START Newsletter | Fall 2018
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Vision & Voice: A Quarterly News & Event Publication of the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
START Newsletter | Fall 2018
Director's Welcome
Picture of Joan BeasleyHello START Network!
There is a lot to share in our Fall 2018 Newsletter. We welcome the OKSTART Child and Transitional Youth Clinical Team and their community PLC to the START Network. Oklahoma is state number 10 of states that currently have START programs. There are several others joining soon, so stay tuned. We also have important research projects, creative innovations and therapeutic supports developments to share with you.
While the beauty of autumn leaves in bright, sunny New England and around the country bring joy despite the chilly temperatures, the weather has not been kind to our NCSTART programs and their communities. Two Hurricanes severely impacted both East and West NC teams and their communities. We wish them all well in the weeks and months to come as they recover from the damage and devastation of these difficult events.
Enjoy the Newsletter and please do not forget to save the date for our annual START National Training Institute May 6-8, 2019 in Washington, DC.
To quote our friend, the late Bill Gardner:
“Keep the Smile”
Joni Beasley
START Spotlight
Counselors are "START Strong" at Statesville Resource Center
On Thursday October 11th around 1:30 in the afternoon, START Counselors Naquita Gregory, Shaquawn Ramsey, and Candace Heaggans were sitting together with two guests in the living room of the NC START West Resource Center in Statesville, NC as Tropical Storm Michael approached the area.

"It had been raining all day so we had been stuck inside, one of the counselors was just finishing painting a guest's nails and for some reason, I walked into the sun room," said Naquita. "When I walked in, something told me to look up to the left. It was kind of an out of body experience, I don’t even know how else to describe it, my only words were 'oh my god, a tree is falling on the house'."
"Adrenaline kicked in and we just did what we had to do to make sure the guests were safe and we were safe. The guests were really helpful with each other, they remained calm, we remained calm, and we worked together to quickly and safely get out of the house to a safer place. The first two trees had fallen on top of the van, the house, and five cars parked nearby. As we were running to get to safety we heard another loud boom, it sounded like the middle of the house split. We weren't sure what it was but there were a lot of trees down in the area, our neighbors thought it was a tornado, warnings had been issued before the storm came through."
"None of us had time to grab our car keys, but by some stroke of luck, one of our counselors happened to have her car keys in her pocket that afternoon, and it just so happens that her car was spared." Once the counselors and guests were safely inside the car, they initiated next steps by contacting their Resource Center Director and the Fire Department. Emergency services arrived shortly and helped the counselors collect records and other materials from the house, and confirmed that two more trees had fallen on the house after they were able to get out. During the response, Naquita, Shaquawn, and Candace remained focused on the well-being of their guests- they improvised on lunch by going to a local take-out, brought the guests to a local vocational program, and stayed with them until they were safe with their families. 

As for next steps, the counselors said that they are all just trying to stay positive and take things one day at a time. While the Resource Center undergoes necessary repairs, the RC staff will be providing more in-home therapeutic and community support, and through collaboration with an RHA residential program, will be working in their group homes to implement START therapeutic supports in an alternate setting. "The two guests that were with the counselors during the storm are doing well," START West Director Michelle Kluttz said. "We're working with our clinical director to develop some trauma-focused supports for working with them."

"I am grateful there were no apparent injuries to anyone during this tragedy, as it certainly could have turned out quite differently. The Resource Center Counselors went above and beyond their normal duties, and carried a little luck or “something” with them throughout this storm. They shared that they just did what they had to do, and thank goodness!  START West will return better than before, #STARTSTRONG!" - Michelle Kluttz

Welcome Oklahoma! 
Group picture of new Oklahoma PLC
We’re sending a warm welcome to Oklahoma START! Following a comprehensive systems analysis, Oklahoma has launched a START coordination pilot for children and their families which kicked-off on October 2nd and 3rd in Norman, OK. The team of coordinators are partnering with their local children’s mobile crisis teams to provide cross-systems supports. A unique aspect of the Oklahoma START pilot is the collaboration between the departments of IDD services, mental health services, and child welfare services. We look forward learning together and realizing the outcomes such an innovative collaboration can produce!
Powerful Art
by Priscila Norris, NC START East Clinical Director

