Author Archives: Billie Jo David

Vaccine Roll Out Continues

Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) has been dedicated to protecting the health, safety and welfare of those with disabilities for more than fifty years. The past year has strengthened the Agency’s mandate to do just that by delivering vaccines to those we serve. 

Whether it is testing capacity, PPE distribution, innovate ways to stay connected, IT support, grants to local providers, Summit DD’s staff have remained committed to the health and safety of those we serve. With the help of Summit County Public Health (SCPH) and Akron Children’s Hospital, the majority of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are well on their way to living a more inclusive life. 

Phase 1A Updates 

Phase 1A of the vaccines included individuals with developmental disabilities who live in  congregate settings and their caregivers. Nearly 700 individuals and direct service providers received their first vaccine dose last month and their second dose last week. 

“It would be great for everyone to get it [the vaccine],” explained Yvette Diaz, Executive Director of Ardmore, Inc. “Here’s to no more quarantines.” 

Summit DD staff have supported individuals and providers in congregate settings with testing, PPE, training, grant funding and technical support throughout the pandemic. Read more about the Phase 1A clinics. 

Phase 1B Updates 

Phase 1B of the vaccines included individuals with a congenital condition and a developmental disability and may live at home or on their own. Through a partnership with SCPH and Akron Children’s Hospital, Summit DD hosted drive through clinics at their administrative offices in Tallmadge for more than 800 individuals. The second doses will be administered by the end of February. 

“This has been a remarkable partnership that has come together between Summit DD, Summit County Public Health and Akron Children’s Hospital,” commented John Trunk, Summit DD Superintendent. “Literally hundreds of volunteers came together in the cold temperatures with a common purpose to connect people we serve to the community; I couldn’t be prouder.” 

“The partnership has been great,” explained Dr. Eric Robinette, Akron Childrens Hospital Infectious Disease. “Between the relationships and expertise that Summit DD has with their clients and our expertise with vaccinating, that teamwork has been extremely effective.” 

Between Phase 1A and 1B Summit DD estimates that more than sixty percent of those eligible for the vaccine have received it. Summit DD Service and Support Administrators will work with the remaining individuals who want the vaccine and are currently receiving services to obtain them at participating service providers. 

covid vaccine

Summit DD Helps Roll Out Phase 1A and 1B Vaccines

Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) and Summit County Public Health (SCPH) conducted drive through vaccine clinics at SCPH this month. Nearly 700 individuals with disabilities living in congregate settings and their caregivers received the first dose of the vaccine during Phase 1A of Ohio’s vaccine roll out. 

“Individuals with developmental disabilities and their caregivers who live in congregate settings are at particular risk for developing complications from COVID-19, stated John Trunk, Summit DD Superintendent. “Direct Support Professionals have been on the front line of this pandemic and have been hit particularly hard by this virus, our Summit County Public Health officials moved quickly and efficiently to protect the health of safety of those we serve,” Trunk continued. 

Direct Support Professionals, as essential staff, work for various disability service providers throughout the County and continued to provide services to more than 800 adults living in congregate settings. Summit DD has supported these providers through the distribution of PPE, cleaning supplies, testing, and grants to help fight the pandemic. 

“I don’t want to catch it and I don’t want to give it to my elderly parents,” stated Chris, who is an adult with a disability in a congregate setting. “It was weird, I felt nothing, Chris described what it felt like to get the shot. 

“I would recommend getting the shot to everyone”, said Melisa Gifford, Direct Support Professional from Ardmore, Inc.  “I want to get back to the individuals I serve and my family. 

Vaccines distributed to individuals with developmental disabilities in Phase 1A were allocated by the Department of Health to SCPH. SCPH coordinated the drive through, registration and administration of the first round of vaccines. 

Donna Skoda, Summit County Public Health Commissioner stated, “Summit County is honored and privileged to roll out vaccines to some of our most vulnerable citizens that have been hit hard with COVID-19.  Hats off to the heroic men and women who continue to serve the vulnerable populations in these homes. These vaccines will make their valuable contribution to those with Developmental Disabilities a much safer endeavor.  Please if you have not taken the vaccine, please consider doing so quickly.  We must all work together to stop COVID-19.” 

The second dose of the vaccine will be available to individuals in Phase 1A mid-February. 

Individuals with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders and a developmental disability are included in Phase 1B and are scheduled to begin the week of January 25. Individuals in this phase are eligible if they are actively receiving services from Summit DD. Summit DD is coordinating with SCPH and Akron Children’s Hospital to provide drive through clinics over the next two weeks. If you are actively receiving Summit DD services and are interested in the vaccine, please contact your SSA or RSS. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you are not actively receiving services from Summit DD and are interested in the vaccine, sign up with Summit County Public Health here.

We Want Your Feedback on Our Future Plans

Summit DD updated its mission, vision, values and goals in the 2019 – 2021 Long Range Plan. Each year of this three-year plan, the Agency outlines action items it will accomplish. The 2020 Action Plan signifies the second year of the current long-range plan and outlines exciting new initiatives for children, youth and adults. It addresses the direct care professional shortage, residential options, future facilities plans, and more. We invite you to Review our 2020 Action Plan and offer us feedback.

You can provide feedback in the following ways:

  • Email:
  • Mail: Summit DD, Attn: Communications; 89 E. Howe Rd.; Tallmadge, OH  44278
  • Phone:  330-634-8009

Feedback must be received by Dec. 9 to be included in the plan.

Summit DD Plans to Extend Community Reach: Relocating Staff into the Heart of Summit County

Change has been constant in Summit DD’s 50-year history.  Summit DD meets change with optimism because it represents an evolution towards acceptance and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities.

It was 1972 when the Weaver School and Sheltered Workshop were dedicated in Tallmadge, on the corner of SR 91 and Howe Ave. At the time, the buildings were modern and represented the hard work of parents and progress for people with developmental disabilities.  By the early 2000s there wasn’t a need for a segregated school, students went to school alongside their neighborhood friends in their home school districts.  Summit DD converted the school to house its administrative operations, consisting of early intervention staff, service coordinators, staff who provide health and safety services, and provider support staff, among others.

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