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Real World Experiences

Real World Work Experiences Enable Inclusive College Students at Columbus State University to Emerge as Workforce Leaders

Students enrolled in the GOALS program at Columbus State University (CSU) are getting critical op...     Read More
Young boy smiling wearing purple shirt

The State of Inclusive Education in Georgia: A Conversation with Leslie Lipson

As students head back to school, education is top of mind for parents of children with intellectu...     Read More
Two children playing doctor with a cat with the text COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

School is out. Summer is here. People are enjoying time at the pool or finding places to stay coo...     Read More

Topics

Nick Perry Headshot

Update

By Nick Perry
July 13, 2022
Dear Readers, GCDD anticipates announcing its new executive director soon. While we are in transition of new leadership, the staff is working hard, diligently, and succeeding in making sure GCDD’s mission is fulfilled by continuing to advance the lives of

Farewell

By Eric E. Jacobson
April 14, 2022
Dear Readers, For the past 30 years, I have written this column introducing Making a Difference. This is my final column as I retire from GCDD on May 31, 2022. It has been difficult writing this column as I end

We Need You!

By Eric E. Jacobson and Nick Perry
January 9, 2022
Advocacy – the Webster’s dictionary defines it as, “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.” For those in the disability community, advocacy is an opportunity to support both a cause (the disability movement) and proposals (funding to
Woman smiling at college graduation with professor

“Life is a journey, be prepared for the trip”: Destination Dawgs Brings Inclusive College Opportunities to University of Georgia

By Hilary Vece
July 13, 2022
Six years ago, inclusive college was in the news thanks to a viral video of Jordan Huffman’s acceptance into the first University of Georgia (UGA) Destination Dawgs cohort in 2016. The video depicts Huffman in his room playing drums when

Students with Intellectual Disabilities Find Success Through Digital Expression in Art and Media Fields at Georgia State University

By Hilary Vece
April 13, 2022
Inclusive college, called inclusive post secondary education (IPSE), is not new to Georgia, and there is a positive trend of more and more universities developing IPSE. There are 311 IPSE programs at universities across the country, with eight in Georgia

Students Thrive at Kennesaw State’s Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth

By H. M. Cauley
January 10, 2022
Jordan Winfrey, 18, grew up with his mom’s assurance that college could be in his future. But the graduate of the Omega Learning Center in Douglasville found that his diagnoses of autism and speech impediment made finding the right fit
John McCarty in Classroom

The Value of Being Valued in Inclusive Post Secondary Education

By GCDD
July 13, 2022
By John McCarty, Self-Advocate in the Leadership Collective of Uniting for Change Many people believe that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) can’t learn and don’t belong in post secondary educational settings. As part of Uniting for Change and

Self-Advocate Gives Powerful Speech at State Capitol

By GCDD
April 14, 2022
On February 28, 2022, Michael Housel, a self- advocate from Tifton, Georgia, gave a powerful and passionate speech at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, in support of Senate Bill 208. Mr. Housel is a founding member of Uniting for

Self-Advocacy In Action – Building on Sources of Strength

By GCDD
January 9, 2022
The Uniting for Change Leadership Collective came together for a retreat in early November in North Georgia called the Power of Resilience. We worked together, about 45 of us, to build fires inside of our hearts, and our minds, and
Fall 2021

What’s Happening in Washington?

By Serena Lowe
October 13, 2021
As we round out the end of the fiscal year, action in the nation’s capital is both frenetic and action-packed. Congress is super-focused on passing a historic multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation bill that includes major investments in COVID recovery, infrastructure development, and
Summer 2021

What’s Happening in Washington?

By Serena Lowe
July 12, 2021
Federal Disability Policy Updates If 2020 felt like a long crawl across the Sahara Desert, 2021 feels a lot more like being in a race at the Indy 500 here in Washington! Check out the whirlwind of activity occurring both

What’s Happening in Washington?

By Erin Shea
April 13, 2021
It’s been a busy 2021 so far, which has brought some important wins for the disability community. Below we provide a few key updates and what we expect to see in the coming months. COVID-19 Response American Rescue Plan Act:

Public Policy for the People: Official Recap of Georgia’s 2022 Legislative Session

By Isabel Knofczynski
April 13, 2022
Georgia’s 2022 legislative session was defined by the effects of a lingering pandemic and looming elections. Most of our advocacy efforts and each of our three Advocacy Days were virtual. Although “the ropes” at the Capitol were not open to

Advocating during the 2022 Georgia Legislative Session

By Alyssa Miller, PsyD
January 9, 2022
Welcome back to another exciting issue of Public Policy for the People! Here at the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), we are getting ready for our busiest time of year, Georgia’s legislative session. The legislative session may only be

