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Jules Edwards.

Autism Lives

MNLEND fellow Jules Edwards (pictured) was 32 when she was diagnosed with autism, along with her children. It led to a deeper understanding of herself and the world around her. She is now a leader in Minnesota’s autism advocacy community.

And as April brings the annual shower of stories about autism – it is called Autism Awareness Month by some groups and Autism Acceptance Month by others – she hopes a similar understanding breaks through the messaging. “Autism isn’t good, and it isn’t bad. It just is.” Read more.

Report title with logos of ICI and NADSP.

Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Report: Six-Month Follow-up

ICI, in partnership with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, surveyed approximately 9,000 direct support professionals (DSPs) from across the country about their experiences supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during the COVID-19 pandemic. DSPs are interdisciplinary professionals who provide complex and essential supports to individuals with IDD, making community inclusion a reality. This is a six-month follow-up report to the initial report completed in April 2020 and is the largest study conducted on the direct support workforce.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly half (47%) said they had been exposed to COVID-19 at work and their exposure was higher in congregate facilities than in individual or family homes.
  • 97% of workers self-identified as essential workers, but only 30% received salary augmentations.
  • Black/African American DSPs were paid less per hour than white DSPs, and a higher percentage of Black/African American DSPs worked 40 or more additional hours per week.

Read more.

RTC-OM logo.

Better Measures for Better Results in Community Living

Medicaid spends more than a billion dollars per week on Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). But how do we know all that money is really helping Americans with disabilities live their best lives in their own homes and communities?

The answer is better measurement. This new ICI series of educational modules from the RTC-OM explains measurement basics, especially in the HCBS context. The modules include short videos from experts in the measurement and HCBS fields. Read more.