You are currently viewing Ohio’s Blueprint for Developmental Disabilities (S7E14)

Ohio’s Blueprint for Developmental Disabilities (S7E14)

Episode Summary:

In this episode, Rob sits down with Kimberly Hauck, the Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD). They discuss the crucial role the DODD plays in supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families across Ohio. Kimberly details her journey from starting as a direct support professional to leading the department, emphasizing the department’s commitment to advocacy and resource provision.

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– Host: Rob Gorski

– Guest: Kimberly Hauck, Director, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities

Key Points Discussed:

1. Kimberly Hauck’s Background:

– Over 30 years in the field of developmental disabilities, starting as a direct support professional and special education teacher, before moving into administrative roles.

– Committed advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

2. Role of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities:

– Oversees local county boards, serves as a regulator for service providers, and ensures accessibility to funds and resources for developmental support.

3. Transitioning from Youth to Adult Services:

– Importance of early intervention and support as individuals with disabilities transition from school to adult life.

4. County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ Role:

– Help families navigate complex systems, manage eligibility for services, and support transitions.

– Provide various supports, including respite services and accessibility improvements in local communities.

5. Impact of Accessible Infrastructure:

– Recent initiatives to enhance accessibility, such as universal changing tables and accessible playgrounds, under Kimberly’s leadership.

6. Advice for Parents and Caregivers:

– Encouragement to connect with local resources early to maximize support and prepare for future independence of their children.

Resources Mentioned:

NASDDDS website for national disability resources

– Early intervention programs for children from birth until age three


Kimberly and Rob emphasize the importance of seeking help and utilizing available services, aiming to inspire and inform families about the support structures in place to foster independence and a better quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

Calls to Action:

– Visit DODD’s website for more information and resources.

– Reach out to your local board of DD to explore services and support available in your area.

Mentioned in this episode:

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Rob Gorski: [00:00:00] Welcome to the autism dad podcast. I’m Rob Gorski for the past seven seasons. This podcast has provided parents with education, community resources, and validation. This season, you’ll hear from parents just like you, as well as my own kids, who will offer their unique perspectives on what it’s like for them to navigate the world as young autistic people.

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Welcome back folks. My name is Rob Gorski, and this is the autism dad podcast. I’ve got a fantastic episode for you guys today. I recently sat down with Kim Hauk. She is the director for the Ohio department of developmental disabilities. And we have a conversation about what the Ohio department of DD does, like at a state level How they oversee the local County boards of DD.

We talk about adult transitional things like as our kids age out of the, uh, high school services and stuff like that and age into adulthood. And she also helps people who are not living in the state of Ohio connect with [00:01:00] resources in the state with which they live in. So I really appreciate you guys and I hope you enjoy the interview.

Thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show. I really appreciate it. Could you take a second and introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Kim Hauck: Hi. Sure. Uh, my name is Kim Hauk and I am the director at the Ohio department of developmental disabilities. Um, so I’ve been here at the department for about 10 years now.

Uh, before that I worked out in the field. Um, I started in the late eighties. I started as a direct support professional. Wow. Um, and at an intermediate care facility down in the Cincinnati area, um, went to college and became a special ed teacher. So when I graduated, started teaching, um, and worked down, um, in Hamilton County at their board of developmental disabilities for about 22 years, and then came up here to the state.

So came [00:02:00] as the chief policy officer and then, you know, some other things. Helped transition our early intervention services from the department of health over here. Um, and then I’ve been the director for two years.

Rob Gorski: How do you like it?

Kim Hauck: I love it. I really love it. I love, um, what I get to do every day. I love meeting with different people, um, talking to people with disabilities, talking to their families, um, working with, uh, local providers and county boards.

It’s, um, it’s been a great experience.

Rob Gorski: So, so you started out like in the trenches. like I

Kim Hauck: did.

Rob Gorski: That’s so cool. I, I, I like, I love that kind of story because you, you have insights. Into what parents and people are dealing with, you know, every day. And then how, you know, the department can be there to better meet their needs and support what they’re doing.

That’s very cool. So what exactly, well, let me, let me ask you like this. So, you know, people [00:03:00] listening will be all over the country, although it’s all over the world. But we’re just going to focus on what the Ohio department of development of disabilities does, because that’s what we’re here to do. What exactly does the Ohio department of development of disabilities?

