The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) held its quarterly Council and Committee meetings virtually from May 4-7, 2021. During the meetings, the Council awarded funding to continue the development of TCDD projects and approved a plan to review TCDD’s state administrative rules.
Council members also received updates on Texas legislative activities as well as efforts to support people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri.
Funding Awards and Stipends
TCDD invests in projects to strengthen service and support systems across Texas and build community capacity to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This quarter, the Council awarded funding to continue the development of four TCDD projects.
The following list includes the organizations and projects that were awarded continuation funding along with summaries of the projects’ goals.
Project Amistad — Peer Support Specialist Network: Develop peer-support training for people with IDD in El Paso County who live in state-supported living centers, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, and other institutions. Participants receive support to understand their rights, learn about opportunities available in their communities, and lead or participate in their own person-centered planning process.
Special Olympics Texas — Healthy LEAP (Lifestyle, Education, And Practice): Improve health education and practices through an inclusive school health program. The statewide project provides instruction and support to grade-school students with and without IDD on ways to maintain their health and wellness.
The Arc of Texas — The Whole Person Project: Expand access to mental health care services and supports for people with IDD by developing training for mental health care providers and other professionals across Texas.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School — Sexual Assault Response and Prevention: Research and analyze sexual assault prevention, reporting, and criminal prosecution in cases involving people with IDD in Texas.
In addition to funding projects, TCDD provides stipends to organizations to increase access to disability-related information and advocacy opportunities. Stipends can be used for speakers, translation and interpretation services, and events. However, the events stipends have been suspended until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This quarter, the Council awarded speaker stipends to two organizations:
- Harris County Department of Education — ADHD Training
- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities-Texas Chapter (AAIDD-TX) — 45th Annual AAIDD-TX Convention
TCDD looks forward to working with its grantees to advance positive change and create more inclusive communities. To learn more about TCDD grant opportunities and stipends, see Projects.
The Council approves and monitors TCDD’s state plan, which guides its projects and policy work. This quarter, the Council considered future state plan activities, including projects to:
- expand the capacity of organizations that have previously received TCDD funding so the organizations can build cultural competence and understanding within their communities;
- promote civic engagement by people with IDD through training programs that provide the necessary experience and skills; and
- develop an event to continue leadership and advocacy education for TCDD grantees and trainees.
Council members also approved a plan to review TCDD’s state administrative rules. As a state agency, TCDD must review its rules in the Texas Administrative Code at least once every four years. The Council’s review plan will be posted on the TCDD website and in the Texas Register for a 30-day public comment period.
Presentations and Discussion
Council members heard presentations from The Arc of the Capital Area, Community Healthcore, and Goodwill Industries of East Texas. These three organizations recently completed projects funded by TCDD mini-grants. The projects focused on helping people with IDD build the skills and confidence to find meaningful employment in their communities.
- The Arc of the Capital Area coordinated online training to help participants update their resumes, develop their computer literacy, and practice job skills.
- Community Healthcore organized training sessions to increase family and employer expectations around people with IDD working in jobs of their choice.
- Goodwill Industries of East Texas developed individualized training that helped participants outline their goals and needs when seeking jobs.
The Council also received an update from TCDD Public Policy Director Scott Daigle on how the 87th Texas Legislature has addressed disability-related issues and legislation. Daigle led Council members in an interactive game to provide educational details about the legislative session and the status of TCDD’s featured Bill of the Week.
Since January 2021, TCDD’s policy team has shared 16 legislative updates and 15 Bills of the Week to keep disability advocates informed. During this session, the policy team has increased its effort to provide public testimony on disability-related legislation. View TCDD’s public testimony.
During the Council’s Public Policy Committee meeting, Council members discussed their experiences during Winter Storm Uri and shared their advocacy efforts to shed light on the experiences of people with IDD during the severe storm. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and Winter Storm Uri, advancing disaster preparedness continues to be a top priority for the Council.
As Texans continue to recover in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri, you can visit the TCDD website to find information on how to take action to help people with disabilities as well as health and safety resources.
TCDD continues to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the TCDD website, you can find COVID-19 Information and Resources, including information on getting vaccinated, keeping yourself and your family safe, and sharing your experiences with decision-makers.