Minutes — February 2018Committee of the Whole Meeting


Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Kristine Clark
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Mary Faithfull, DRTx
  • Sue Fielder, HHSC — Older Americans Act
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS — Maternal and Child Health
  • Jennifer Kaut, TWC — Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Michael Peace
  • Dana Perry
  • Amy Sharp, UT CDS
  • Stephanie Stephens, HHSC — Medicaid
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • Richard Tisch
  • Dalun Zhang, A&M CDD

Council Members Absent

  • Mateo Delgado
  • Ruth Mason
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Ron Roberts, TEA — IDEA
  • John Thomas

Guests Present

  • Jan Brown
  • Sharon Cheng
  • Gina Matizzi-Fuller
  • Steve Murdock
  • Alexandra Noble
  • Christa Walikonis
  • Tiffany Williams
  • Nancy Yeh

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Robert Garcia
  • Linda Logan
  • Sylvia Medina
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Committee of the Whole of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Thursday, February 8, 2018 in the Hill Country C Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 9:35 am.

  1. Introductions
    Council members, staff and guests introduced themselves. Council Chair Durheim reviewed the agendas and discussion items for the meetings. Stephanie Stephens is attending as a representative of the HHSC/Medicaid program but is not a voting member.

  2. Public Comments
    Chair Durheim invited Jan Brown, project coordinator for Texas Partners in Policymaking, to speak on the progress of the class. Brown reported that participants have three more sessions and are working on to complete class projects. She invited Council members to attend the mock legislative hearings on February 17, 2018 when participants will practice giving testimony and personal stories, and to attend the class graduation on April 14, 2018.

  3. Changing Texas Demographics: Disability, Aging and Ethnicity
    Executive Director Beth Stalvey introduced Steve Murdock, PhD who is a professor of Sociology at Rice University and formerly a demographer for the state of Texas. Murdock discussed changes to the Texas population based on census data including how populations of metropolitan areas of Texas compare to the rest of the country. He noted changes based on race/ethnicity, age groups, education, and socio-economic status and indicated projections for future census data. He reported that, assuming rates of net migration level to 2000 to 2010, the non-Hispanic white population is expected to decrease while the non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic populations are expected to increase and the poverty rate is expected to increase. He also discussed the role that education plays in higher levels of employment and reduced poverty and the disparities in education levels across racial/ethnic groups.

  4. Grantee Presentation by Light & Salt Association
    Executive Director Stalvey introduced Sharon Cheng and Nancy Yeh of Light & Salt Association. Cheng is the project director of the Culturally Appropriate Family Supports grant. She explained the first goal of the project to improve the life of at least 100 individuals with developmental disabilities by providing culturally and linguistically appropriate community-based services and supports. The project serves individuals in Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, Brazoria and Galveston counties. While most of the individuals served are Asian, others include Indian, White and Hispanic backgrounds. Part of the grant includes Project SMILE for adults which includes self-advocacy, moving toward good health, independent living, learning basic job skills, and emotion regulation skills. A second goal of the project is to empower at least 100 Asian American family members with better knowledge, resources, and skills to raise children with developmental disabilities. They provide support at special education Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings, conduct one-on-one consultations, and hold support meetings or workshops for parents.

    Yeh discussed the focus groups conducted with parents of children with developmental disabilities which included identifying goals and challenges of raising their children. Keys to success include bilingual staff, quality programming, family-centered programs, and comprehensive programs that meet all the individuals’ needs. Challenges include facilities and budget, organizational limits of day-programming, having consistent volunteers, and transportation for participants.

  5. Council Member Resources
    Executive Assistant Koren Vogel conducted a participation exercise to show common interests among members. She then discussed the results of a recent survey of Council members that identified member strengths in advocacy efforts such as meeting with legislators, speaking in front of others, and representing TCDD. She reported on issue areas of expertise Council members as well as areas they have interest in learning. Members expressed interest in hosting information/education sessions and/or webinars for invited guests or members of the public to share knowledge of developmental disabilities issues.


Council Chair Durheim adjourned the Committee of the Whole at 1:01 pm.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council