Langevin Announces Grant for R.I. Developmental Disabilities Council

Sep 19, 2002
(Warwick, R.I.)–Congressman Jim Langevin today announced that The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) has been awarded a one-year, $99,414 federal grant to develop a program to involve high school students with developmentally disabled children and their families.

The leadership program at Hope High School in Providence and the CEDARR Center Family Services will cooperate in this model program. CEDARR provides support for families caring for children with a serious emotional disturbance, serious health problems, autism or other developmental disability. It provides assessment, diagnosis, care and service planning.

"Children with disabilities will be rewarded with a rich relationship outside their family and support network and high school students will discover that persons with disabilities are unique individuals with interesting, meaningful lives, not hopeless folks deserving pity," said Marie Citrone, Executive Director, RIDDC.

 "For millions of Americans living with developmental disabilities, every day is an uphill climb," said Congressman Langevin.  "This federal award will provide the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council with additional resources to expedite the journey to independence for those in our state who need assistance, while encouraging positive and mutually rewarding relationships between high school students and developmentally disabled children in our community."  

Hope High School students will earn course credit while helping to staff CEDARR programs, and children with disabilities and their families will encounter teenagers who have the potential to become advocates and mentors.  Relationships between students and children are expected to produce mutual regard, friendships, and the gratification that comes with social exchange, affection and camaraderie.

The model program will also develop practical, tested strategies and procedures, curricular materials, evaluation forms and related documents that can be used by anyone interested in connecting high school service learning projects and disability-related service sites. Products produced during the project will be available on paper, CD-ROM, and Web sites.

Work under the grant will be done by the Institute of Quality of Life, co-directed by Kathleen Fresher-Samways and Susan Roush, Ph.D.  Fresher-Samways is a physical therapist.  Roush is a professor at the URI Physical Therapy Program.  She holds a doctorate in educational psychology with major studies in measurement, statistics and research design.

There are approximately 4 million Americans living with some form of a developmental disability, which is an impairment due to mental or physical challenges.  Most occur before the age of 22 and continue for life.  The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) reports that these challenges result in substantial limitations in three or more areas: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency, as well as the continuous need for individually planned and coordinated services.

Rhode Island won the grant in a competitive application process from the federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council, with an office in Warwick, is a federally-funded body whose members are persons with developmental disabilities, family members or persons who work for state or private agencies.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, ADD ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to culturally competent services, supports, and other assistance and opportunities that promote independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion into the community.

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For more information, contact Marie Citrone, Executive Director, RI
Developmental Disabilities Council
Voice/TDD 401-737-1238
email riddc@riddc.org