Group Title: Harambee
Title: Harambee. 1998.
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 Material Information
Title: Harambee. 1998.
Series Title: Harambee
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: University of the Virgin Islands.
Affiliation: University of the Virgin Islands -- Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Publisher: University of the Virgin Islands.
Publication Date: 1998
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300580
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Message from the Executive Director
It has been ten years since VIUCEDD opened its doors. During these years, many
programs, seminars, workshops and institutes have been offered to professionals who serve
persons ii ith disabilities. Although we have made great strides in certain areas, we have a
long way to go in other areas. We spend a good amount of time and money on the topic of
the inclusion of people i/ ith disabilities in regular classroom settings as well as in the A-"
community. We find that most people agree ii ith the concept of inclusion, but they are
resistant to the changes needed to make inclusion work. Teachers and school administrators give numerous
reasons for resistance, chief among them are training, classroom support and the inaccessibility of aging
school structures.
The World Declaration on Education for All declares that all children should have the opportunity to
learn and that all children should have the opportunity to learn together. The Individuals i/ ith Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) mandates inclusion in the least restrictive environment. The VIUCEDD commits itself to
a future of collaboration and cooperation i ith all Virgin Islanders to ensure the full inclusion ofpersons i i/h
disabilities in school and community settings. We eagerly look forward to the next ten years of service.

Yegin Habtes, Ph.D.
Executive Director, VIUCEDD

Editor's Notes

This issue ofHarambee marks the Tenth Anniversary Tenth Anniversary Issue
of the Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in HARAMBEE
Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD). Formerly known
as the University Affiliated Program, the VIUCEDD was TABLE OF CONTENTS
first funded in 1994 by the Administration on Developmental
Disabilities which is part of the Federal Government's T f
Department of Health and Human Services. Ten Years of Service 2
Since 1994, Professor Yegin Habtes, VIUCEDD's director has brought Three of a Kind 5
together people ii i/t disabilities, parents of children i ilt disabilities and
professionals working in the fields of advocacy, education and employment. Stake Holders 7
Working together, these advisors have guided the VIUCEDD in addressing
some of the many concerns of Virgin Islands citizens i/ ith disabilities. e
Ten years later, we can look back and happily note the important
contributions the VIUCEDD has made, and continues to make, to a culture P
of acceptance, accommodation and inclusion for all Virgin Islanders. Our
journey begins i/th inclusive planning, identifies goals, objectives and Looking Ahead 14
resources and stresses cooperation, collaboration and frequent
communication. It is only through the cooperation of all participants that
progress in meeting our goals is accomplished. While some participants go the Mark Vinzant, Editor
extra mile for VIUCEDD programs, nothing could be accomplished
i ilthlut everyone pulling together. Pulling together is expressed in Swahili, Layout & Printing
the language of East africa, as Harambee. Honoring one of Mother Africa's Island Images
cultures, we have named our magazine Hamambee because it describes
our unity of effort. Please join i/ ith us in pulling together. Harambee!

Mark Vinzant

Ten Years of service
By Yegin Habtes

The Virgin Islands University
Center for Excellence in Developmental
Disabilities (VIUCEDD) faculty, staff and
trainees have completed ten years of
successful service to the Virgin Islands
community. As I complete a decade of
leading the VIUCEDD as its executive
director, I would like to bring you an
overview of our accomplishments.
It all started ten years ago when I
submitted a grant proposal on behalf of the
University of the Virgin Islands to the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
The proposal was for a grant to start a
program that was then called: "The
University Affiliated Program." The main
objective of this program was to assist
people with developmental disabilities to be
productive, independent and included as
members of their communities. Although
my background is in Interdisciplinary
Education, combining educational
administration and counseling education, I
came to disabilities education through the
needs of our community.
While serving as Chair of UVI's
Education Division, I was approached by
the former director of the V.I. Department
of Education's Division of Special
Education, Mrs. Priscilla Stridiron, to assist
in designing graduate programs to train
special education teachers. The first priority
was to train teachers of seriously
emotionally disturbed children. In
collaboration with other institutions of
higher learning, a graduate program was
designed, implemented and fifteen Virgin
Islanders graduated from this program. This
encounter made me aware of the problems
our community was facing and continues to
face in teaching children with special
needs. It became clear that the VI.
community was not in compliance with
federal funding mandates due to a shortage

