DRM provides advocacy services to individuals with developmental disabilities under the federal PADD Program.
Additionally, DRM also provides advocacy services to adults with Autism & Intellectual Disabilities who receive Developmental Services. DRM's Developmental Services
Advocates (DSA) are funded by the Maine Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS), Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS). The DSA advocates, who are located in Caribou, Bangor, Lewiston, Augusta/Rockland, and Portland, provide direct representation, respond to reported rights
violations, attend all 3-person committee meetings reviewing the use of
severely intrusive behavior and safety plans, attend Person Centered
Planning meetings, and conduct regular outreach and training statewide.
Disability Rights Maine supports SABE (Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered) Position on the "R" Word
Position on the “R” Word
Whereas the “r” word is used as a common insult
Whereas when people with intellectual disabilities hear the “R” word it…
hurts the heart
feels like I can never do anything right
is not honor it is a put down
is like a sword, sharp to the point
makes us feel we are not people
is used to separate us from people without disabilities
Whereas the “R” word is also used to put down people who are psychiatric survivors, it destroys the hopes and dreams of others
Whereas when people have this label, it holds them back and
sometimes society doesn’t let you do things
Whereas there is widespread use of the word because people think it is funny and cool to use this word
Whereas, if someone is told their entire life that they are no good because they have a disability, they may believe they do not deserve better treatment
Whereas, sometimes a person feels shame and is afraid to speak up because they fear physical harm
Whereas the “R” word is used a lot on YouTube, My Space and Facebook and this and other hateful language about people with disabilities needs to be addressed
Whereas, when the “R” word is used by organizations such as VOR is wrong, disrespectful and offensive and must be stopped
Whereas, children and adults with developmental disabilities are abused at much higher rates than others. The “R” word contributes to this pattern of violence. It makes it a common thing, acceptable to hurt people with disabilities
Whereas, just because people need help, we are all human beings and all human beings need help at some point in their life
Whereas, when we hear this word we hear:
we don’t want you,
you are different,
you do not belong,
you belong somewhere else
Whereas, the usage of the “R” word has the same impact as the “N” Word, and any other type of hate slur
Whereas, when someone thinks you have that label they won’t let you do what you are truly capable of
Whereas, when they use those words they keep you from finding yourself
Be it resolved, it is time for citizens and local, state and federal officials to:
Come out and put a stop to using the “R” word
Recognize it is not just about being politically correct it is about respect
Use People First language
Make sure people continue to get their supports and/or services when the name is changed to intellectual disabilities
Recognize that Congress passed a bill eliminating the word “R” word
from federal statutes, so we should look to the future, using the term
Ryan Brown, Residential Manager, Group Main Stream
Bethany DeLorenzo, Residential Manager, Group Main Stream
Apollo Karara, Direct Support Professional, Group Main Stream
DRM's Recent Work
DRM Addresses Array of Serious Rights Violations for Client
DRM received several reportable events alleging rights violations regarding a man with an intellectual disability. The advocate at DRM met with the man, his staff, the guardian and the executive director of the agency and found out that the man's rights were being violated in many ways; staff were restricting his right to his property; using the soda that he purchased as a reward for good behavior; restricting what clothes he could wear; refusing to let him keep his property in his room; making his clean up his feces and urine when he was incontinent and using planned restraints - all without any intrusive plans in place. The advocate also discovered that there were over 30 pages of plans that the agency was using and they were all outdated or unapproved. These plans were also wrought with disrespectful language and were not person centered. The advocate educated the entire home staff and their supervisors about rights and reportable event procedures. Because of the advocacy of the DRM, the man's plans were discontinued and all of his rights were restored for the first time in his adult life.
DRM Assists Client with Becoming Her Own Guardian
An adult female with an intellectual disability contacted DRM requesting assistance terminating her guardianship and conservatorship. DRM discovered that the client had been put under guardianship and conservatorship without due process. The probate court had processed the client's family member’s request for temporary emergency guardianship/conservatorship without contacting the client. Then, instead of scheduling a hearing, the court issued an order for full guardianship and conservatorship. The client was never contacted by the court and had no knowledge of the order until he contacted DRM. DRM made a motion to the court requesting that the court vacate the client's guardianship/conservatorship on the basis that she did not receive due process when the order was made.