Kim Hauck: Yeah. So, you know, something that’s, uh, a lot of people don’t know and that’s exciting is we are a cabinet agency, which means I report directly to Governor DeWine. Um, and there are very few states that have that opportunity. So, you know, I, um, get the experience of meeting with him, making sure that he understands the issues and, and what’s going on across Ohio in the disability world.

Um, Um, but here at the department, we really are, we serve as a resource and, um, a support for, um, our local counties. And we do serve as the regulator also of providers and of our County boards.

Rob Gorski: All right. So you guys are like, so like as, as parents, [00:04:00] we, we interact typically with the local board of DD.

Kim Hauck: That’s right. And so

Rob Gorski: you guys are in charge of. All of the state, all of the county boards of DD and state of Ohio.

Kim Hauck: Yeah, we are, we oversee, um, their Medicaid, um, expenditures, you know, that sort of thing that the services that they provide with their federal and state dollars. So every local county also has locally funded services and they can decide, um, how they spend those or what kind of services they provide with those funds.

But we do. We’re responsible to ensure that there is, um, you know, state accessibility to those funds.

Rob Gorski: Okay. So what, for the people out there and it’s surprising how many people I’ve connected with who, who don’t know what the board of DD does or what role it fills. And I, my oldest is. [00:05:00] Is, um, working with the star County board of DD currently he’s 24 transitioning into his adult life.

We went through OOD. He’s got his first job, learned that he’s going to be moving out here. Maybe by the time people actually hear this. Um, and the board of DD played a huge, huge support role in that. Can you, can you help parents understand what. Like what role the board of DD plays in the life of families and people living with disabilities?

Kim Hauck: Absolutely. So in Ohio, we have 88 counties, which I think is interesting for, you know, not everybody knows that. Um, and each county has a county board of developmental disabilities and they, um, first. You know, determine eligibility of people with disabilities. Are they eligible for services? Um, they assign everyone what we call a service and support administrator or an S.

S. A. And that’s like a case [00:06:00] manager, um, to help families navigate the system in the system is complex. Um, there’s a lot of. You know, talk waivers and services, supports, those sorts of things that can get really confusing in our system. Um, so the County Boards help families navigate and walk through all of those processes.

Rob Gorski: My. So I mentioned that my oldest, uh, we got connected with the board of DD. So I don’t know, about a year, a little over a year ago, I think a year and a half ago, maybe, and you know, he, he applied and was, was approved for the waiver program, which helps to cover his like transportation back and forth to work and it’ll help to cover transportation.

Like once he moves out and he’s living kind of his independent life, he wants to live, you His idea of independence for him that makes him happy is living in a group home. He wants to live with friends and order DoorDash and have like movie nights and whatever. So. You have more power to him. He’ll, he’ll do it.

Uh. That’s fantastic. You know, it’s really, it’s such a cool thing [00:07:00] because he’s one of those kids that no one ever thought he would be where he is today. And there were, there were too many problems when he was younger. He was, you know, we’re going to have to look at residential placement, like all of this stuff.

And now he’s, he’s, he’s, I’m so proud of him. It’s doing so well. And, uh, you know, I I’ve been lucky enough to be able to utilize a lot of the services that are provided in the area, but even as it’s like connected as I am, I’m still learning about things that I had no idea existed. And we connected with the board.

Much later in his life. So he was like 22 going on 23, which is pretty late, I think, to get connected. Uh, but what, like what age should parents reach out to the board of DD in their area and, you know, connect on, on that level?

Kim Hauck: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the earlier the better. Um, so all 88 of our county boards offer something called early intervention, which [00:08:00] is birth until your third birthday.

And so, you know, a lot of times we might not know that our child Needs those extra services, um, when they’re first born or, you know, as an infant or a toddler. But, um, you know, we try really hard to get engaged with families very early in their life and in their journey. So, um, you know, we have lots of different programs for youth, um, Um, you know, we connect with schools across the, the state, um, and do transition planning.

So you know, again, the earlier, um, the better.

