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The 2020 Election was like no other. Between happening in the middle of a pandemic, the controversy counting votes, the increased notion of voter fraud, and the delayed Presidential transition process, it's likely that this election will be talked about for years to come. Despite all of the challenges, the the election, voters with disabilities may have turned out more than people anticipated. It will be awhile before all of the statistics are available, but so far, it appears likely that more people with disabilities participated than ever before. It also appears that fewer barriers were reported than in a "normal"  election. 

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR) recently announced a partnership with Trualta, a new free online educational tool for family caregivers across the state. It helps caregivers learn about health issues, care techniques, and managing care for clients during the flu season. The modules provide caregivers information about how to safely provide clients hands-on care, how to connect families with support agencies, and other resources in an easy to use format. 

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Member Spotlight: Emily Gollmer


By SD Network, 2020-11-19

unnamed.jpgMeet Emily. As a self-advocate, she is involved in and works for the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin. She helps plan a networking conference for people with Autism. Between working and volunteering, she doesn’t have much spare time, but when she does, she enjoys hiking and biking. She wants to encourage people to be confident and stick to who they are. We’re so fortune to have Emily as a member of the Network! 

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

Emily is originally from Darlington, WI. Her family moved to Stevens Point, WI her junior year of high school. She graduated from Mid-State Technical College with an Associate’s Degree in 2010. She shares that around that time, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism).She worked in assisted living facilities and then moved to Madison in 2017. She has been recently working in an office doing clerical work.

How are you involved with Self-Determination? Why did you join the SD Network?

Since moving to Madison, Emily has been involved with the Autism Society of South Central WI. She is the Administrative Assistant for the Autism Adult Support Group. She is also on the planning committee for INTEGRAL Autism Conference. “INTEGRAL means Interactive Networking, Talks & Education for Growing Autism Legitimacy. This conference is geared toward young adults on the autism spectrum. However, everyone is welcome to participate,” she explains.

Emily worked at and now volunteers for Prosperity Pathways and Onward and Upward. She shares that Prosperity Pathways is the ultimate work-at-home source with guaranteed employment positions for remote and onsite jobs. They share the tips, tricks, and techniques to be successful in getting hired. We are growing and getting more job-ready training programs underwritten by sponsors leading to immediate employment in different industries. Onward and Upward helps people who do not have a home and do not have access to a computer.

Tell us some good news: What’s the most exciting thing happening for  you (or in Wisconsin) in terms of Self-Determination?

Emily is excited that they were able to hold the INTEGRAL conference virtually on October 24th, 2020. She’s also excited that she recently moved into her own apartment.

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

Emily encourages people to be confident and to stick up for themselves. She says, “use available resources and know who you really are." 

What are some of your hobbies?

Emily enjoys doing such things as reading, biking and hiking. She also loves to read, color, do puzzles, and play cards and board games.

***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.


Most people don't think twice about completing simple tasks such as slicing bread or doing laundry, but for people with disabilities, technology equipment often help them do these basic tasks. Cybathlon is a global competition for people with physical disabilities to compete in performing everyday tasks using state-of-the-art technologies. It isn't a competition, it's used to showcase new technologies available. 

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A recent survey found that nearly half of Wisconsin's direct care workers work a second job to support themselves. Advocacy groups behind the survey are urging the state Legislature to implement the recommendations from the Governor's Task Force on Caregiving which includes rate increases and possible providing benefits such as paid time off and health insurance. 

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The briefing paper linked below is a summary of the work done by national Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders or WINGS. The Administration on Community Living (ACL) provided funding to the American Bar Association (ABA) to administer grants to states. WI did not receive a grant, but under the leadership of Judge Shirley Abrahamson, formed a workgroup and received technical assistance from the (ABA). The WI WINGS group played an instrumental role in passing the WI Supported Decision-Making legislation Wis.Stats.Ch 52. (2017 Wisconsin Act 345), resulting in a Supported Decision-Making Agreement in state statute.

Briefing paper

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The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) shares its biennial report with you, highlighting the programs it created and policies it impacted to create opportunities and break down barriers for Wisconsinites living with disabilities. This report highlights how BPDD quickly pivoted this year to address the added health and safety risks and social isolation that the COVID pandemic created, as well as program and policy impacts we had that affected employment, voting, transportation, supported decision-making, self-determination and many other issues important to people with developmental disabilities and their families.

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Member Spotlight: Anastasia Wilson


By SD Network, 2020-11-09

stasia.jpgMeet Anastasia. This talented artist doesn’t let her limitations get in the way of pursuing her dreams. She views her disabilities as side notes, and she loves being an advocate. She encourages people to not only to stay calm and speak his / her mind, but to also use humor whenever possible to lighten the mood and put people at ease. We’re so fortune to have Anastasia as a member of the Network!

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

Anastasia views herself as an artist first, and she views her disabilities as just side notes. “They are issues that I need to handle so I can follow my passion for art and hopefully become a well-known artist,” she explains. To help us to have a deeper appreciation for her art, she shares some information about her disabilities.  When she was born, she had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and chest--cutting off the oxygen to my brain. The doctors were afraid that she wouldn’t survive. Luckily, she was a fighter even way back then. The lack of oxygen caused a brain injury resulting in her Cerebral Palsy.

Anastasia uses the latest assistive technology to help her lead an active life. “My mom says I have the coolest toys,” she exclaims! Her communication device tracks her eyes to select the buttons. She explains that when her first physical therapist in grade school noticed that she has the most control over her neck and head, her father started to make her headsticks so she could create 2d arts. “There were many modifications to the headsticks over the years to assist me to pursue my dreams,” she says. 

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

Anastasia joined the SD Network because she enjoys being an advocate for children with disabilities, and seeing them shine in the community.  

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

Anastasia has opened a business to sell her works and to enter into art exhibitions.  She has a webpage, HeadStrongArt.net, where people can buy her works or ask for a commission.  She runs her business at home. She explains that working from home is the perfect situation for her because when she needs something, her aides are right there to help.  She has a drafting table that she drives her wheelchair underneath when she’s creating art.  Usually, she leaves her art supplies set up so she can just pull up underneath the table when she’s ready to work. After her aide places her headstick on her head and gets some paints, she paints independently. She shares that often when she paints, she enters into a meditative state; she can take a break from the world for a while. Right now, she’s working on a new body of work about her life and disabilities. She shares that when she tells people about this idea, often they express that she should paint about a happier subject matter. However, she doesn't view her life and her assistive technology negatively. In these works, she wants to celebrate the assistive technology that helps her to live a full life. She’s also painting portraits that illustrate the whole person showing their disability because she wants to show the humanity of having a disability. “If young people with disabilities would see some more images of people who are similar to themselves, they will be more likely to grow up believing in their potential.  I am hoping by painting portraits of myself and friends who are disabled, I am helping to fill that need in our society,” she says.    

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

Anastasia’s tip for people who want to be self-determined is to stay calm and speak your mind even when people might disagree.  Additionally, she suggests to use humor to lift the mood and to put people at ease.  She also suggests that a great resource for people with disabilities who want to become a leader is the LEND program at the Waisman Center. The class teaches how to be a self-advocate and an advocate for children with disabilities. The main requirement is college experience.  

What are some of your hobbies?

Anastasia enjoys listening to books or music while she paints. She also plays around with writing.  She likes to write short stories and poems. Her other hobbies are being in nature and playing with my dogs.

***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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