TCDD Extra: June 2024

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Table of Contents

Welcome to the latest edition of TCDD Extra — a newsletter published every two months with a selection of recent disability news, resources, training, advocacy opportunities, and other information. This newsletter features TCDD-led initiatives as well as information from other disability organizations, government agencies, and news outlets.

In this edition:

  • new TCDD grant funding opportunities;
  • webinar on the deaf and hard of hearing tuition waiver;
  • disability community liaisons for refugee groups; 
  • Lex Friedman Employment Awards nominations;
  • and more.

Applications Open for 2 New TCDD Grant Projects

TCDD has issued Requests for Applications (RFA) for two new grant opportunities. These grants will :

  • support projects to increase choice-making skills among youth with developmental disabilities (DD) from birth to age 14; and
  • promote self-determination for people with DD so they can better navigate their health care.  

The deadline to apply for both RFAs is 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on Friday, Aug. 23. Learn more about these opportunities and find information on the application process.

Webinar on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Tuition Waiver

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) will host a webinar from noon to 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, July 10, to provide information on the Certification of Deafness Tuition Waiver program. The waiver allows deaf and hard of hearing students in Texas to waive tuition fees at public colleges, universities, and technical schools. The webinar is intended for professionals who work with:

  • current and prospective students who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • high school and college students who are deaf or hard of hearing; and
  • parents of deaf and hard of hearing students.  

The webinar’s presenters include Olivia Rains, a communication access specialist with DHHS, and Melissa Bell, an outreach development specialist at DHHS. You can register online for this free webinar. If you have any questions, please email DHHS.

Project Spotlight: Support for Older Adults & Caregivers

The Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) recently completed a TCDD-funded project in the San Antonio area to holistically address the health and well-being of older adults with DD and caregivers. The project provided classes and other educational resources to meet wide-ranging nutrition, fitness, and wellness needs.

Visit the AACOG Support and Empowerment Program webpage to learn more about the project. On the webpage, you can access educational videos covering important topics related to aging with DD and providing care to someone aging with DD. You can also download a resource guide and a “health passport” that people with DD and their caregivers can use to compile important information they may want to share with a doctor, service professional, or other support providers.

Become a Disability Community Liaison

TCDD and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (AgriLife) are looking for people and organizations with strong ties to refugee populations across Texas to serve as disability community liaisons. These liaisons will lead community conversations to gather important insight on disability issues that impact people in refugee groups. The liaisons will lead discussions, engage with a diverse refugee community, and provide valuable feedback. This initiative is done through a regional coordinator partnership between TCDD and AgriLife. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please apply online by Friday, June 28.

Nominations Due for Lex Frieden Awards

The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD), in partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Workforce Solutions, is seeking nominations for the 2024 Lex Frieden Employment Awards. The annual awards recognize Texas employers who consistently exceeded requirements to ensure people with disabilities are fully included in the workplace. Nominations for this year’s awards are due by Sunday, June 30. To find submission guidelines, review award categories, and fill out nomination forms, visit the GCPD website.

Raising Awareness for Mental Health Care

For Mental Health Awareness Month in May, TCDD encouraged everyone to join the effort to raise awareness of mental health conditions and counter the stigma many people with mental health diagnoses often face. You can find more information from TCDD, including information on recent interim charges from the Texas House and Senate that involve mental health care. You can also learn about recent TCDD grant projects that address the complex mental health needs of people who are dually diagnosed with DD and mental health conditions.

Celebrating Older Americans and Older Texans

Also in May, TCDD celebrated Older Americans Month and Older Texans Month. These occasions recognize the contributions to our communities made by older adults, including those with DD. It’s also a time to highlight aging trends and raise awareness of the challenges faced by many aging adults. The U.S. Administration for Community Living leads the national observance and selected this year’s theme, “Powered by Connection,” to recognize the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on health and well-being.

You can use TCDD’s resources and information to help improve the lives of older adults with DD, in Texas and nationwide, through strengthening supports and services while addressing barriers to community inclusion and independent living.


"Personal preparedness is the first line of defense for both hurricane season and other disasters that might occur across the state. Always make sure to follow basic preparedness guidelines such as keeping extra food, water, and medication.”

— Excerpt from a guest article on hurricane preparedness for people with disabilities by Crystal Goodwin, TCDD’s public health and disability integration specialist. Hurricane season in Texas began June 1 and continues through November.



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