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Intellectual Disability Update #09-01: Autism Awareness Month, Conferences/Trainings; ODP Information Centers; Renewing ISPs; Social Security Stimulus Payments; Personal Needs Allowance; Terminology Changes; Death Penalty Legislation
April 1, 2009

April is Autism Awareness Month
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed resolution HR150 that recognizes the month of April as “Autism Awareness Month” and April 2 as “World Autism Day.” The Bureau of Autism Services shares information on trainings and conference to address issues. These include:

  • April 9, “First Responders Autism Workshop,” Harrisburg Area Community College with details available by contacting emstrng@hacc.edu;
  • April and May sessions in three regions to address “Future of PA Autism Services” with details available by contacting dpw-autismoffice@state.pa.us;
  • May 27-29, “A New vision for Autism Services: Practical Strategies and Solutions,” PA Autism Training Conference at Eden Resort, Lancaster, with details available at www.solutionwhere.com/bastraining/cw/main.asp; and
  • August 3-7, “National Autism Conference” at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, with details available after April 30 at www.outreach.psu.edu.

ODP Information Centers
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has established a variety of information centers at www.odpconsulting.net. These include the Administrative Entity Information Center, Provider Information Center, and Supports Coordination Organization Information Center. Registration is not required to access many of the materials contained on any of these pages. However, by registering individual’s will receive periodic updates and communications about specific information.

Renewing ISPs
ODP has issued Informational Memo #003-09 to provide instructions to Individual Support Plan (ISP) team members when preparing 2009/10 renewal plans for persons served through the waivers. A new team meeting is not necessary when an annual review meeting occurred prior to the availability of the 2009/10 service definitions in HCSIS and the person’s current services will be unchanged. Nor will the meeting be necessary when the changes to ISP are due to a new name, description, procedure code or units designation as a result of the new service definitions.  A copy of the memo is available from Linda Drummond (linda@paproviders.org) or www.odpconsulting.net.

Social Security and SSI Stimulus Payments
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides a one-time payment of $250 to beneficiaries receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Payments will be sent in late May and should be received no later than the first week of June. This will be a separate payment and will not included in the regular monthly benefit payment. No action is required by the beneficiary. Information is available at www.ssa.gov/payment.

Personal Needs Allowance
The Department of Public Welfare increased the personal needs allowance for personal care home residents in January from $60 to $85 per month. This is the first increase since 1993. The increase coincided with the federal SSI benefit increase of $37 per month.

Terminology Changes
A recent article in NASDDDS’s Community Services Reporter (Volume 16, Number 3) provided information regarding how states are handling the removal of the term mental retardation and using more acceptable terminology. State agency name changes include:

  • three states use intellectual disability,
  • 20 include developmental disabilities,
  • six use development services or programs,
  • seven use disability services, and
  • others use cognitive disabilities, disabilities and special needs, or persons with disabilities.

Death Penalty Legislation

The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed and voted out of committee Senate Bill 628 which would implement a 2002 US Supreme Court decision banning executions of persons with mental retardation/intellectual disability. This legislation would use the most current and consistent definition of mental retardation, require a pre-trial procedure to apply that definition, and a judge would make the determination. A copy of the legislation is available at www.legis.state.pa.us.

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