of trained professionals in the area of
special education. To address this shortage
and to bring quality educational
opportunities to members of our
community, the proposal for a University
Affiliated Program was submitted. In 1994,
the proposal to establish the Virgin Islands
University Affiliated Program (VIUAP)
was awarded $200,000.00 to start serving
Virgin Islanders with developmental
disabilities. In October of 1994, the doors



Edita Carty, Chairperson VIUCEDD Advisory Panel.
to the VIUAP were opened by myself and
one staff member. Soon, we were able to
put our Advisory Panel in place enlisting
the help of people with disabilities, parents
of children with disabilities and
professionals working in the developmental
disabilities field. With the help of the
Advisory Panel, we were able to articulate
our mission statement and put forward our
guiding principles and goals. These are
discussed in this issue of Harambee and
posted on the back of every copy of the

d- I


Inclusive Early Childhood Education students with
Ellie Hirsh.
Our mission statement, guiding
principles and goals clearly state what our
program is about and what we are
committed to do. Our community efforts
are person centered and committed to
enhancing the lives of persons with
disabilities in our Virgin Islands society.
In the last ten years, the VIUCEDD,
the current name of our program, has put
the guiding principles into action through a
wide range of programs. With an increasing
number of children entering school
unprepared to learn, the VIUCEDD saw the
need to push for a curriculum that
encourages the training of early childhood
education teachers. In 1996, we started a
certificate program in Inclusive Early
Childhood Education that leads to an
associate degree and, very soon, to a
baccalaureate degree. This was one of the
first programs in America to incorporate the
inclusion of children with disabilities in an
early childhood curriculum. This program
also introduced the concept of admitting
students in cohorts; which is a distinct
group of students following a specific
curriculum to completion. Today we have
seven cohorts and about one hundred fifty
students in this program. Close to one
hundred teachers have completed the
certificate program and thirty have
completed the associate degree program.
This program is a collaboration between the
University of the Virgin Islands and the
Virgin Islands Department of Human

In interdisciplinary training, the
VIUCEDD initiated and continues a sign
language program, para educators training
and an advanced certification program in
school psychology. The mission of the
school psychology program is to prepare
students for the profession of school
psychologist and to prepare them for
certification by the National
Association of School Psychologists
(NASP). Our goal is to prepare
practitioners to promote the psychological
and educational development of our diverse
population of children. This advanced
certification program is the highest degree
the University of the Virgin Islands is
offering. We are very grateful to the Virgin
Islands Department of Education which has
made this outstanding program a reality.
Assistive technology is any device
or service that enables a person with a
disability to do things they, otherwise,
could not do. There are many different
types of assistive technology available in
today's market to enable sensory input and
to control a persons environment. Because
few people with disabilities, parents or
teachers know what assistive technology
devices are available, in 1995, the
VIUCEDD applied for and was granted
monies from the U.S. Department of
Education to establish two assistive
technology centers; one in each island
district. These two centers have become
community resources where citizens with

Evelyn M. Williams Elememtary School.
Zulma Torres' 1st grade class and Muriel Liburd's 3rd grade
class having lunch courtesy of Subway for
their recognition as "Class of the Month."
Positive results for positive behaviors.



