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PALS April 29, 2020 Meeting - Mary Evrard from OID

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

PALS Meeting Minutes

April 29, 2020 9:30 a.m.

Virtual Meeting using Zoom

Scroll down for the latest COVID-19 Resources & More.


Mary Evrard

Community and Communications Liaison Coordinator for Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Intellectual Disability (OID

Mary Evrard joined us from Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Intellectual Disability (OID). Mary serves as the Community and Communication Liaison. She has over 35 years of experience supporting people with disabilities, with more than 15 at the county level.

Navigating and understanding what’s available in the community, from human services and through medical assistance programs can be complex. One important part of her service is developing informational materials and sharing with stakeholders.

Mary appreciates how critical it is for families and caregivers, and the professionals that support them, to be informed and to have access to resources and connections for ongoing assistance. It’s important for her to engage the community, share knowledge, and be one of those connections.

Mary shared details about Allegheny County DHS, OID, PA Office of Developmental Programs and other system and community resources and answered our questions.




NOTE: OID freuquently updates these resources. If you visit at a later date and receive an error message on a link please visit OID directly for an updated copy.

Find a detailed list of resources for families in Allegheny County. These resources span across age and disability. Clicking on a disability or service found in green on pages 1 and 2 will take users to a list resources.

This is a supplementary list of resources and free opprotunities for families. Many items on this list are appropriate for all family members.

Looking for medical assistance in the area ready to work with your special needs family member? This list is your go to guide.

Quick reference guide for applying for Medical Assistance through the PH-95 program often refered to as "the loophole". Although parents must disclose their income it is NOT accounted for in the eligiblity process.

Get on the list! OID sends announcements of events, trainings, articles, and other resources 1-4 times a month via e-mail.

A comprehensive list of Support Coordination Organizations in Allegheny County including phone numbers and website addresses.

Easy reference guide to who is eligible to recieve services through OID. If you read this Fact Sheet and think you are not eligible for services OID recommends you still call and speak to a representative. Even if you do not qualify OID may be able to suggest an agency that can help. For instance, PA Elks Home Service Program (see Community and Service Systems handout above) frequently assists individuals who do not qualify for services through OID. Although the state has started openning up OID for ages 0-3 years, OID generally recommends families seek assistance through The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers. This agency is well equipt to help families with their early childhood needs.

This fact sheet outlines what will happen and what to expect when you call the OID intake hotline. It is perfectly okay to NOT have everything you need to register when you call. Many families wait until their children are getting ready to transition from high school.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT! OID HIGHLY RECOMMENDS families begin the registration early, even if you do not think you need services now. OID frequently recommends beginning at age 9.

This fact sheet explains what the role of a Support Coordination Organization is and is not. A SCO's main role is to LOCATE, COORDINATE, and MONITOR services. A SCO DOES NOT give direct care or transportation.

A list of PA Family Network's monthly support group meetings.

The resources found here are useful to all members of the community. Resources span financial and mental health assistance, to free resources for activities like visiting parks, museums, and attendin virtual storytimes. There are also links to help parents discuss and explain what is going on in the world today with COVID-19 restrictions and how to work through anxiety and stress.

Quick reference guide about what OID does for the community.



Disability Rights of Pennsylvania's April Newsletter


Important message from Pennsylvania Disability Rights

On, Monday, April 20, 2020, Disability Rights of Pennsylvania (DRP) started its 45-day public comment period for our fiscal year 2021 annual program goals and objectives. DRP invites public feedback on the issues that matter most to individuals with disabilities, along with their families and organizations supporting them.  June 4, 2020, will be the final day to offer public comments. DRP is hosting 1 live webinar to accept public comment. Keep up to date on our page and social media for more information on how to participate.

Specifically, DRP would like to hear your ideas about the impact of COVID-19, any associated advocacy that should be facilitated because of the virus, as well as current, new and emerging issues since last year’s comment period:

  • how we can ensure the protection of civil and human rights,

  • the training opportunities we should make available for people with disabilities, family members, and for people who provide supports and the general community.

DRP is the federally authorized, protection and advocacy system, in Pennsylvania to provide legal and advocacy services to persons with disabilities.

DRP staff works diligently statewide to:

  • improve disability service and social systems

  • work to ensure civil rights and to empower the community

  • provide technical and training assistance

We welcome your participation in this process and thank you for your time and input. Let's continue this advocacy together.

-Thank you, from all of us at Disability Rights Pennsylvania

Click HERE to take the survey.


DeVos Finds ‘No Reason’ To Waive Key Provisions Of IDEA

DeVos Finds..
Download PDF • 66KB


Important Survey from Wrightslaw

We need your help.

We partnered with Diane Willcutts, Education Advocate from Connecticut, in creating and disseminating a Parent Survey to collect information about special education programs for children with IEPs and 504 Plans after COVID-19 closed schools. If we gather enough information from parents, we will be in a stronger position to educate legislators and members of Congress about the urgent need to protect the rights of children with special needs and their families. The Parent Survey is short (10 questions) and anonymous. After you complete the Parent Survey, please pass it on to other parents who can help. Please give the Parent Survey a good, strong shout-out on social media!



From Open Up Pittsburgh

The Open Up team has been working hard to bring plans for accessible virtual practice to life. Today, we published our first digital book with written content as well as a video collections for all ages.