At hearing, the court requested that the parties consider a potential settlement. The client's current guardian agreed to terminate guardianship/conservatorship if the client agreed to put her money in a special needs trust, which the client agreed to do. At hearing, both parties submitted the Settlement Agreement to the court. Pursuant to that agreement, the court terminated the client's guardianship.
DRM Successfully Advocates for Client to Receive Specialized Services
In the course of conducting outreach to Van Meter v. Mayhew class members living in nursing facilities concerning the provision of specialized services, DRM discovered woman in her 40's with cerebral palsy that had not left the nursing facility in months. Initially, she had not been identified by the State as needing specialized services. DRM successfully negotiated for the client to receive community support services. In arranging these community support services, the nursing facility attempted to limit her choice to one program, citing transportation issues. DRM resolved the transportation issue by obtaining additional information and sharing it with the nursing facility.
Supported Decision-Making (SDM), often used as an alternative to guardianship, recognizes that people with decision-making challenges can retain their decision-making capacity by using supports to help them make choices.
Learn how SDM can be used to help preserve a person's autonomy and independence, while still providing the person with support from family, friends, and community. Additionally, this training will provide a brief history of SDM and include information about exciting changes to Maine's guardianship law, which now requires SDM and other less restrictive alternatives to be considered prior to ordering guardianship.
Co-presenters: Kile Pelletier, Program Associate, Speaking Up for Us & Staci Converse, Managing Attorney, Disability Rights Maine
The Complete Guide to Social Security Disability Benefits
From the website: "Developing a disability can be frustrating for many reasons, and the inability to work is one of the hardest things to deal with. In the U.S., 12.8% of people are disabled, and more than half of them (51%) are within the prime working ages of 18-54, according to an annual report funded by the NIDILRR, and the employment rate of disabled individuals ranges from 27.4% to 54% between the states. This leaves many unemployed, and not being able to work leads to depression and the feeling of being a burden on your family and loved ones.
Fortunately, disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration can offer relief, giving a disabled person back their agency and dignity, though many are unaware of the rules and qualifications regarding the available benefits.
That’s why we’ve compiled this guide: to provide everything you need to know on the topic in a clear, concise manner. We’ll cover the available
benefits, necessary qualifications for different age groups, how benefits are paid out, alternative sources of benefits, and more. After reading, acquiring the benefits that you deserve will be a whole lot easier."
COVID-19: Person-Centered Discussion Tool for Assessing the Risks of Having Visitors and Accessing the Community
COVID-19 is challenging for all and has made a lot of things change for people with disabilities. Now that we have entered a new phase of this emergency with many businesses, parks, restaurants, etc. reopening, OADS, DRM, and SUFU are receiving questions about rights and restrictions from both providers of services and individuals served.
Given that the rights of individuals with disabilities and the responsibility of providers to ensure health and safety may at times conflict with each other, OADS, DRM, and SUFU offer the following Risk/Benefit Discussion Guide to help individuals make the best decisions for themselves with the support of their families, case managers, and others. This tool* is an optional way to think about some of the health and safety risks that a person should consider before taking part in a new community activity and/or interacting with new individuals. As always, Person-centered principles should guide everyday practice before, during, and after an emergency.
*Please note this tool and the frequently asked questions are not intended to take the place of legal or medical advice. If this type of professional advice is needed, a professional should be consulted.
How to Request a COVID-Related Reasonable Accommodation
Everyone’s life is currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of COVID-19, many providers have made new rules and changed the way they offer services to people with disabilities. Sometimes these new rules make it hard for people to access their services because of their disability. If you or someone you know is having difficulty receiving services because of these new rules, you might be able to request a “reasonable accommodation” based on your disability. This webinar will talk about what a reasonable accommodation is, how to request a reasonable accommodation and what to do if your provider says no. There will also be time at the end for questions and answers.
This manual is intended to provide a simple yet informative overview of how to be a self-advocate. This manual is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have specific questions or need assistance with a particular issue, please contact Disability Rights Maine.