Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND), in collaboration with the Wyoming Department of Education, Special Programs Division facilitated a community of practice for student transition (CoP-T). The goal of this project is to bring together leading professionals and parent advocates to identify best practices and recommendations for improving transition practices in Wyoming.
The community developed recommendations for Wyoming stakeholders to improve the transitions of students in three identified critical areas: a) transition from early childhood programs to the school districts; b) transition from secondary schools to post-secondary education, employment and community living; and c) transitions of students with social, emotional, and behavioral needs to and from behavioral interventions.
The CAC consults with the WIND Executive Director regarding the development of the UCEDD’s five year plan, reviews and comments annually on WIND’s progress in meeting the projected goals contained in the five year plan, and makes recommendations to the WIND Executive Director regarding and proposed revisions to the five year plan.
Disability studies is a diverse interdisciplinary field that investigates broad questions about the nature, meanings, and consequences of disability from interrelated social, historical, cultural, and political perspectives. The undergraduate minor in Disability Studies examines disability issues from multiple lenses.
The goal of the research project was to establish a baseline of access to health care providers for people with developmental disabilities in Wyoming and to explore opportunities to improve access to health care specialists, especially dentists, optometrists, and mental health providers.
The ICAP is a standardized measure that yields an estimate of a person's adaptive functioning, the extent of behavior problems that may limit his or her inclusion in various settings, as well as a systematic review of all available evaluation data. ICAP scores are used by the Wyoming Department of Health, Developmental Disabilities Division as part of the basis for determining eligibility for funding within the Developmental Disabilities service system. The Developmental Disabilities Division contracts with WIND to conduct ICAP interviews throughout the state and is responsible for conducting initial, emergency, and continuing eligibility interviews. More than 600 interviews are conducted each year.
The purpose of the Employed Individual with Disabilities EID program is to provide a work incentive for individuals with disabilities. People with disabilities who are employed, have a disability based on Social Security Administration guidelines, are both a US citizen and a Wyoming resident, are between ages 16 and 64 and meet income guidelines, may be eligible to apply and should contact their nearest Department of Family Services (DFS) field office. Through this program, people with disabilities who work will pay a monthly premium for their Medicaid health-care coverage rather than lose this coverage.
WIND’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Training for Individuals with Disabilities offers sexual and reproductive health training to adolescents with disabilities. The training is available in four Wyoming counties: Natrona, Laramie, Albany, and Fremont. The curriculum, tailored from the existing Friendship and Dating curriculum from the University of Alaska, Center for Human Development (UCEDD) is designed to decrease rates of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and interpersonal relationship violence and measure changes in relationships and social networks. WIND also trains, researches, and evaluates on the delivery of the curriculum building toward an evidence-based practice.
Think College Wyoming is working to ensure that people with intellectual disability will have the choice to attend college with supports that are individualized. Applying the principles of inclusion and self-determination, Think College Wyoming offers college experiences for young adults with intellectual disability. Students enrolled in TCW will follow the inclusive individual support model that facilitates access to and participation in college courses. There is no program base on campus. Students participate in the campus community just like any other college student. The focus is on establishing a student-identified future vision and career goal that directs the course study and employment experiences.
University of Wyoming ECHO in Assistive Technology (UW ECHO in AT) builds capacity for assistive technology in education. Through ECHO technology, an interdisciplinary team of individuals working in education connect weekly to learn more about AT to apply in their schools and with their students.
Four key components of the successful Project ECHO model were applied to the UW ECHO in AT design for use in education: the use of technology to leverage scarce resources, improving outcomes by reducing variations in AT services and sharing ‘best practices’, case-based learning, and the monitoring of outcomes.
WIND is a partner in a regional LEND program conducted jointly by the University of Utah School of Medicine - Department of Pediatrics and the Utah State University - Center for Persons with Disabilities. LEND programs provide long-term, graduate level interdisciplinary leadership training as well as interdisciplinary services and care. URLEND (Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) uses teleconferencing technology to conduct its weekly training sessions. The other regional participants in the URLEND program are the Idaho, Montana and North Dakota UCEDDs. In addition to basic leadership and clinical training, URLEND provides specialized training in Autism and Infant/Pediatric Audiology.
