Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Not In Our Town extends support to those with developmental disabilities

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Not In Our Town heard last week that its members need to stand up with another population facing some discrimination in Bowling Green. During their monthly meeting, Not In Our Town members talked about the need to branch out and go beyond defending diversity in race, religion and sexual orientation. NIOT also needs to stand up in the community for people with different intellectual and developmental disabilities, members agreed. Emily Dunipace, from the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, talked about the need for people with differing intellectual abilities to be treated without discrimination in the community. “They want to be included like anyone else,” Dunipace said. Last month, after Wood Lane announced plans to open a group home for children with developmental disabilities, they were confronted by some neighbors who had concerns about the group home. It’s disappointing that people think that way,” said Heather Sayler, a NIOT member whose oldest son uses some services from Wood Lane. Rev. Gary Saunders, who lives in the general neighborhood of the new Wood Lane group home, said he was disappointed to hear about reluctance of neighbors to welcome the new residents. Julie Broadwell, community co-chair of Not In Our Town, agreed that the organization is dedicated to defending all populations facing discrimination – including intellectual and developmental disabilities. “That’s a whole issue we haven’t tapped into,” she said. The organization discussed the possibility of hosting a forum on the inappropriate use of the “R” (retard) word. Also during last week’s meeting, Not In…


Two views on Melrose – Great news for Wood Lane kids; new concerns for neighbors

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After decades of providing homes for adults with developmental disabilities, Wood Lane is working on its first home for children. The home, at 1022 Melrose St., Bowling Green, will be home to four children whose families need assistance in caring for them. “It’s new for us, but it’s something that everyone connected with our program knows we need,” said Brent Baer, superintendent of Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “In the last year, not a week has gone by that I haven’t heard that we can’t wait,” to offer homes for children, Baer said. The board’s housing plan originally planned for a children’s home to be opened in 2019-2010. Then the house on Melrose became available. “What a great place to grow up,” Baer said. However, some neighbors on the quiet Melrose Street, that borders Wintergarden Park, are wondering how this new home will affect their neighborhood. Wood Lane had initially planned to use the Melrose home for the Horizons program, as a home for adults with unforeseen homelessness or behavioral difficulties. But the Horizons program home will instead be located near Portage. “The owners live next door and they contacted us because they want us there,” Baer said. That gave Wood Lane an opportunity to open its first children’s home on Melrose Street. “There were cheers and claps from the staff,” when Baer told them a home for children could be opened sooner than expected. “These individuals and their families are in desperate need of this home. Their needs are just…


Seniors get “shelf meals” in case of bad winter weather

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Like squirrels putting away nuts for the winter, food is being boxed for seniors throughout Wood County. About 850 “shelf meals” were packed up recently at the Wood County Senior Center. The boxes will be delivered to the seniors who receive home delivered meals from the Wood County Committee on Aging. The goal is to make sure the seniors have food available in case inclement weather makes it impossible for the home delivered meals to make it to them. “If those individuals can’t get out of their house, and we can’t get to them because of the weather,” explained Angie Bradford, director of food services at the senior center. “It’s those extra two meals if we can’t get to them.” The Wood County Committee on Aging used to hand out pre-packed shelf meals, but found the quality lacking. Some of the food was not intended for long-term storage, Bradford said. Such was the case with canned pears one year. “They all exploded in my storeroom,” she said. So now the volunteers pack the boxes themselves. Bradford enlisted the help of people served by Wood County Developmental Disabilities to pack up the boxes. One can of beef stew, two peanut butter packets, powdered milk, corn, green beans, peaches and more. “It’s been a great partnership,” Bradford said. Those packing the boxes enjoy the work, she said. “Phyllis was asking about it in August.” As she packed cans in the boxes, Phyllis Layman explained her motivation. “I like helping people.” Tricia Romero agreed. “We…


Wood Lane industries to move; board searches for other work options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The work at Wood Lane Industries will soon be moving – along with two-thirds of the people with developmental disabilities who are served there. The work and the workers will be setting up shop in a storefront on Main Street in Bowling Green – an exciting opportunity for the people being served, organizers said. But the concern now is that 41 of the 125 workers will be left behind, with little time to find alternate services for them. Families of people with developmental disabilities met this past week in the industries building on East Gypsy Lane Road, to get as many answers as possible. Many expressed concerns about change being especially difficult for people with developmental disabilities. They and their families are comforted by consistency in settings, staff and services. Brent Baer, superintendent of the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities (known as Wood Lane to many), apologized to the families for the hastily organized meeting. But he explained that the board felt the need to act quickly to try to find new providers for adult services. “I realize this is a shock to many of you,” Baer said. The board was notified about two weeks ago that the services at the industries location would be moving by the end of this year. “This is a pretty monumental transition for us, and it’s certainly not one we asked for,” Baer said. “I know this is going to be a huge challenge.” Wood Lane has been through several changes in the last few…


Wood Lane vision focuses on people first

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities is focusing on the abilities of its consumers. Wood Lane Superintendent Brent Baer and board president Becca Ferguson presented its new vision to the Wood County Commissioners last week. The vision statement is brief, saying the board is there to “support, empower and inspire people.” “It ends with the word ‘people,’” not with disabilities, Baer said. “This speaks to who we are and what we cherish.” “I’ve never worked anywhere where I could recite it,” Baer said of the short and sweet vision statement. “It means a lot to us.” The vision statement has been posted on every office door at Wood Lane. “That set the tone for the rest of the 2020 vision,” adopted by the board, Baer said. The organization’s goal is to focus more on person-centered thinking. “The person is at the center of everything we do,” he said. But to really do that, the staff has to know the person – not just the contents of the consumer’s file. “We have to truly know the individual,” Baer said. “Checklists look great in a file. But that does not get to know the real person.” So a push is being made for staff to spend time doing fun activities with consumers. Recently that meant a volleyball game between consumers and staff. “That was probably the most fun I’ve had in years – and we were working,” Baer said. Not to mention, “We lost.” New emphasis is also being placed on consumers taking part…


Portraits in friendships between BGSU student photographers & Wood Lane individuals exhibited at Toledo Museum

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News To find the Wood Lane photo exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art, walk toward Matisse’s “Apollo” on the ground floor, then take a left. Just down the hall from that masterpiece, images of people served by Wood Lane line the walls of the Community Gallery. Most of the photos were taken by students in Lynn Whitney’s Community Projects class at Bowling Green State University. Some were taken by the Wood Lane individuals themselves. The exhibit, “Speaking of,” is the culmination of semester long project through which a dozen BGSU student photographers were teamed up with Wood Lane individuals. This is the project’s fifth year. At the opening, Whitney said this was “a project that seeks to bring a voice and alternative vision to a community of especially wonderful people.” In the beginning the Wood Lane individuals were the subjects. The photographers worked with them to depict their lives. This year, though, they were also given cameras and with the guidance of their student partners also made photographs. They went out bowling, shopping, for ice cream, and talked, said Lisa Kaplan, a BGSU graduate and a professor at Adrian College who has watched the project develop. And they came to the museum both for a visual literacy workshop and to view the Kehinde Wiley exhibit. This kind of partnership is especially needed now, Kaplan said. “We face a nation that’s increasingly suffering in many ways from a terrible lack of empathy. The struggle continues to get to a place where people with disabilities are…