2022 Virtual Advocacy Days are Here!

By Alyssa Miller, PsyD and Charlie Miller
January 9, 2022
Join advocates from across the state to learn about policies impacting people with disabilities and advocate for needed funding and legislation this year. The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) needs your help to educate Georgia’s lawmakers about topics important
Welcoming Community Movement

The Blossoming of Real Communities

By Jennifer Bosk
October 12, 2021
When a Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) initiative ends, the celebration continues. The work has planted a seed, sown results, and now all can watch the fruits and impact of the initiative multiply as time goes on. So it

Welcoming Community Movement Adds Think Tank Partner to Coaching Group

By Jennifer Bosk
July 12, 2021
TeMaya Eatmon has been chosen as the Think Tank Partner for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) initiative the Welcoming Community Movement (WCM), overseen by Global Ubuntu. Eatmon joins other leaders who are coaching those participating in the WCM
Welcoming Community Movement

Welcoming Community Movement Gaining Momentum across Georgia

By Jennifer Bosk
April 12, 2021
A new focus has changed the 10-year-old Real Communities Initiative, funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), into a totally new movement. The program, now the Welcoming Community Movement (WCM), has shifted its goal to creating welcoming communities
2021 Impact Map

2021 GCDD Project Impact Map

By GCDD
July 13, 2022
GCDD’s mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for diverse people/persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play, and worship in their communities. Learn how GCDD impacted communities across Georgia in

Understanding How Data Can Empower Us to Move Forward in Advocacy

By Kimberly Hudson
April 13, 2022
Every activity and initiative that the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) engages in starts with data. Understanding how it’s collected and used can be a powerful tool to help us move forward in advocating for people with developmental disabilities

ACL Awards Georgia-based Mentra Award for Inclusive Employment

By Jennifer Bosk
January 10, 2022
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) in Washington D.C. recently awarded its top prize of $100,000 in its “Inclusive Talent Pipeline for American Businesses” challenge to Georgia’s Mentra. Mentra is the brainchild of passionate disability advocates Jhillika Kumar and Conner

Back-to-School Tips from a Parent Mentor

By Hilary Vece
July 13, 2022
Cheryl Grant has been working with parents of students with developmental disabilities since 2008 when she became a Parent Mentor in Decatur City Schools. Primarily connecting parents with resources in the school and the community, Cheryl also provides parent training

Advocating Beyond Legislative Session: Building Avenues for Change

By GCDD
April 13, 2022
Featuring Shelley Spivey Being an active advocate isn’t just about protesting, working on legislation, or contacting your representative. It starts small in moments and opportunities that reveal themselves to you daily. It’s about having meaningful, connected conversations with the people

How to Fully Fund the NOW/COMP Waivers Waiting List over the Next Five Years

By GCDD
January 9, 2022
Featuring Georgia Senator Sally Harrell The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities recently sat down with Senator Sally Harrell (D-40) to discuss Senate Bill 208 that proposes to fully fund the NOW/COMP Waivers waiting list which is currently over 7,000+. As
Telling Our Stories

Telling Our Stories: How The GCDD Storytelling Project is Lifting Voices in the Developmental Disability Community

By Hilary Vece
July 13, 2022
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) Storytelling Project lifts and shares the stories of people with developmental disabilities throughout the state of Georgia. Using several mediums, The GCDD Storytelling project has produced a collection of written and photographed stories,

Holding Hands and Jumping

By Shannon Turner
April 13, 2022
Columbus, Georgia (Senate District 29) It’s Friday afternoon at Chattahoochee Scuba in Columbus, Georgia. Kaylee and Micah Asante are getting suited up, not for scuba lessons, but rather for swimming instruction and therapy. Kaylee, 10, and Micah, 16, both have

Inclusion is an Act of Good Faith

By Shannon Turner
January 9, 2022
“Hello, Dalia, how are you today? How do you feel today?” Hannah sings to Dalia. She begins dropping out words from the songs and waits. “I feel happy,” Dalia types out. There’s a certain kind of joy that comes with

A Greater Sense of Independence

By Adrianne Murchison
January 9, 2022
Living Independently is an article series by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). The series will cover self-determination and self-direction. Participant self-directed services are growing in popularity as an avenue that can offer an increased autonomy for some individuals

A Desire for Independence

By Adrianne Murchison
October 13, 2021
Living Independently is an article series by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). The series will cover self-determination and self-direction. Jenny Pryor lives an active life working in a Kroger supermarket, hiking on her off days or sometimes catching