L-R: Roslyn McFarland, Ellie Hirsh, Michelle LaCoss,
Rehema Glenn, Mark Vinzant
visual disabilities, hearing impairments and
physical challenges can use computers and
and other assistive technology devices to
meet each individual's needs. Thanks to
these two centers and the caring staff
members who work there, about six
thousand Virgin Islanders now know more
about assistive technology devices and how
they can impact their lives for the better.
Children with disabilities can only
thrive in educational settings with their
peers where there is a positive atmosphere
that recognizes and celebrates differences
among children. To enhance such a positive
atmosphere in our public schools, the
VIUCEDD has conducted several
workshops and institutes on inclusion and
positive behaviors, interventions and
supports. Our program is working with
individual schools to bring about inclusion
and positive behaviors. Some schools
already report a decline in disciplinary
referrals due to the institution of positive
behavioral supports.
The Virgin Islands University
Center is part and parcel of our greater
Virgin Island community. All of our
activities and programs are designed and
implemented with the full participation and
input of people with disabilities, their
families and service providers. Many of our
programs are community oriented and
designed to help community participants
help each other. Typical of this type of
program is the Parent to Parent Service
Coordination program. Knowing the
frustrations that parents of children
with disabilities often encounter, the

VIUCEDD initiated a program to train
parents experienced in navigating service
delivery systems to share their
knowledge and expertise with less
experienced parents. We are grateful to the
Office of Infants and Toddlers in the Virgin
Islands Department of Health for
sponsoring this program.
In collaboration with the Virgin
Islands Family Information Network on
Disabilities (VIFIND) more than one
hundred advocates were trained in the
Partners in Policymaking program. Having
learned effective advocacy techniques for
Virgin Islands beauracracies and legislative
processes, many program participants are
doing an excellent job of creating
awareness and removing barriers to persons
with disabilities.
These are just a few of our
accomplishments of the last ten years.
I would like to conclude by thanking the
VIUCEDD staff for their dedication
and hard work, the University
Administration for allowing us to be
creative and our Advisory Panel for guiding
us all the way. There is no doubt in my
mind that the VIUCEDD will be here for
the next ten years and longer; working to
create opportunities and obtain justice for
all Virgin Islanders with disabilities.

VIUCEDD staff, Anna-Lee Hosier,
Yegin Habtes,
and Christine deJongh Lewis

To that future, I would like to invite all
people, regardless of their culture, to say
with us the Swahili word which means "
Let's Pull Together," HARAMBEE!

Yegin Habtes, Ph.D. is Executive Director

Three of a Kind

In every state and territory, the
Federal Government funds three
organizations that focus on the needs of
people having developmental disabilities.
Funded through the Administration on
Developmental Disabilities in the
Department of Health and Human Services,
these organizations seek to bring
independence, productivity and inclusion
to those who have a functional disability
related to their development.
Developmental disabilities are those
disabilities that occur before the age of
twenty one and that limit a persons ability
to function in their daily activities.
These organizations in each state
and territory serve the needs of those with
disabilities through programs within the
state or territorial government, through a
university and through the non profit sector.
The VI. Department of Human Services
hosts the VI. Developmental Disabilities
Council whose goals include advocacy and
the provision of
subgrants for
innovative and
creative programs
that serve the needs
of developmentally
disabled people in
their priority service
Serving the
needs of people with
disabilities through
the non profit sector
is Virgin Islands
Advocacy, Inc. This -
protection and- -
organization is UVI President, LaVer
charged with the

responsibilities of advocating and
representing those individuals and their
The University of the Virgin Islands
is host to the third organization serving
Virgin Islanders with developmental
disabilities: the Virgin Islands University
Center for Excellence in Developmental
Disabilities (VIUCEDD). Initially funded in
1994, the VIUCEDD started out with the
name Virgin Islands University Affiliated
Program (VIUAP). Under the directorship
of Professor Yegin Habtes, Ph.D., the
VIUCEDD, quickly moved to establish
an advisory panel of Virgin Islanders with
disabilities, parents of children with
disabilities and local providers of services
to people with disabilities both in the
government and within the non profit
sector. This advisory panel set up
assessment procedures to direct the
program in addressing the most important
needs in the Virgin Islands and to direct

ne E. Ragster and Administration on Developmental Disabilities
Commissioner Patricia Morrissey.



