SD Network


While Wisconsin has made progress in the vaccine rollout, disability advocates say some of the most vulnerable  people still face multiple challenges accessing it. Mixed messages about who is eligible has been confusing and when people are eligible, many are having problems making appointments due to not having broadband access. The Department of Health Services is working on developing an online portal for people to sign up for the vaccine when they're eligible. They also state that there is a phone option. Transportation is another barrier people are struggling with. They are having a hard time finding transportation to the appointment once it's set up. 

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Wisconsin Employment
First Conference

Thursday, May 13, 2021
Virtual Format from 8:30am to 3:30pm

Registration opening soon!

This year’s Employment First conference will provide an immersion into person-centered thinking and practices. Throughout this interactive, virtual event you will have the opportunity to network with others and learn how genuine person-centeredness is essential for raising expectations, driving innovation and change, and supporting people to achieve meaningful lives and careers in the community.

Conference Sponsorship

Show your support for Employment First in Wisconsin by sponsoring the 2021 Virtual Employment First Conference! Last year, over 300 people attended the WI Employment First conference and this year we expect even more! 

This year's program will feature experts on Person Centered Planning and employment from around the US, including: 

Sheli Reynolds - Associate Director, Training and Technical Assistance University of Missouri Kansas City-Institute for Human Development (UCEDD) and key developer of the Charting the Life Course framework and tools

Serena Lowe - Senior Adviser to TASH and the newly established national Disability Employment Technical Assistance Center

Stacey Ramirez - Person-Centered Thinking trainer with HRS, Inc and State Director for The Arc Georgia

Nicole LeBlanc - Coordinator of the Person-Centered Advisory and Leadership Group for the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS)

Alixe Bonardi – Senior policy associate with HSRI and director of the National Core Indicators effort

Laura Buckner - Founding Partner of The Institute for Person Centered Practices and Mentor Trainer with The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLCPCP)

Doug Crandall and Patty Cassidy – Senior Associates with Griffin-Hammis Associates and nationally recognized Subject Matter Experts on Customized Employment

Jennifer Bumble - Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Missouri St. Louis and former educational consultant with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Tennessee Works

Microenterprise Vendor

Sign up to be a Microenterprise Vendor at the 2021 Employment First VIRTUAL Conference!  The All Abilities Market is an online marketplace where microenterprise owners 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 Employment First Conference but all year long!  Support is available to help you get set up in the All Abilities Market.  

If you have any questions, please contact Molly Cooney at or call 608-266-0266. Conference information will be posted at

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Self-driving or “autonomous” vehicles (AVs) stand to revolutionize transportation in the U.S. and around the world. It’s important that they’re designed to be inclusive of everyone. To promote accessibility for people with disabilities in the design of AVs, the U.S. Access Board is hosting “Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles: A Public Dialogue” with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living, and other federal agencies. 

This national online dialogue is open to the public at this time. You’re invited to share your ideas for designing AVs that are inclusive of everyone, including passengers with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. The dialogue hosts want to hear from you about: 

  • Design and development of AVs to ensure accessible entering, exiting, onboard maneuvering, and securement for individuals with mobility disabilities; 
  • Accessible ride hailing, on-board communication, and interacting with AVs for passengers with hearing, visual or cognitive disabilities; and 
  • Ideas for future research needs and next steps required to ensure accessible design and development of AVs for those with disabilities.  

Join the dialogue at any time now through May 5 to submit your ideas or to comment and vote on ideas submitted by others. Visit to participate at your convenience.  

Virtual Public Meetings on AVs 

The dialogue is being held in conjunction with the Board's public series of four virtual meetings on making AVs accessible to passengers with disabilities. Visit the Board’s AV webpage for more information about the series. 

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is opening a 30-day public comment period on its findings about home and community-based service long-term care settings that were identified for heightened scrutiny review. Review is needed to determine if these settings are truly home and community based and not institutional. This public comment period is in accordance with federal requirements.

DHS operates several home and community-based services long-term care programs under federal authority from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicaid waiver funding for these programs can only be used to support people living in community-based settings, and cannot be used to support someone who is living in an institution. Review is needed for settings that are located within another facility that provides inpatient treatment (like a skilled nursing facility), on the grounds of a public institution (like an inpatient facility that is financed and operated by a county, state, municipality, or other unit of government), or because of other factors that may lead to isolating some people from the broader community.

DHS has conducted a heightened scrutiny review process and determined there is enough evidence to show CMS that these settings are not institutional in nature and that they meet CMS’ compliance requirements. The evidence from the heightened scrutiny review is documented in “evidentiary summaries.”

Public comment is an opportunity to support or rebut information DHS obtained from its heightened scrutiny reviews of facility-submitted documentation and onsite visits.

Find more information about the public comment period, along with a list of the settings and their evidentiary summaries, on the DHS website.

