“Abled” Disabled make decisions

Here is a perfect example of how people who identify as disabled act as ableist as they claim “ableds” act with regards to making decisions about their lives.

“Bickley said it’s frustrating that people without disabilities want to make decisions for others, without knowing or understanding their experiences.”

King County bans employers from paying below minimum wage to people with disabilities

To those people who are quoted in the article and the organizations they work for, it would be helpful to have discussions regarding concerns of people who are ACTUALLY affected by these changes rather than blocking them.  Stand up and listen!

“Everyone deserves equal opportunity to provide for themselves so they can be financially independent and live an independent life,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who sponsored the legislation.

Excuse me, Councilmember Upthegrove – did you happen to read the JLARC report that came out last year regarding this issue.  This ordinance has nothing to do with improving wages or helping people be financially independent and live an independent life.  That’s called “Magical Thinking” – I don’t think this ordinance is going to be magical.

In case you did not read the report, here is one quote from it

5,110 clients (73%) were employed. They worked an average of 47 hours per month and earned an average wage of $583 per month. Unemployed clients may be in the job development phase.

Clients with high support needs work fewer hours and are more likely to be unemployed

JLARC staff analysis of data for the clients in individual supported employment during fiscal year 2018 found that:

  • 44% of clients with high support needs were unemployed. This is double the rate for clients with medium support needs and five times the rate for clients with low support needs.
  • Clients with high support needs who were employed worked 21 hours per month on average. This is less than half the average hours for clients with medium support needs, and a quarter of the hours for the clients with low support needs.
  • 99% of clients with high support needs earned less than the federal poverty level.

Clarification regarding wages

As EHB 1706 goes through the legislative process, we are discovering more and more the various data that is used and how pieces are missing, assumptions are made and reported as facts, and other issues misinterpreted.

 Data The Arc of King County uses is from a taken from a different date cycle than what is reported through the DDA Caseload and Cost Report.  ( which we used to obtain our information).  It is also unclear if The Arc of King County has read or addressed the two recent reports from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC). The Review and Analysis of Employment and Community Inclusion Measurement  provides some excellent analysis of the tools used in addition to what needs to be measured and the report below provides information on the people and their jobs.

Legislative Auditor Report on DDA Employment

Depending on if one removes the number of DDA clients using the Community Inclusion services ( 1513 on July 2018) from their data, they could report that that 60% or 75% of those in DDA employment services were “making minimum wage or better”  The BIG problem with this information is that The Arc of King County does not use any data that addresses the wage people are making – this information is totally made up.

DDA does address this in their report and that information is provided here.

DDA caseload and cost report

Representative Noel Frame, prime sponsor of HB  1706 who credits autistic activist Shaun Bickley with introducing her to this issue is unaware of this data from DDA also.  Rep. Frame reports that in 2018 there were only 350 Special Certificates granted by L&I, 60-80 of which are not used any longer due to Entrust in Yakima closing their pre-vocational program.  Rep. Frame could be correct in that number of certificates but that means that all those DDA clients working for less than minimum wage or no wage they may be victims of wage theft.  This opens up a whole new hornets nest that is caused by activists who may only know or understand part of the whole.

There needs to be open discussions and dialogue with hard questions asked and answered before moving forward on this misguided legislation

Who would you consult for a health problem?

If you suffered poor health due to a disability who would you seek the advice of a medical doctor or a social worker?

People are trained in specialties and it is prudent to seek advice from the experts in the field you may be concerned about.  I think this is a generally accepted and logical plan but for some reason those advocating for the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations, do not consult professionals and experts in the health and medical fields.

We are allowing experts in social work, special education, political science and other non-healthcare related fields to make health and safety decisions.  Is this logical?  Is this safe?  Do these non-healthcare professionals understand the holistic issues of caring for many of these people with profound developmental disabilities?

The Washington State Auditor’s Office recently paid BERK & Associates together with their subcontractor, Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) $489,500 for a Performance Audit of the Developmental Disabilities Administration.  These companies made recommendations which drastically affect the health and safety of many of our citizens yet do not have the expertise or qualifications to make health and safety decisions.

Using non-experts  for healthcare and safety decisions greatly puts our loved ones lives at risk.

Is this how you would make health and safety decisions for you or your family – by asking an expert in Art History or Urban Design?  For some reason Washington State believes this is okay.


Please Listen to Us!

I am attaching some very interesting documents.  What I would love to know is if the Department of Social and Health Services and The Department of Developmental Disabilities are listening to the people they are serving.

To me, from looking at the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) DDD Assessment Report dated January 31, 2009, it clearly outlines the numbers of people and the programs and services requested.

JLARC Final Report 013109 DDD assessment

This is what I find very interesting and confusing:

Program Requests:

ICF/MR – 20

Roads to Community Living – 1

Service Requests:

RHC or ICF/DD services – 40

Roads to Community Living – 1

Looking at what was requested by the people, it is clear that the people are requesting the ICF/DD services much more than the Roads to Community Living Services.  Why then, is the Department downsizing the ICF/DD’s and putting thousands of dollars into the RCL program?  Why is the State of Washington spending over $250,000 on a “Family Mentoring Project” for the Roads to Community Living when it is clear that the people involved are not even asking for this? Is this being a responsible steward of our public funds? Is this being cost effective?

It is time to listen to those who really receive the services and programs – not those who masquarade as their advocates.  The people have clearly spoken and they are asking for the services in the ICF/DD’s.

Please Listen to Them!