available resources to
meet those needs.
The advisory
panel worked together to
establish the mission for
the the program, the
guiding principles and
appropriate goals. The
program's mission is to
enhance the quality of '
life of individuals with
disabilities and their
families and to provide
them with the tools
necessary for
productivity and full
inclusion into
community life. The Advisory Par
guiding principles selected
to work towards this
mission are:

Families should be supported in their
roles as caregivers of and experts
about their children.
Community services and support
should be flexible, available and
People should have the right to be
involved in the design and monitoring
of services they use.
The competencies and contributions of
people with disabilities should be
recognized and supported.
Communities are enhanced by the full
participation of individuals with
disabilities in all areas.
Competent and caring professionals
can make a difference.

eel members Isselyn Hennessey and Carmen Heurtas

The advisory panel recommended that the
VIUCEDD put these principles to work in
addressing these four goals.

Provide interdisciplinary training and
Demonstrate exemplary approaches in
clinical, educational and community
Provide technical assistance.
Disseminate information related to the
implementation of best practices.

The advisory panel continues to
meet and guide the VIUCEDD's efforts to
address the needs of Virgin Islanders with
disabilities through creative and innovative
programs. This issue of Harambee details
some of these creative and innovative ways
used to meet the program's goals.


take Holders

The Advisory Panel for the
VIUCEDD is made up of people from our
Virgin Islands Community at large who
have a stake in improving the lives of
fellow citizens with developmental
disabilities. They represent all people with
disabilities in the Virgin Islands. The
Advisory Panel members are folks with
disabilities, parents of children with
disabilities and representatives of
government and non profit agencies that
serve the needs of people with disabilities.
These stake holders give of
themselves and their time to set priorities,
research opportunities, search for ways to
cooperatively meet needs and guide the
VIUCEDD programs and staff. Working
together, The Advisory Panel meets several
times a year to discuss issues of relevance
to the programs and the people it serves.
The following list of Advisory Panel
members includes members who have
served in the past and current members.
This list includes folks with disabilities,
parents of children with disabilities
as well as folks whose agencies serve the
population of Virgin Islanders with
developmental disabilities.

Caroline Browne
Ona Parson
Felicia Brownlow
Beverly Plaskett
Judith Bryan
Gwendolyn Powell
Edita Carty
Clive Rivers
Trina Charles
Elena Shaubah
Amelia Headley-Lamont
Kathleen Taylor
Iselyne Hennessey
Belinda West-O'Neal
Carmen Heurtas
Carden White
Chearoll Looby-Williams
Mark Vinzant
Mavis Matthew, M.D.
T. Jameel Mohammed
Elsie Monsanto
The Advisory Panel is currently
chaired by Ms. Edita Carty. Mark Vinzant is
the past chair of the Panel. Each Panel
member brings valuable experience to the
thoughtful deliberations of the group and
takes the goals of the VIUCEDD into our
community for the independence,
productivity and inclusion of Virgin
Islanders with disabilities.

Advisory Panel meets under the leadership of chairperson Edita Carty

Advisory Panel meets under the leadership of chairperson Edita Carty

Core Values


The Virgin Islands University
Center for Excellence in Developmental
Disabilities (VIUCEDD) receives its
funding from the Administration on
Developmental Disabilities in the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
The initial, as well as the continuing
funding, is for what is known as the Core
The Core Grant for the VIUCEDD
funds our activities in four broad areas of
Conducting interdisciplinary training
Promoting exemplary community
service programs
Providing technical assistance at all
levels of service delivery
Conducting research and disseminating
These four activities are guided by
mandates to change service delivery
systems, to be more sensitive and efficient,
to build the capacity of service delivery
systems and to advocate for individuals and
families with developmental disabilities.
Every training program, every
community service program, all technical
assistance efforts and the dissemination of
VIUCEDD publications are publicly
reported on using these four broad
categories. The innovative and creative
projects that the VIUCEDD offers have led
the nation in offering one of the very first
programs for inclusive early childhood
education and have added a new method of
teaching to the University of the Virgin
Islands efforts known as teaching by cohort.
Where the University offers courses
throughout the academic year; now some
courses are offered to specific groups for
limited amounts of time.
Partnering with agencies of the
Virgin Islands Government, non profit