Rob Gorski: So is there an age, is there an, is there like a cutoff for when someone, when someone is eligible to work with the board of DD and then when they. Like do they ever age out?

Kim Hauck: So you don’t, once you’re eligible, you don’t age out. It is a, um, you know, a birth and till death, you know, [00:09:00] kind of service and support, um, you do have to, uh, show signs of a disability before your 21st birthday to be eligible.

So, um, People who might be in a car accident later in life, you know, those sorts of things, aren’t typically found eligible at our county boards.

Rob Gorski: Okay. So what types of things For the average family, say like my, my kids are autistic and we have ADHD and you know, my oldest has a childhood disintegrative disorder.

And so he, he developed typically, he was very advanced until about four, four and a half and then just massive regression. And so he never, like we never quite fit in like any like common category. You know what, you know what I mean? Like we were always kind of in this gray area where finding support was very challenging.

What types of things. Can the board of DD provide for families, you know, [00:10:00] with, with, uh, with younger kids, maybe for early intervention. And then maybe we can follow up with that about, you know, that, that transition into adulthood.

Kim Hauck: Sure. So early intervention is a federal program. So they follow those, you know, federal kinds of supports and services.

So, um, developmental specialists who come into your home and, and work with your family, work with you, your child, your family. Um, and then, Speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, you know, all of those sorts of, um, supports, mental health, uh, providers, counselors, that sort of thing, you know, all of those services are available to families in early intervention, depending on your needs and, and your child’s needs.

Right. And then, you know, as you, uh, get older, Counties offer things like respite services. Um, a lot of times they’ll have, uh, programs where parents could maybe drop their kids off for just an evening a month or [00:11:00] something like that, or respite in your home, if that’s what you need. We right now are working with county boards on a huge accessibility, um, program.

So we’ve given counties funding, um, through some grants that we had Really look at their communities and, uh, adult changing tables and, and those sorts of things. So county boards really just look at the, the full age span and the needs of, of children and families again, no matter their age and what are the services and supports that families need.

And I think counties, especially with those locally funded services take different approaches.

Rob Gorski: Yeah, because, well, because it’s, it’s with there being so many, right. And, and, you know, each County having their own, there’s a lot of nuance that goes. Um, between county to county, but then overall, it’s sort of the same program, just sort of catered to the [00:12:00] needs of people in that specific community.

Kim Hauck: So you talked about your son having access to a waiver. Every county offers three different waivers, the self, so there’s three, you know, they’re just a little bit different and nuance, um, but every county offers those and those. Services are, are concrete defined in rules, those sorts of things. So like homemaker personal care, we call it HPC, you know, that’s going to look pretty much the same from, from county to county it’s those other services outside of the waiver that could look different.

Rob Gorski: And I’ve been, I’ve been seeing a lot of, uh, There’s been a lot of movement in the area of like accessible playgrounds for kids. We’ve been seeing there’s one that popped up in North Canton. There’s one that popped up in Stowe. Um, is that, is that sort of driven by this program?

Kim Hauck: So, um, with the grant money that we just gave out, communities could, or counties could ask [00:13:00] for those funds to be used for a variety of things, accessible playgrounds, accessible fairgrounds, or, you know, places where.

A lot of festivals might happen, or if they have a big downtown area, maybe they need curb cuts and ramps and those sorts of things. And then again, we made a really large investment in universal changing tables. There are 2 moms, Kim and Jennifer, who, um, Did a lot of work in that area. And so we were really happy to support them through the budget process and get some dedicated funding for that specific project.

Rob Gorski: Yeah, I, um, there was a movement. I can’t remember the name of the organization now that they started.

Kim Hauck: Changing spaces. Yes. Yes. They were on

Rob Gorski: a podcast a couple of years ago and, and talking about the importance of adult changing tables. And it’s not something that most people would ever think about, but it makes a huge difference in the lives of families who need to utilize that.

I’ve been seeing them pop up in, [00:14:00] in restrooms, uh, locally. And I, and it always makes me think of that, the conversation I have with them, cause that’s so cool that we are. We are moving in the right direction on that stuff. Um, just sort of because you you’ve been kind of involved in this field for a long time, what are, what are some of the positive changes that you think that you’ve noticed from the time that you were, you know, working as, um, uh, like a support personnel to, to where you are.

