Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities

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 years – with most affecting administration while the services remained…


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 in service projects that give back to the community. For…


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 fully integrated members of society who have full access to…