“Living the Mission” through Accessible Communication

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) recently unveiled a new part of “Living the Mission”.  A small group of administrative support staff met with Commissioner Terrence W. Macy, Ph. D. and with Robin Wood, Director of Family Support Strategies and Advocacy to begin implementation of an Accessible Communications Pilot Project.  The purpose of this pilot is to develop guidelines that will be used by all DDS staff when creating written documents that are provided to individuals and families.

New Guidelines have been developed and will include directions on format design, use of People First language, and use of Plain English precepts.  Results of this pilot will help the department to improve communication with individuals and families by creating written materials which are clear, concise, and easy-to-read and which have a consistent format that is readily recognized as a DDS product.

At the project kickoff meeting, the group discussed accessible communication practices; developed recommendations for “best practices” that should be implemented at DDS, and created a process for piloting and evaluating guideline recommendations throughout the department.  The recommended guidelines will be implemented throughout the regions and at CO during the month of October.  The pilot project committee members will be available to regional and CO support staff to answer questions and assist with implementation of the draft guidelines.  
In November, the group will reconvene to discuss what was learned through the October pilot.   Self advocate and family readers will review the project results and make recommendations for further enhancements as needed.  A final version of the recommended guidelines will be approved by the Commissioner’s Executive team and then will be published and disseminated throughout the department.
The Commissioner is very grateful for the hard work shown by committee members and is pleased that support staff have taken the lead to “Move the Mission” by helping to create documents that are easier for our consumers and family members to read and understand.
Accessible Communications Members include; Michelle Bacry, Jolie Crescimano-Goss, Joan Fortin, Dianne Gill, Jean Jarvis, Claudia Neumann, Maureen Prewitt, Brigitta Rainey, Eunice Rivera, Lisa Rogers, Pam Webb and Robin Wood, Director of Family Support Strategies and Advocacy.
Group Members