Where you are today. We’ve made, we’ve made a lot of progress, but I think sometimes we don’t, we’re not always aware of that progress. Cause like maybe parents are just kind of jumping in now because they have a kid that’s diagnosed with something now and they don’t realize how much better it’s actually gotten, if that makes sense.

Kim Hauck: Absolutely. I think we’ve made a ton of progress, um, over the past 30 some years. Um, I think even having these conversations about accessible restrooms and, you know, we weren’t [00:15:00] having those kinds of conversations back, you know, back then, um, having the opportunity to really live, work, play, go to church, you know, all those kinds of things in your community.

We were much more focused on, on. Not that we aren’t focused on safety now, but I think we, you know, we weren’t giving people the opportunity to live to their full potential, to really, um, take those risks that we all take every day. And so I, that’s really exciting to see. I think here at the department, we’ve made A big effort to really listen to the voices of people with disabilities themselves, um, really hear what’s important to them, what they want to do, um, with their future.

And so I think that’s been really exciting.

Rob Gorski: Are there, are there things that you would like to see, uh, as we move forward, like improvements or, or things that you’re aware of that need to be addressed, but maybe we [00:16:00] haven’t gotten there yet, if that makes sense,

Kim Hauck: Sure. I think we’ve made a lot of progress in Ohio, um, around our employment first efforts, so people working in the community, having, um, you know, good paying jobs.

I think, um, there’s still a lot of people who have some really high intensive needs and, you know, working in the community might not be their first choice. And so ensuring that we really have good options and programming for them. Again, for what they want to do, where they want to, um, be engaged during the day, um, after high school, making sure that we have lots of options for them, I think is, is really important.

And, um, something that we’ve, we have on our site, you know, in our sites and trying to work hard on.

Rob Gorski: I, yeah. Cause my, my oldest, I, like I mentioned before, I’m very proud of him. So I’m going to talk about him one more time. He, uh, he. He went through the, the, uh, he [00:17:00] went through OOD, did his job training, had a job coach and was, uh, you know, recommended for community employment, like regular, a regular job.

And he does so well. Like he, he, it’s so, it’s so cool to see the look on his face when he puts on his little, like his name tag and his, you know, his uniform and he’s packing his lunch and getting ready to go to work. Like these are all things that as a parent, like I cannot stress enough how amazing it feels.

And, you know, I always try to kind of instill hope. And in parents, because I think a lot of times when our kids are diagnosed, just with autism specifically, cause that’s my experience, um, we get, we get diagnosed, our kids get diagnosed, we get a piece of paper and we’re kind of ushered out the door and that’s largely it.

That’s what parents feel like that overall experience has been. And. And in those moments, like we feel like what, what we’re [00:18:00] experiencing right now, like where our kids are right now is where they’re always going to be. And so this is, this is just it. And, and that’s not always the case because it’s, it’s like a snapshot in time.

It’s how, it’s how we, it’s where they are in the moment so that we can identify the need and match it with a service, right. And resources and where they’re going to be five, 10, 15 years from now is not representative of where they are currently. Right. Everybody starts somewhere. And. I just, I’ve become very aware of that as my oldest has, has transitioned into his, you know, his own independent life.

Because if I had, I just never thought it would be possible. And, and I know there’s a lot of parents out there who feel the same way. And I just, if you’re listening, I just want to make clear that, that our kids can do amazing things, you know, and, uh, utilizing the support that is available, you know, that the state provides or the county provides.

There’s no shame in that. You know, I, I hear a lot of [00:19:00] parents feel like, well, my, my kid won’t qualify or he’s not eligible because it’s only this, or it’s only that, or, you know, whatever. So I guess one of the last things that I wanted to ask you was for the parents out there who feel like. Their child wouldn’t qualify or, or they feel like they shouldn’t be utilizing government services or whatever.

Cause there’s a lot of stigma, I think that still floats around. What would you, what would you say to them?

Kim Hauck: You know, I think we all have potential, right? All of our kids have potential and that’s all we want is we want to see our kids. live up to that and do, you know, the best that they can. I think that, you know, these services are here, you know, just for this, for your kids, for, um, our, our future.