organizations, other mainland universities
and Virgin Islanders with disabilities, the
VIUCEDD continues to bring relevant and
needed programs to enhance the lives of
families and individuals with disabilities.
Guided by its advisory panel, The
VIUCEDD continues to seek funding for
new efforts. The Core Grant continues with
some programs being adopted into the
curriculum of the university and others
being put to use by other agencies. New
grants, some having time limited periods,
augment the Core Grant for specific
innovations or creative approaches.
Descriptions of our efforts to serve the
needs of individuals and families with
disabilities follows. The VIUCEDD has
hosted and collaborated with government
and private agencies in many activities,
seminars, training sessions and conferences
on many issues of importance to
individuals, families and service providers
surrounding developmental disabilities.

Felicia Brownlow

Inclusive Early Childhood Education (IECE)
Para Educator Certificate Program
American Sign Language Classes
Computer and Assistive Technology
Sensitivity and Awareness Training
Training Seminars

Partners in Policymaking Committee
Parent Support Group
Respite Care Task Force
Inclusive Early Childhood Education Task
Force Accessibility Committee
Ad Hoc Advocacy Committee

Presentation of Hero Award to Sonny Barnes
at Celebration of Abilities

National Vision Rehabilitation Conference
Counting Us In Conference
Deaf Coalition Conference
UVI Open House for High School
Seniors UVI Science, Math and
Education Open Campus Day
Best Beginnings Early Childhood
Spotlight on Young Children
Disability Awareness Brunch
Two Day Institutes on Inclusion
V.I. American Federation of Teachers Mini
Voices That Count Forums
V.I. Assistive Technology and Adult
Services Fair
Celebration of Abilities Award Ceremonies

Infants and Toddlers Family Handbook
Tech Connect Monthly Newsletter
V.I. Directory of Services and Programs
Harambee Magazine

St. Croix graduates of the Early Childhood Education
certificate program

Infants and Toddlers Pilot Project
Parent to Parent Project
Daycare Inclusion Project
Waterfront Accessibility Project
V.I. Alternative Financing Program
V.I. Family Support 360 Planning Project

Assistive Technology workshop.

Assistive Technology Workshops and
Assistive Technology for Toddlers and
Assistive Technology Loan Workshops
Assistive Technology for Libraries
Assistive Technology for Early Childhood
Assistive Technology for Seniors and


Assistive Technology for the Hearing
Assistive Technology for
People with Learning
Make and Take Workshop
Tech for Tots
Helping Tools for Citizens
Classroom Ergonomics
Using Assistive Technologies

The Early Years: Latest Brain Development
Best Practices in Early Intervention Services
Child Development: Birth through Two
Teachable Moment Settings
Developmentally Appropriate Practices
Child Care and the ADA
Creating Inclusive Schools Workshops
Positive Behaviors, Interventions and
Supports Workshops
Brain Development and Implications for
Early Childhood Educators
IDEA: Child Care Providers in IEP and
IF SP Workshops

No Child Left Behind Mandates
Overview of Head Start / Early
Childhood Education Agreement
Implementing Head Start / Early
Childhood Education Agreement
Head Start Roles in the IEP Process
Planning to meet IEP Goals
Strategies for Implementing IEP Plans
Creating Language Rich
Stimulating Language for Children
with Special Needs
Helping Children with Motor Delays/
Music and Movement
Observing Children to Identify
Possible Problems
Using Observation of Play to Plan
Learning Activities
Providing Consistent Daily Routines
that Encourages Active Learning
Including Children with Disabilities
In Head Start
Family Partnerships that Reflect
Family Centered Practices
Orientation to the Head Start
Program and Philosophy
Active Involvement in Outdoor Play
Developing Literacy Skills in Young
Storytelling and Reading to Promote
Language and Literacy Skills

