Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council’s Five-Year State Plan Survey

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has published a survey to gather information about the needs of Ohioans with disabilities. The data gathered from this survey will inform the development of a Five-Year State Plan, which aims to “improve independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life.” The Five-Year State Plan will be developed by a council selected by the governor and will create grant proposals for identified problem areas. The survey, which is available here, is open until January 31, 2020. If you are an individual with a disability, a parent or guardian of an individual with a disability, or a related stakeholder, consider completing this survey to voice your opinion about priority areas that are important to you.

For more information, click here.

Fall Break Reminder

As a reminder, Fall Break is this week on Thursday, October 10th and Friday, October 11th. Students have these days off, which should be reflected in the Google calendar. The TOPS Office will still be open. If you have any concerns or questions, contact the office.

Enjoy your break!

Research Opportunity: Accessibility of Research

See below for information about a research study that may be of interest.

“We are looking for adults with intellectual disability to participate in a brief research study at the Ohio State University Nisonger center. Individuals with intellectual disability face barriers to successfully entering and benefiting from participation in research. One of those barriers is the informed consent forms used, which are written in legalistic jargon with advanced vocabulary that make them difficult to understand. The goal of our project is to successfully adapt the informed consent process so that more people with intellectual disability can meaningfully participate in and benefit from research.

The study will take between one and two hours. We will pay you a $30 gift card and travel costs up to $20 for participating.

Interested or know someone who may be interested? Please email jesse.strickler@osumc.edu to learn more.​”

Click here to view the recruitment flyer

Research Opportunity: Seeking Participants for Research Study on Post-Secondary Success of People with an Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Do you have a job, go to school, or live on your own, and have an Intellectual and Developmental Disability? We want to hear from you!

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University are currently recruiting participants for a study (HM20016725) to better understand what helps people succeed in employment, post-secondary education, and/or independent living.

Your story of life after K-12 school can help increase awareness of the incredible possibilities life can hold for students with IDD. As a thank you for participation in a 60-minute interview, you will receive a $25 gift card.

Email Lindsay Kozachuk at kozachukl@vcu.edu today to see if you qualify!

Note: Participants must be 18 years or older, have IDD, and be employed, enrolled in post-secondary education, and/or living independently to qualify for participation in this study. Contact Laron Scott, Ph.D. at scottla2@vcu.edu for questions or concerns.

VCU Study Success Stories Recruitment Flyer

OSU Homecoming Week

It’s Ohio State’s Homecoming Week! This school year, we are celebrating OSU’s 150th anniversary and the 107th homecoming celebration (https://homecoming.osu.edu/). We are looking forward to participating in the Homecoming Parade, which one of the biggest events of the week and a Buckeye tradition. To show off our Buckeye spirit, here are a few reasons we love Ohio State:

Volunteer Spotlight: Meredith

This week’s Volunteer Spotlight is Meredith, who has been volunteering with TOPS for two semesters now as both an Educational Coach and an In-Class Mentor. Meredith first learned about TOPS from an organization she is in called Students Supporting People with Down Syndrome (a club she’s now the president of)! She is also the Vice President of OSU’s chapter of Best Buddies. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Disability Studies, and plans to continue on to graduate school to study occupational therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out on the Oval and listening to music with her friends.

Meredith’s favorite part of the TOPS program is helping students “explore their individual passions in their classes, their internships, and their jobs! It is so cool to help students work toward something so meaningful to them.” Here is one way that Meredith says TOPS has impacted her:

TOPS has really developed my adaptability and problem-solving abilities. College classes are very stressful and when things go wrong or due dates seem to pop up out of nowhere, panic sets in. I especially had to develop these skills when I was an Ed Coach in a Visual Studies: Expanded Media course and I know nothing about the computer programs we had to use. I was learning right there alongside this TOPS student and had to quickly be able to apply these skills to help them start creating.

To Meredith, volunteering with TOPS means that she interacts with “amazingly unique, hard-working, and intelligent students.” Her favorite memory with the program so far has been Woody’s Tavern Karaoke night. “We ended up going back to karaoke night there almost every time they held it last semester and sang a different song each time. So so fun.”

Meredith, we appreciate you going above and beyond. Thanks for all you do!

Resource: Guardianship & Alternatives

Click the link below to access a resource from the Think College website about power of attorney, supported decision-making, and guardianship. The Think College Resource Library also has many other articles on a variety of topics related to postsecondary education and is updated frequently.

“Consider the Alternatives: Decision-Making Options for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities”

What Were Students Up to this Summer?

We are so excited that students are back on campus for the fall semester! Here is what Kristen did over the summer:

“This past June I went to serve at a younglife camp in Goshen Virginia called Rockbridge Alum Springs! It was four weeks filled with fun, friendship, and exhaustion. I was in the Rockbridge office helping with tasks and everyday I got to venture into Lexington Virginia (the closest town to camp) to run errands and get supplies, besides running errands and doing office work I also got to facilitate night activities for the camp. I got to strengthen my relationship with Christ as well, I met friends from all the way from Puerto Rico to Boston. My friend Anna (who graduated last Spring from OSU) helped me with tasks that I needed help with! Summer is a great time to build your resume.”

If you are interested in sharing what you did this summer on the blog, send an email to TOPS Staff.

Research Opportunity: FLASH Curriculum

See below for information about a research study that may be of interest to you. 


We are looking for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, which may include diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, ages 15-30 years to participate in a research study!

If you decide to participate, you will participate in a biweekly, five-week sexual health education program with your peers, with a comprehensive assessment of your knowledge on these topics on the first and last day of the group.. We will use this information to improve sexual health education! Your personal information will never be associated with this study.

Schedule for the modified FLASH curriculum
Week 1 Day 1 2 hours Intro/Assessments
  Day 2 90 mins Effective Communication
Week 2 Day 3 90 mins Relationships
  Day 4 90 mins Anatomy and Physiology
Week 3 Day 5 90 mins Puberty and Adolescent Development
  Day 6 90 mins Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
Week 4 Day 7 90 mins Pregnancy, Reproduction, Contraception and Parenting
  Day 8 90 mins STDs and HIV/AIDS
Week 5 Day 9 90 mins Safety, resources, and review
  Day 10 2 hours Final assessment and party

Days and times of the group meeting will be determined based on your availability!
All participants will be offered a parking pass, a $20 gift card for participating, and pizza will be provided at each session.

Interested or know someone who may be interested? Please email me Schmidt.1072@osu.edu or call me at 513-492-2908.

Thank you,
Liz Schmidt

Event Recaps: Community Commitment Day & Buck-i-Frenzy

Students recently volunteered at Community Commitment Day, an event where Ohio State students join together to serve the Columbus community in various service projects around the city. Thank you to everyone who attended!

During Welcome Week, Ohio State hosts Buck-i-Frenzy, which is always very fun (and busy). We are looking forward to many more exciting social events this school year.