It’s long been established that the use of creative techniques is a powerful means of self-expression and exploration of emotions. Specifically, art has been used as a powerful tool in therapeutic work for its ability to facilitate explorations of self-identity, improve self-esteem, relieve stress, and support healing after trauma. Below are some pictures of original art work produced by some of the guests at the Resource Center as well as some of the art created by individuals supported through the In-Home Supports program.
The therapeutic value of artistic creations has been validated across gender, ethnic, racial, age, and cultural groups, as well as for individuals with disabilities. In addition to its therapeutic values, engaging in creating art allows for a leveling of the playing field: regardless of skill, artistic talent, or able-bodiness, art can be accessible to all and enables human connections and inclusion.

In keeping with the START Model, the NC START East Program encourages the utilization of a variety of art-based activities as part of its therapeutic programming. The program has recently started piloting a mindfulness project, which has been introducing a variety of mindfulness-based therapeutic activities and practices at the Resource Center and through In-Home Supports, and art has been a major component of this project. Other practices include teaching mindfulness-based meditation, practicing Nidra Yoga and mindful breathing, and incorporating adaptive yoga into the daily schedule.
Research Updates

Article Published
Drs. Beasley, Kalb and Anne Klein recently published the study "Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Individuals With Intellectual Disability Through the Iowa START (I-START) Program" in the Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities. Their study found that individuals supported by the I-START program (n=41) experienced significant reductions in problem behaviors. They also had fewer psychiatric emergency department visits and hospitalizations over the study period, compared to the year prior to enrolling in I-START. Outside of the quantitative findings, they provided a case description that demonstrates how the I-START clinical team provided services and supports to the individual and their system of care. This will help readers understand how START actually "works". This study is quite unique because it demonstrated significant improvements among individuals who were living in supportive settings, such as groups homes, located in a rural region of the US. Previous START research has mostly focused on members who lived at home with caregivers in more urban settings. 

Dementia Screener Updates
START programs across the country have begun implementing a dementia screening tool, as part of an effort to improve recognition and management of dementia among older individuals with an IDD. Dr. Elizabeth Wise, geriatric psychiatrist, and Ms. Calliope Holingue, PhD candidate in mental health, are leading this project after receiving a pilot grant from Johns Hopkins University.

"The next phase of the project aims to identify gaps in obtaining quality care for dementia in people with IDD. The research team expects all data to be collected by February 2018, and for the findings of the study to be released in May 2018. Thank you to all the programs who have been involved and to Andrea Caoili for helping coordinate the project."
- Calliope Holingue
Call for IDD/MH Focus Group Participants
PhD student Ariel Schwarz, advised by a START research partner at Boston University, is seeking to develop and pilot a peer mentoring model for young adults with IDD and mental health conditions. As part of her development work this fall, she is holding web-based 90-minute focus groups with social workers, psychologists, and other licensed mental health providers who have experience working in this area. Many members of the START network have the experience providing services to people with IDD that Ariel is seeking. Please consider contributing to her research by participating in one of her focus groups this fall.

If you are interested in participating a focus group, please reach out to Ariel at or (617) 353-7492 and download the IDD/MH Provider Focus Group Flyer.
National Advisory Council Updates
Seeking New Membership: Family Members and Self-Advocates
The START National Advisory Council is looking to recruit family members and self-advocates to serve as advisors on the council. If you know someone who might be interested, please fill out this membership referral form.

The START National Advisory Council was established in 2016 in response to growing national interest and implementation of the START model. The Council meets on a quarterly basis via Zoom videoconferencing.
The primary aims of the National Advisory Council are:
  1. To help establish a working relationship between START programs and Learning Communities across the nation.
  2. To review outcomes associated with the model and associated approaches, and help transition START from evidence-informed practice to evidence-based practice.
  3. To explore plans for long-term financial sustainability of the START model by working with Managed Care Organizations, CMS, and other federal agencies, state authorities, and important partners.
Training Updates
2019 START National Training Series
"Value In Us All: Advancing Inclusive Practices"

This year's theme focuses on the dignity and inclusion of service recipients and their families. Inclusive practices value the unique cultural identities, positive characteristics, hopes, and dreams of individuals and their families. Promoting an understanding of diversity and community occurs within the context of rigorous standards for effective services and supports. The 2019 SNTI will build capacity and partnerships for inclusive communities.