Right. And we just, it’s just here to help. And I think. You know, it never hurts to try, uh, you know, to go through the eligibility process. And if you’re not eligible, um, the counties will help connect you to other services that maybe you are eligible for. And [00:20:00] so, and if you are, then that opens, you know, a world of services and supports that your kid can use.

And, you know, thinking about their future as adults, um, you know, maybe when parents aren’t, um, able to be with the child every, every day or all the time, you know, You’re just setting them up for a future of people who will care about them and support them and, and be there for them.

Rob Gorski: Very cool. Yeah. I just, it’s, that’s very much on my mind a lot lately because I wish that I had connected much earlier than what I did.

Uh, because my youngest is 15 going on 16 and then my oldest is 24 and I have a 17 year old who turns 18 next week. Um, and so there’s, yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s, uh, It’s a whole thing, but like they’re doing, they’re doing amazing and I’m so, I’m so proud of them. And I guess I just, you know, the message that I want to come from this is that, and I realize not everybody who’s listening isn’t, [00:21:00] isn’t, isn’t Ohio, but every state has something.

You know, and so let me ask, let me ask you this and then we’ll, we’ll close things out for people who are not living in Ohio that, that need help or support, where would be a good place for them to, to start to find resources that are local to them, regardless of what state they happen to be listening to.

Kim Hauck: Yeah. So every state has a disability. Oversight agency, there is a website, uh, it’s NASDs, um, and I can get you, you know, that information. If you go on that website, every state director is listed along with their email address, their phone number, that sort of thing. And so you could reach out to your state lead, uh, for information.

And if not them personally, then that would at least give you the agency for which they work. Okay. Um, so you could reach out to them.

Rob Gorski: Okay. Yeah. Cause there’s, there’s, [00:22:00] uh, like as much as I try to focus locally on, on some things in Ohio, uh, there’s, there’s overlap and relevance to, to everyone inside of the United States.

Cause there’s, there’s a lot of similarities state to state. There’s nuances that are different. There’s policies that are different. There is help. And, you know, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll have that link, uh, in the show notes and the podcast and stuff like that so that people can go check it out. And it’s a place to start.

If, if nothing else, and there are local boards of DDs, like everywhere, they’re everywhere. Uh, so, you know, check it out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what you guys are there for. Do you have any, uh, parting advice or, or anything that you’d want parents or people living with disabilities to, you know, be aware of as far as, uh, what you guys do?

Kim Hauck: I think you said it well, I think, you know, don’t be afraid to ask for help and, you know, reach out to the department. We really do want to hear from people living with disabilities. We want to hear [00:23:00] what your life is like and how we can help make it better, what we need to do. So thank you.

Rob Gorski: Yeah. Thank you very much.

I appreciate that. And what is the easiest way for people to connect with you guys?

Kim Hauck: Um, we have on our website, so dodd. ohio. gov, um, there’s a contact us button right at the bottom. You can always, um, reach us that way, or I’m sure there are email addresses throughout the website as well. I

Rob Gorski: see you guys on social media too.

Very cool. Well, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. And thank you for everything that you guys do. Um, you know, I, I wish I had been, you More in touch with this stuff when my kids are younger, but I’m very aware of it now. And, uh, you know, I’m hoping that by listening and by having this conversation, people will become more aware of it at an earlier, you know, earlier point and, and can, uh, you know, utilize those services to help their kids navigate life.

Thank you.

Kim Hauck: Thanks. Thank you. Thanks for having me. And, um, thanks for all you’re doing to [00:24:00] raise awareness around the state. I appreciate

Rob Gorski: it.

Kim Hauck: It’s awesome.

Rob Gorski: Thank you Before we go. I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you So much for taking the time to tune in and for all the support you guys have shown me over the last seven seasons I am so grateful and appreciative of each and every one of you If you have found this useful or you just enjoyed listening If you wouldn’t mind taking a moment to leave a review on apple podcast or spotify Or whatever app you’re listening to this on or share it with your friends or whatever Uh, it’s a great way to support the show.

Thank you. I really appreciate it You guys can reach me at the autism dad link. That’s the autism dad Dad dot L I N K. And we’ll talk soon. T

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