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Member Spotlight: Julie Burish

By SD Network, 2021-02-23

View recent photos.pngMeet new InControl Wisconsin board member, Julie! As a strong parent advocate, she’s involved with many various advocacy boards. As one of the founders of the Save IRIS movement, she’s a huge advocate for self-direction. She encourages everyone to remember the word “self” in self-direction and to get involved in some sort of advocacy. We’re so fortune to have Julie as a member of the Network!

How are you involved with self-determination? What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Julie is the parent of an amazing young woman with a disability and since the day she was born they wanted her life to be as much like that of her brother's as possible. Julie explains they believe that having a disability should not hinder her ability to live the life she wants. “Just like anyone else, she should be able to pursue her goals and dreams and to make the choices that are right for her.  I've devoted much of my energy over the years to clearing a path for her to succeed,” Julie says.  When her daughter was approaching 18-years-old, they found that the IRIS program perfectly embraced their values. She shares that self-direction was what they envisioned for her from day one!  “Because why wouldn't the best option for a person (with or without a disability) be to decide what support they need, choosing who they would like to help them and deciding how they want to live their life,” she exclaims!

Julie was always very active in school and in the community around disability issues, but it wasn't until 2014 when she enrolled in Partners in Policymaking that she truly found her "tribe".  “Partners in Policymaking brought me to a place where I was no longer an "army of one" but rather, part of a "force of many,’" she enthusiastically says!  It changed her life in the most wonderful and empowering way!  Her Partners class led the charge to create the grassroots organization Save IRIS that successfully did just that...they saved IRIS!

Currently, she sits on the IRIS Advisory Committee, the WI Rehabilitation Council (DVR), she’s a new member of InControl Wisconsin board and she sits on a DHS Long-Term Care Stakeholder committee. She hopes that the work that she’s involved in and the voice that she adds contributes positively to improving and increasing self-direction not only in state programs but in the lives of people with disabilities! 

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

Julie shares that the fact that Wisconsin has the IRIS program is, in itself, good news. She says, “our IRIS program is one of best examples of what self-direction should look like in long term care.”  

She explains that the challenge that we all need to be aware of is that most of the people who administer government programs and who legislate policies that affect self-direction, well-meaning as they may be, are usually not people with disabilities nor do they have people with disabilities in their lives.  “So, often many of the finer points of their decisions just don't come with a complete understanding about how it is to actually try to live a dignified, self-directed, community-based life when you have a disability,” she exclaims!  

It's up to all of us to know what's going on that affects us and our lives and to give voice to our needs and concerns. She’d like to challenge everyone reading this to attend at least one of the following meetings.  She explains that they all deal with decisions that directly affect your lives and your services and all of them have a time for public comment where you can give input, voice a concern, express appreciation or ask that a topic be considered.  Also, she encourages everyone to consider making an application to be appointed to one of them. “Remember "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu!". Let's make sure we're the ones helping to make the decisions that affect our lives,” she says!  

IRIS Advisory Committee

Long Term Care Council

WI Rehabilitation Council (Deals with DVR and Job issues)

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

Julie thinks that the most important thing for anyone to remember is the "self" in self-direction!  “It's your life and you are the person who should be driving the direction it takes,” she tells us. She explains that the people you choose to help you (parents, guardians, supported decision makers, family, friends, support brokers...) are there to listen and to HEAR what you want and to help you achieve YOUR goals!  “Always remember!  It's YOUR life,” she exclaims!

What are some of your hobbies?

Julie loves to gardening, cooking and traveling (not much of that lately!).  However, her real  passion is disability advocacy. “And since all of the advocacy I do is voluntary, I guess it also qualifies as a hobby,” she says.

***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.

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has opened a new funding opportunity for a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) Program on Blindness and Low Vision.

The purpose of the RERC program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act by conducting advanced engineering research on and development of innovative technologies that are designed to solve particular rehabilitation problems or to remove environmental barriers. RERCs also demonstrate and evaluate such technologies, facilitate service delivery system changes, stimulate the production and distribution of new technologies and equipment in the private sector, and provide training opportunities.

RERC on Blindness and Low VisionThis particular opportunity is for an RERC to conduct research and development activities toward technologies that will promote independence and community living among people with low vision and blindness.

View more details and application instructions.

Please visit the link above for more details about the grant opportunity and application process. This grant opportunity closes on April 19, 2021.

According to a new report, people with disabilities had far fewer problems with voting accessibility in 2020 than in 2012. The gap between disabled and non-disabled voters who experienced voting problems also narrowed significantly. About 75% of voters with disabilities used early voting or mail-in voting in 2020. 

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As health systems continue to test approaches to better health care quality, the delivery of person-centered care — defined as care that is guided by people's preferences, needs, and values — is key for health care system transformation. In a recent report, researchers analyzed responses to the question, “When thinking about your experiences with the health care system over the past year, how often were your preferences for care taken into account. This will help to better understand how aging adults experience care, if their preferences are acknowledged, and whether their experiences vary by race and ethnicity, wealth and income, and/or insurance status.

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