Educational Complex student studies sign language

Celebration of Abilities: Sign language users

Protest for curb cuts, Vitraco Mail, St. Croix

Introduction to Family Centered
Individual Family Support Plans
Deaf Community Workshops
Pets and People
Models of Accommodation
Disability Awareness and the ADA .
Section 508 Workshop
Augmentative and Alternative
Communication Methods
Disability Related Career Emphasis
People with Disabilities and the
Criminal Justice System
Rights of Individuals with Vernon Finch facilitates a focus group.
Dependence / Independence:
Where is the Balance?

Andrea Mott
from Cornell
speaks on




The Department of Education and
its Office of Special Education have been
instrumental in helping with our creative
efforts in teacher training, para professional
training and the school psychologist
certification program.
The Department of Health partners
with the VIUCEDD through its Infants and
Toddlers Program for workshops and
We have formed working
relationships with the Department of

The Virgin Islands University
Center for Excellence in Developmental
Disabilities has much to be thankful for.
Our programs are successful because of the
partnerships we share with individuals, with
families, with universities, with government
agencies and with not for profit groups.
We continue to be grateful for gracious
support of the University of the Virgin
Islands; its administration, trustees, faculty,
staff and students. A supportive family
grows successful children and our successes
owe much to UVI.
The Federal
Department of Health and
Human Services,
Administration on
Developmental Disabilities
continues to believe in the
work that VIUCEDD does.
Their funding, guidance and
leadership inspires us to be
diligent in our efforts to
serve Virgin Islanders with
developmental disabilities.
The Virgin Islands
Government, through its Sensitivity at
numerous departments
continues to partner with us for training,
systems change and innovation. We owe
much to the long and continuing support of
the Department of Human Services. It has
been our privilege to work with the
Developmental Disabilities Council, the
Office of Childcare Regulatory Services,
Senior Citizens Affairs and the Office of
Pre School Services.

d Awareness training for Vitran bus drivers in St. Thomas

Public Works, Office of Transportation as
well as the Department of Labor,
Employment Services Unit.
Our partners in the not for profit
sector have been steadfast in their efforts to
work with us on behalf of persons with
disabilities. The Virgin Islands Family
Information Network on Disabilities
(VIFIND) has been an important link to

parents of children with disabilities. The
ongoing partnership with the Virgin Islands
Association for Independent Living has
been very supportive of our many projects.
The Virgin Islands Advocacy, Inc. is our
valued partner in group advocacy as well as
in legal advocacy. Lutheran Social Services
shares many of our training efforts for those
who serve young children. We are also
grateful for our partnerships with The Virgin
Islands Resource Center for the Disabled
and Special Olympics Virgin Islands.

Working with others is how we
engage our greater Virgin Islands
community and how we spread the word
that by working together we can make good
positive changes for our Virgin Islands
citizens with disabilities. HARAMBEE! It
works! Voices that count participant makes her voice heard.

St. Thomas VIUCEDD staff from left to right: Yohannes Yohannes, acting Executive Director David O'Hara, Ph.D.,
Nicole Larsen, Anna-Lee Hosier, Michelle Smitherman and Wilbert Francis.

Looking Ahead


The Virgin Islands University
Center for Excellence in Developmental
Disabilities has a history of creative and
innovative programs. These have been
listed in previous articles. Preparing for the
future, the VIUCEDD has established a non
profit (501-3C) foundation to further
opportunities for Virgin Islanders with
disabilities. Called the Virgin Islands
Assistive Technology Foundation, the
Foundation was established to operate a
low interest loan program for people who
need to borrow money for the purchase of
needed assistive technology devices and
The low interest loan program is
called the Alternative Financing Program
and it offers persons with disabilities access
to low interest bank loans for assistive
technology devices and services. Some
examples of assistive technology devices
and services are the following:

*Aids for daily living: special tools for
daily activities like brushing teeth,
dressing and specially designed
bathroom devices for self care.

