Changes to BPDD and our COVID-19 Response
Developmental Disability Councils play a powerful role in response to COVID-19 in ensuring that people with disabilities, their families and their support networks are not left behind. Wisconsin’s Board for People with Developmental Disabilities has fluidly shifted much of our work to shape COVID-19 related state policies and support communities around the state to promote the health, safety and connections of people with disabilities who are at increased risk of infection, serious complications, and heightened health and safety risks created by isolation and lack of supports. If you are looking for information on what vaccine group you are in or how to go about getting vaccinated, you can follow the link below to the Department of Health Services website to find your local public health department. Just click on the county you live in and it will show the contact info.
- Disability Advocacy Day that typically draws upwards of 400 people each year was the first event to switch to a virtual format with 1,392 people engaged.
- Partners in Policymaking switched to an abbreviated live Zoom session that included speakers and activities while retaining full attendance.
- The Employment First Conference that draws 300 participants is using a virtual format with sessions on how to use technology to provide remote employment supports, how to lead at a time of change and updates on providing employment services and supports in the COVID-19 environment. Registration fees have been eliminated for self advocates and their family members. An online virtual marketplace will allow microenterprise vendors to continue selling their products at the conference. An Essential Worker video being created with Wisconsin’s Managed Care Organizations will be shown to highlight people with disabilities continuing to work through the COVID crisis.
- BPDD and its partners in the WI Disability Vote Coalition (WDVC) hosted 4 webinars for more than 150 people on COVID-19 and Voting to address the fast-changing rules around Wisconsin’s Spring Election, help voters understand their rights, how to vote absentee and stay safe if voting in person.
- People First Wisconsin, the statewide self-advocacy network supported through a grant from our Council, is working with all 21 chapters on how to have effective Zoom meetings. The Executive Director, a self-advocate herself, sends a weekly letter to members to keep them updated and keep their spirits up.
- BPDD’s Self-Determination You Tube Channel, which features 4 dynamic self-advocates co-hosting segments that feature other self-advocates, developed 3 new videos to help people cope with COVID-19, including how to stay healthy, safe, and avoid emotional isolation. Segments are now being taped using Zoom and Facetime, which has proven to be a more cost-effective way to keep the channel going with more frequent and fresh material.
- As a result of additional barriers facing Ho-Chunk tribal members whose children have disabilities, BPDD is hiring a Family Navigator to provide culturally sensitive and intense resource coordination to up to 19 tribal families in Wisconsin. These families are not connected to formal services and supports and many of them were already experiencing poverty and food/housing insecurity prior to COVID-19.
- Many disability service providers responded to the pandemic by offering virtual Home and Community Based
Services (HCBS). To evaluate these services and to identify best practices and outcomes, BPDD partnered with
the Waisman Center’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities to design and coordinate an
evaluation project. 15 service providers participated.
Wisconsin’s Living Well COVID-19 Toolkit
More from the Living Well COVID-Toolkit
To download the fillable versions of these documents, click the green button and then in the new tab that opens, click download in the top right corner.
make it safer for you to be in your community. Most people can
safely get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them. Learn about the vaccine distribution plans and dispelling myths.
- Learn how to keep yourself healthy from the Coronavirus and what to do if you do get sick. Go through the “My Safer at Home Plan” to be sure you have everything you need to stay healthy.
- Learn how to stay safe in your home and your rights. Learn how to tell someone if you are abused and neglected and to make a plan of action if you feel unsafe. Find out what other resources are out there to help you.
- Learn how to stay connected during this time to your family and friends. Learn what is social distancing and safer at home. Get ideas on activities you can do to feel better, learn something new, and keep yourself busy.
Self-Determination YouTube Channel
avoid emotional isolation. Segments are now being taped using Zoom and Facetime, which has proven to be a more cost-effective way to keep the channel
going with more frequent and fresh material.
The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations is a cross-disability coalition of more than 40 state and local organizations and groups. For more than 20 years, Survival has been focused on changing and improving policies and practices that support people with disabilities of all ages to be full participants in community life. During the pandemic, Survival Coalition has sent press releases, held press conferences, sent action alerts, policy recommendations, surveys and letters to the Governor about COVID policies and the impact of COVID on people with disabilities.
Survival Coalition is also updating released data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in people with disabilities and older adults. People with disabilities and older adults, particularly those who live in congregate or group settings are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Wisconsin’s long-term care program enrollment is 77,432 or approximately 1.4% of the WI population but accounts for more than 1/6 of all state COVID-19 deaths.