We look forward to sharing more resources from Open Up as we continue to work in the hopes of bringing a bit of lightness to our spaces.


From Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Intellectual Disability (OID)

The Integrated Supports Star, a Charting the LifeCourse tool, is a way to brainstorm and share support strategies throughout the COVID-19 response.  

Find information about a May webinar, Supports Star examples, an Allegheny County COVID-19 star and an Allegheny County blank star for you to complete on the OID Key Communicator Announcement page here


From Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Intellectual Disability (OID)

Supplemental Security Income Recipients Will Receive Automatic COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments SSI Recipients with Dependent Children Should Still Go To to Provide Their Information

News release Wednesday, April 15th 2020

“The Social Security Administration announced today that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will receive automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department. Treasury anticipates these automatic payments no later than early May.

SSI recipients with no qualifying children do not need to take any action in order to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. The payments will be automatic.

SSI recipients who have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment. They should now go to the IRS’s webpage at and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info section to provide their information. By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. If SSI beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait until later to receive their $500 per qualifying child.”

For more information and a print version of the news release visit


From Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Intellectual Disability (OID)

The Home and Community Based Settings (HCBS) Final Rule, a federal policy change announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), provides new opportunities for people with disabilities to have the kinds of community services they want. From Learn more there.

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University is offering webinars about Home and Community Based Services (HCBS / waiver services) and the Final Rule. If you have questions, please email Jamie at These webinars are supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.

HCBS Settings Rule and Heightened Scrutiny

DATE: Thursday April 30, 2020

TIME: 10 AM - 11:30 AM

Also from OID

Find this latest resource list, Resources especially helpful during the COVID-19 response on the OID webpage here

Please take some time to explore…I hope you find some things you can use… Your feedback would be appreciated!

There are lots of remote activities and ways to stay connected, supported and informed including:

  • Resources related to supporting individuals with intellectual disability and/or autism, their families and the people that support them

  • Resources related to supporting individuals with specific communication needs, their families and the people that support them

  • Basic Needs

  • Find support and connection

  • Ways to keep busy

  • Education  - students learning from home

As always, these lists are also available on our page:


From The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education is pleased to announce the following online conference opportunity:

AAC Talks Spring 2020 Web Conference: Communicating All Day

Friday, May 8, 2020 8:45 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Join us for our second annual AAC Talks web conference designed to provide participants with ideas, strategies, and resources for supporting students with complex communication needs in multiple environments throughout the day. National and local presenters will discuss a variety of topics including engaging students, increasing communication opportunities, vocabulary selection, and access and positioning for AAC and classroom activities.

Presenters: Erin Sheldon, Lindsey Paden Cargill, Lauren Enders, Karen Kangas, and more

Credit: Act 48 Clock hours*

Note: Individuals attending this webinar conference must log in and out of each morning and/or afternoon webinar, including the Keynote, on time and stay for the duration of each session and must submit the online evaluation survey with all the appropriate codes by May 15, 2020 in order to receive Act 48 Professional Education hours. No partial credit will be given.

Registration Information:

You may register online by visiting the conference page at by clicking on the name of the event on the Training Events Calendar at

For content-related information and questions, please contact Tammy Thompson-Cooke at tcooke@pattan.netor 610-878-7205.

For general registration information and questions, please contact Annette Bauerlein at abauerlein@pattan.netor 610-878-7211


The Statewide Support & Referral Helpline is staffed by skilled and compassionate staff that are available 24/7 to respond to those struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency. Staff at the Helpline refer callers to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs.

The toll-free, round-the-clock support line is officially operational.

The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.

The Helpline was created by the Department of Human Services DHS and the Center for Community Resources (CCR). Helpline staff are trained to be accessible, culturally competent, and skilled at assisting individuals in the ID/A community as well as anyone else who might have a need – teens, adults, special populations and their supporters. Staff use the principles of trauma-informed care to listen, assess needs, triage calls, and provide appropriate referral to community resources to children, teens, adults and special populations.


Autism Connection of Pennsylvania's Spring Newsletter


Center for Community Resources


From Fox Chapel Area School District:

The Fox Chapel Area School District is continuing weekly food distributions for our families. These distributions, consisting of five breakfasts and five lunches, will continue as long as the school district is closed.

Next week’s distribution will be held from noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at the back entrance of Kerr Elementary School.

We will continue to keep you informed of upcoming food distribution sessions as they are scheduled.


During this time, we will continue to host virtual meetings using Zoom EVERY Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.. We will post the log-in information for these meetings on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. THIS IS A PASSWORD PROTECTED MEETING. THE PASSWORD WAS E-MAIL TO ALL SUBSCRIBERS ON 4/13/20. YOU MAY SUBSCRIBE TO OUR E-MAIL LIST TO RECEIVE IT.

Reference Material

Need information regarding the rights to special education in Pennsylvania? The Education Law Center’s “A Guide for Parents and Advocates” is a great start.

Next Meeting: May 6, 2020 9:30 a.m. Virtual Meeting using Zoom. If you are a subscriber, you have recevied an e-mail from PALS with the log-in information for this meeting, including the password. If you you are not currently a subscriber we welcome you to find the link at the bottom of the page and subscribe today.

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