Visual Aids: Magnifiers, braille
machines, voice activated computer
programs and other low vision devices
and training.

Auditory Aids: Hearing aids,
amplifiers, close captioning devices,
TTY devices.

Augmentative and alternative
communication devices; Picture boards,
communication software and devices,
battery operated communicators.

Mobility Aids: wheelchairs, walkers,
scooters, adaptive devices for autos.

Positioning devices: Adjustable chairs,
standers, wedges, straps that stabilize
and hold a person appropriately.

Home Modification: Ramps, handrails,
lifts, openers.

Computer based instruction: software
to help students with learning

Any Virgin Island resident who has
a disability and/or any family member or
guardian of a person with a disability can
apply for a loan. The applicant must satisfy
the standard bank loan requirement of being
able to repay the loan. The minimum loan
is three hundred dollars and the maximum
loan is fifteen thousand dollars. For more
information contact Ms. Shirley White at
(340) 776-9200 ext. 2333 or (340) 693-
1089 or email
In keeping with the VIUCEDD goal
of training local people to have the
therapeutic skills needed for serving people
with developmental disabilities, the
VIUCEDD is working with the National
Association of School Psychologists
(NASP) in a School Psychologist
Certification Program. This program offers
the highest academic degree program at the
University of the Virgin Islands and helps
psychologists prepare for national
certification with the NASP This

certification program is for masters degree
holders who will become eligible for NASP
certification and will commit to serving our
children through the VI. Department of
Education's public schools. It is through
teaching local people needed skills that the
VIUCEDD seeks to build services for
persons with disabilities. Local therapists
have greater ties in our community and
those ties keep them here in service to our
citizens. With this in mind, the Advisory
Panel will continue to search for
opportunities to build therapeutic services.
In October, the VIUCEDD will host
its annual Voices That Count forum in both
island districts. During election years, this
forum provides an opportunity for citizens
with disabilities to question candidates for
public office. Every year people with
disabilities meet to discuss issues that affect
them in the areas of employment,
transportation, health and mental health and
education. Focus groups for each of these
topics assess progress and develop a report
card on government efforts in these areas.
The voices of Virgin Islanders with
disabilities are raised to make policy makers
aware of of their needs, to advocate for
systems change and to judge the actions, or
lack of actions, by politicians, government
officials and policy makers.
Candidates are asked questions of
importance to citizens with disabilities and
given the opportunity to dialog with voters
during breaks. Those attending are given
demonstrations of voting machines and
encouraged to register to vote. The Virgin
Island Board of Elections continues to be
an important collaborator in the annual
Voices That Count Forum.

St. Croix VIUCEDD staff
Wanda Evans and Roger Richards.

The VIUCEDD has submitted a
proposal to the Administration on
Developmental Disabilities to fund what is
known as a Family 360 Program. It is our
ardent hope that this program will be
funded to develop two one stop centers that
will serve as intake points for any and all
services that an individual or family with a
disabled member might need. Working
in cooperation and collaboration with local
agencies having mandates to serve people
with disabilities, the VIUCEDD will
establish intake forms, procedures,
processes and staffing to enable families
and individuals to access services in one
centralized location. This would eliminate
the often confusing and intimidating search
for appropriate services by those who need
them most.




The National
Information Center
for Children and '''
Youth with

"JIe/ us unite in a revolution to
eliminate primitioe practices and
stereotypes, and to establish a culture
that focuses the fullforce of science
and democracy on the syslematic
empowterment of every person to live
his or her Pod-given potential '7o
soldier has ever died in a better cause.

Justin Dart., Jr., 1930-2002
from Statement of Conscience, 1998

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