The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities leads statewide efforts to enhance emergency planning for people with disabilities. Executive directors of Wyoming Protection and Advocacy, the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Wyoming Department of Health's Developmental Disabilities Division, and WIND concurred with the need for a central statewide effort to assist emergency planners with efforts to ensure specific focus on people Unable To Self Evacuate and on other people with access and/or functional needs who would need help in an emergency.
WIND partners primarily with the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security (WOHS) and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), Public Health and Hospital Preparedness programs.
As part of the UTSE effort, WIND formed an advisory group (CAG) of core people to help guide statewide planning efforts. CAG members include a number of representatives from emergency management functions. CAG core membership is and will remain above 50% comprised of people UTSE or who have other functional and/or access needs. The CAG also includes a county emergency management agency/homeland security coordinator and representatives from law enforcement, fire services and emergency medical services as well as from WOHS and WDH.
Wyoming Act Early will educate parents, health care professionals, and child care providers about developmental milestones and the early identification of autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. Through enhanced awareness the existing state system could provide more timely assessments, diagnosis, and referral for early intervention.
Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR) is Wyoming's Assistive Technology Act program, established through the AT Act of 1998, as amended in 2004, to increase awareness and access to assistive technology. WATR provides assistive technology training and technical assistance, public awareness, device loans and device demonstrations in the domains of employment, community living, and education for all ages throughout the state.
WY F2F HIC is a statewide, family-led initiative that provides health information to families of children and youth with special health care needs through a family-faculty partnership. WIND collaborates with UPLIFT-Wyoming Federation of families and faculty members at the University of Wyoming, Wyoming Maternal Child Health and on this project.
iCanConnect is the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for reimbursements for equipment, assessments, consumer training, and expenses. iCanConnect Wyoming offers information, assessments, and equipment to over 200 adults and children who have been identified as having deaf-blindness in the state.
The WIND Resource and Information Center contains books, multimedia materials, and online sources that deal with disabilities such as autism, Alzheimer's disease, depression, and neurological disorders plus the education, employment, health, and rights of people with disabilities. This unique collection is open on a case by case basis. Contact WIND for more information.
The Wyoming Accessibility Center (WAC) provides fee-for-services training, technical assistance and assessments to improve the access of individuals with disabilities to education, training and employment. Services include assistive technology assessments, conversion of conference materials to Braille formats, conversions of books and materials to audio and tactile graphics, close captioning, and Website and course accessibility review.
Wyoming AgrAbility is a program of the University of Wyoming, Cooperative Extension Unit, funded through the United States Department of Agriculture. WIND is subcontracted to provide outreach, disability information, coordination of services and on-site assessments. The program is focused on promoting independence for members of the agricultural community who have disabilities resulting from injury, illness, aging, or other causes.
The Wyoming AEM Clearinghouse works with school districts in Wyoming to provide accessible education materials to students with print disabilities. We are a designated state authorized user for a federally funded, national repository of accessible instructional materials. The Wyoming AEM Clearinghouse can access the repository and provide the source files to districts. The Clearinghouse can help identify resources to convert the source files into individualized formats, appropriate for student access.
The Governor's Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities, Protection & Advocacy System, Inc., and the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) are sister organizations authorized under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. The Administration on Developmental Disabilities/Administration on Children and Families provides funding to each of these organizations. In Wyoming, the three groups work together to provide a comprehensive array of supports to people with developmental disabilities, family members, providers and state agencies. Each agency brings a unique perspective on services and supports for people with disabilities and is required under federal law to address specific areas of concern. WILDD is an entity that fosters communication and information exchange among the three organizations.
The Wyoming Vision Collaborative unites key Wyoming stakeholders and professionals in an ongoing process to establish a coordinated system of education, training, referral, and family support around childhood vision health.
The mission of the Wyoming Vision Collaborative is to establish and ensure cohesive, statewide systems of care for childhood vision services include nine essential elements for statewide vision systems:
WYTAP is a partnership among Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR), Wyoming Independent Living Rehabilitation, Inc. (WILR), and First Interstate Bank of Laramie to provide a financial loan program for individuals to purchase assistive technology devices and services. WYTAP buys down the interest rate to lower than the current prime rate. Individuals who may not otherwise qualify for a loan are often eligible to participate in WYTAP. Loans can range from $500 to $25,000 with extended payback periods of up to 70 months.