Number of Programs which DDD Clients Access:

Number of progrmas which DDD clients access

Other DSHS Services Received by DDD Clients:

Services Received by DD Clients in FY 2008

DDD “No Paid” Service Client – The Silo Effect

We hear a lot about the “no-paid” services and the many DDD clients who are on this list.  Most recently, Sylvia Fuerstenburg, Executive Director of The Arc of King County, referred to the this group in a recent blog posting – “ In Washington State, 13,600 people – in King County, 3768 people – are eligible for paid services but are not receiving them due to the lack of state funding.” 


I asked Sylvia for her sources on her figures but she was unable to cite a source for her numbers.  I have gone back through various DSHS reports, JLARC Audits and DSHS reports to figure out what makes up this group of people who much is written about but little is known about. 

The most recent figures that are available are from the January 31, 2009 report “DDD Assessment.”  This report was prepared in response to recommendation #1 in “Division of Developmental Disabilities – Analysis of How Services are Prioritized” report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, issued July 31, 2007.

Assessments on no paid services – 1307

Assessments for clients on paid services – 39,711

Total clients assessed – 41, 108.


Roughly 2/3 of DDD clients who do not receive paid services through DDD DO receive paid services of Medical and/or economic supports (JLARC, 03-6, page 12)


Discussions about the adequacy of services to the DD population focus almost exclusively on the services provided by DDD.  But as with most clients in DSHS, DD clients tend to use the services of many parts of DSHS.  This is a package and in order to assess the services it is critical to look throughout the DSHS programs and not just one division, as DDD does when talking about services to DD clients.  Eighty-one percent of the DD clients use services managed and budgeted for by other parts of DSHS. (JLARC, 03-6, page 9)

I do know that there is a portion of the DDD clients who are on a “no-paid service”  This term is very misunderstood and this number is misinterpreted by many to mean that these people are eligible for services, want services or do not receive any services.  This group is “no-paid service” for a variety of reasons.

The clients on the no paid service have had some contact with DSHS and at some point the Division had determined that the individual met the criteria of having a developmental disability.  However, the Division may have had very little contact with that person after the initial determination and the Division has very little knowledge, if any, about the level or need of service or even if that person has interest in receiving services from the Division (JLARC, 07-4, page 9)

Some people seek eligibility for DDD even though they have no need at the time but use this as a method to speed up services if they might require services in the future.  These clients, even though they do not need services are considered “no paid” clients and therefor counted as clients with unmet needs. (Fact sheet 5.29f)

According to DSHS and DDD documents and audits that have been done, DDD is unclear as to what this number really is anyhow.  The documentation has been so poor and disjointed that no-one in the department was able to make heads or tails of what any of the numbers meant.

Due to a Joint Legislative Audit report, priority was given to trying to locate these “no-paid” clients, have them assessed as to what their needs were and then support them as need be.  Many of these people do not even need services, some refused to have the assessment done, others may have a developmental disability but their needs are not so significant as to be eligible for paid services. 

Another issue is that many of these clients do receive services from other programs within DSHS.  This includes medical, economic aid and food stamps.  Due to “silos” of the various services within DSHS, one department is not aware of services that their client may be receiving from another department. (Fact sheet 5.29fs)

Persons for whom the Division is providing no paid services and who have no service needs are presumed to be persons who are capable of meeting all their own needs, or whose needs are being met through other DSHS division not included in the DDD assessment, through personal or community resources. (fact sheet 5.29

The lack of effective coordination and management of the package of services provided by DSHS was highlighted in the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Reports.  The creation of these “silos”,  not only makes it difficult for clients to navigate the maze but almost impossible for policymakers to get a “picture” of the package of services provided to DDD clients since they are only exposed to the DDD Silo of programs and not made aware of the other programs from which DDD clients receive benefits. (JLARC, 03-6)

Below is a current chart, provided to me by DSHS, indicating the number or programs which DD clients receive benefits from.  You can see that 79% of DD clients receive services from 2 or more programs within DSHS.  This is a fact that is not presented when DDD and some Advocacy agencies talk about services to DD clients. 


Developmental Disabilities Clients Receive Services from Multiple Programs
FY2008 (July 2007 – June 2008)




Client Count























Total Clients



Source:  Washington State Department of Social and Health Services,Research and Data Analysis,

Client Services Database analytical extract of 3/5/2011.

Throughout the reports over the past 9 years, it has been fairly consistent that about 2/3 of the clients who DDD reports as “no paid” clients receive benefits and services from other DSHS programs and very little effective coordination of these benefits is taking place. (JLARC, 03-6)

While it  certainly is true that not all needs for DDD services are  being met,  it is important to recognize  and dispel the myth that the majority of clients counted in DDD’s   “No Paid Services” category are in need of services that they are  unable to obtain.  The fact is  that the opposite is true.  The majority  are already receiving   services  from other DSHS divisions and/or  they are listed, but  not  currently in need of any service .



An analysis of Unmet Service Needs for Washington State’s Division of Developmental Disabilities.” Fact Sheet Number 5.29fs.
“DDD Assessment” Report to the Legislature. Prepared in Response to Recommendation #1 in
Division of Developmental Disabilities – Analysis of How Services are Prioritized”
Report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, issued July 31,2007. January 30, 2009
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee. “Performance Audit of the Division of Developmental Disabilities” Report 03-6.                                                                            http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/adsa/ddd/JLARC_PerfAudit.pdf
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee “Division of Developmental Disabilities” Analysis of How Services are Prioritized” Report 07-9.
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee. “Division of Developmental Disabilities:  Analysis of How Services Are Prioritized” Interim Report 07-4.