. The Sound Response program would evolve into Night Owl Support Systems, LLC and he is one of the owners of that organization. He spent the first part of his career helping students/children by teaching skills that would foster their independence and allow them to live in the community when they became adults. “Choice has always been a big part of my value system and it’s integrated into the way I think. The latter part of my career has been involved with providing technology to people with disabilities to empower them to make choices and the technology allows for more self-direction,” he shares. 

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network?

Duane was a part of the self-determination movement in Dane County when most people receiving waiver services shifted from the legacy waiver to self-direction. That being said, he explains that as people shifted to self-direction, they were offered more choices and could utilize Remote Supports as one of their options. His involvement was from the perspective of a Remote Supports provider. This would allow people more independence by not having staff 24-hours a day.

He joined the Self-Determination Network to stay connected with the self-determination movement. He’s a strong advocate for self-determination and recognizes that not all places offer self-determination as an option for people. He wants to be able to continue to advocate that self-determination is best practice for people with disabilities to live their best life. Joining the SD Network allows him to keep updated on the latest activities and advocacy. 

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Duane says that there are a lot of exciting things going on right now. He explains that the last couple of years have shown an explosion in the awareness and use of enabling technologies. There are new technologies offering more sophisticated Remote Supports, there are many new devices people use day-to-day and new apps for making life much easier. From residential supports to vocational supports and transportation, the technologies are more readily available than ever. Wisconsin, like some other states, is promoting the use of enabling technologies through technology conferences and technology fests.  “I believe the push for technology will only enhance self-determination” he tells us.  

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

"Technology,” Duane exclaims! Having been a part of the technology evolution regarding enabling technologies and Remote Supports, he has been able to see the benefits that technology has provided to people with disabilities allowing more self-determination. “Many people do not have a choice of where and with whom they can live. Technology offers that opportunity,” he says.    

What are some of your hobbies?

Duane enjoys bicycling, swimming, kayaking and playing his guitar. He also can often be found playing hockey in Sun Prairie, WI.

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

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