Content Strands:
  • Strength-Based Approaches
  • Psychiatry & Integrated Health
  • START Best Practices & New Strategies
  • Policy, Practices, & Community Inclusion
  • Crisis Response
Registration opens in January 2019!
Sponsorship Opportunities
Our 2019 SNTI Sponsorship Prospectus will be released this week - stay tuned!

Thank you to SUS, FREE, and 4imprint for committing to sponsor this year's SNTI. We greatly appreciate your continued support.

START Awards Luncheon Ceremony & Silver Sponsor

S:US Services for the Underserved | New York, NY
Agency for NYSTART Region 4 - Richmond Kings
3 YEAR Sponsor!

Silver Sponsor
Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. | Old Bethpage, NY
Agency for NYSTART Region 5 - Long Island
4 YEAR Sponsor!

Bronze In-Kind Sponsor
4imprint | Oshkosh, WI
4 YEAR Sponsor!
Hotel Reservations
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a SNTI sponsor or have any questions about this year's sponsorship opportunities, please reach out to Mary Ann Allsop at or (603) 228-2085 ext. 23.Registration for the 2019 SNTI opens in January, but our special room rate at the Crystal Gateway Marriott is now available online. Visit the Crystal Gateway Marriott reservation site to book your room.

2018-2019 START National Online Training Series
The Center for START Services will be hosting the third session of the 2018-2019 START National Online Training Series on Friday November 16th from 12:00-2:00 pm EST.

 Friday November 16th 
 Title:  Borderline Personality Disorder in Adults with IDD
 Presenter:  Lauren Charlot, PhD, Co-Chair START Research Committee
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the UMass Medical School
Adjunct Professor at Eastern Carolina University
Program Updates
Congratulations to VA START for obtaining their 2-Year START Program Certification (Adult) on September 26th!
Team photo of Virginia START Staff 
Congratulations to TX START Tarrant County for achieving 2-Year Lifespan START Program Certification on June 12th!
Coordinator Certifications
Congratulations to all START Coordinators certified since our last newsletter! The Center for START Services has certified 262 coordinators since 2011 and 45 coordinators to-date in 2018.
Deandra Brent - NY Region 4 - SUS
Leon'e Gilkey - WA START
Amanda Whittaker - NY Region 5
Anna Micek - NY Region 4 - YAI
Kaysha Bennett - NY Region 4 - SUS
Shanda Mclaren - NC START West
Marci Mirisola - NY Region 5
Bryan Alava - NY Region 4 - YAI
Krystal Graves - NC START Central
Christina Rinaldi - NY Region 5
Jaclyn Losquadro - NY Region 5
Kemylee Brisport - NY Region 4 - YAI
Elizabeth Drake - NY Region 1
Elizabeth Sadlon - NC START East
Kerri Shaw - NC START East
Jennifer Lacey - NY Region 5
Carolyn Martin - NC START West
Pamela Rice - NY Region 5
Boyce Smith - NC START West
Danielle Friedman - NY Region 5
Boniface Nyangau - TX Tarrant County
Caitlin Dunne - NY Region 5
Jeremy Mauro - NY Region 1
Julie Segner - NC START Central
Richard James - NY Region 4 - SUS
Rose Hazlitt - NY Region 1
Linda Kurland - TX Tarrant County
Christine Houghton - NC START Central
Camille Livingston - NY Region 5
Amy Huff - NC START West
Lisa Corleto - NY Region 5
Sulina Willingham - NC START West
Saundra Wood - Iowa START
Suzy Mayberry - NC START East

Thanks for reading,

The Center for START Services
Copyright © 2018 Center for START Services, All rights reserved.

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Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire