Saturday, May 13, 2006

Important Dates

Thought I would though out some very important dates for the summer to everyone. I hope you can attend some of these events so I can meet you.

May 31 - Indiana Down Syndrome Foundation Annual Meeting 6:30 p.m. Riley Hosptial for Children, Indianapolis, IN.

June 9, 2006 - 4th Annual DADS Golf Outing - Pebble Brook Golf Course Noblesville, Indiana

July 21-23 - NDSC National Convention - Atlanta Georgia

July 29 - 5th Annual Janus Ride and Poker Run

email me for details at

Rainy Saturday Reflections

Well it is a very cool and rainy day here in Indiana and instead of being at our Saturday t-ball game we are all at home. This particular rainy day in Indiana is kind of a big deal as it's Pole day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Grand Daddyof them all the Indianapolis 500. There will probably be no engines running today. so we will hope for tomorrow.

Being home this morning has given me a rare chance to update my blog. It has been quite awhile since I have had that chance. It is hard to believe that it is almost a year since I assumed the CEO position at Janus. What a year it has been and we have made many accomplishments and continue down our path of massive change at break neck speed. I was reflecting as I looked in the mirror today and noticed that one year later I am a little thinner around the waistline, a little thinner on the top of my head and a lot more silver has invaded my haif. I hope that all means I am a little wiser this year.

Nash has also kept me very busy this year. During the winter we took up gymnastics every Saturday morning which he really enjoyed and was pretty darn good at also. It was great to see him learn and improve every single week and I was amazed at the things all of the kids in his class were able to accomplish. I will always remember the smile on his face the day he made it across the balance beam all by himself. It was great.....

Spring brought to us a new sport challenge. It's baseball season and Nash plays on the Carolina MudCats of the Noblesville Youth Baseball League. He is playing with a group of other 5 year olds and what a fun way to spend Tuesday nights for practice and Saturday mornings for games. They have all advanced on their hitting skills and now understand they need to let one person get the ball and not tackle each other trying to get the ball themselves.

Well time to run for to help my future brother in law move some furniture.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Great Best Buddies Story

Hello Everyone

Below is a story from Best Buddies Indiana, it's a great story about a local teen whose father happens to be a member of our DADS group.

Here's some good news that makes a Dad proud. The article below has been submitted for publication in the Spring Newsletter of Best Buddies Indiana at the request of the Director, Sara Baldini. It is hoped that the attached photos will be published as well because they really tell the story better than the words. Feel free to share Brian's story with any "experts" who focus endlessly on your child's limitations. It is our hope that Brian will be able to project a very positive image of people with Down Syndrome to a large congregation every Sunday.


In January of this year, Brad Worrell, a 17 year-old Junior at Carmel High School and a member of the CHS Cross Country Team, became a Peer Buddy for Brian von Eiff, a 16 year-old Freshman at CHS who has Down Syndrome. Brian has also been active in sports at Clay Middle School, where he ran track and served as Student Manager of the 7th grade baseball team, and in the Carmel Dads' Club Special Sports Program and the Allisonville Challenger Baseball League. Both Brad and Brian are also active in their parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel---Brad in an elected leadership position in the parish chapter of the Knights of the Holy Temple and in the high school youth program known as Antioch; Brian in delivering Thanksgiving and Christmas food and gifts to the needy and helping serve meals at The Little Sisters of the Poor.

Brad and Brian hit it off from the start and quickly became truly "Best Buddies." They eat lunch together every other day at school, attend the Antioch sessions together every Sunday evening after Mass, and Brad has served as mentor and "Guardian Angel" for Brian at two parish and diocesan weekend retreats. Brad has gone way beyond the minimum requirements for participation in the Best Buddies program and Brian has enthusiastically responded, doing better in school, making more friends and communicating more verbally. But the smile evident on their faces in the accompanying photo is all about the camaraderie of the Knights.

Since 1999, the Knights of the Holy Temple (known locally as Knights of Our Lady or KOOL), a fraternity of Catholic young men of high school age, has been active in a half dozen parishes mostly in the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana. The group provides an opportunity for its members to contribute to the life of their parishes in a meaningful manner and affords young men the opportunity to become more deeply knowledgeable and involved in their Christian Faith, to develop Christian leadership and to provide an environment for prayer, Christian fellowship, vocational discernment and encouragement to live one's faith.

Perhaps the most visible activity of the Knights is serving at the altar for the two main Masses at OLMC every Sunday, 11:00 AM and 5:30 PM. It was at the 5:30 Mass every week that Brian watched Brad and decided he wanted to follow in Brad's footsteps. Brad had gotten to know Brian well through Best Buddies and was confident that Brian had what it takes to become a Knight. He consulted with the almost 30 brother Knights who unanimously agreed.

On March 25th, 2006, at a private Mass and ceremony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with his Best Buddy, Brad, as his sponsor, Brian was initiated into the Knights of the Holy Temple. Brian's smile says it all, and Brad, who was also celebrating his 17th birthday, had one to match. Brad will now begin Brian's training and soon Brian will be serving Mass alongside Brad and the other Knights every Sunday at 5:30. And judging from the comments and responses of the other Knights, Brian has been "adopted" by 30 additional Peer Buddies. Congratulations to Brad and Brian, two great Best Buddies! And a special thanks to the Knights of Our Lady!

Changes to Indiana First Steps Early Intervention Services

April 12, 2006

Dear First Steps Parent,

Changes are coming to Indiana’s First Steps system. I am writing to explain them, and to ask for your support and cooperation as we move forward together. I also hope to reassure you that, as a result of these changes, First Steps will be able to continue providing the highest quality early intervention services, now, and in the years to come.

Cost Share and Insurance Access Changes – Effective May 1, 2006
In 2005, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law requiring First Steps to change its family cost share program. These changes were reviewed, and approved, via the State’s rule-making process, and will be effective for services provided beginning May 1, 2006. Please refer to the enclosed chart for an idea of how your payment may be affected, and please note that if the cost share amount exceeds the actual cost of a service, you will pay the lesser of the two per visit, up to the total monthly maximum.

If (since your last annual review) you have experienced a reduction in income or an increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by your insurance, your cost share can be adjusted accordingly. Please contact your service coordinator as soon as possible, to ensure your health insurance, income, and medical expense information is up-to-date. Keep in mind that all resident family members are included when determining uncovered medical expenses.

To ease the impact of the cost share change, this year’s General Assembly passed a law requiring families to provide First Steps with information on all health insurance plans covering eligible children, as well as written consent to bill for services provided. This is helpful because if First Steps subsequently receives an insurance payment for a covered visit, your cost share for that visit will be reimbursed. However, you will still have to pay your full cost amount upon receiving services.

If you have not already provided both your insurance information and consent to bill, or if your insurance information has changed since your last IFSP, please contact your service coordinator immediately. Even if your insurance data has not been entered into the First Steps system by May 1, it will be applied retroactively to services beginning May 1. Please note that if you have reason to believe insurance billing would somehow present a hardship for your family or employer, you can request a waiver review by contacting your service coordinator

New Eligibility Criteria for First Steps – Effective May 1, 2006
In 2005, FSSA brought together a stakeholder group (comprised of parents, providers, and other concerned parties) to examine ways to ensure the continued viability of the First Steps system. A subcommittee was formed to review our eligibility criteria; due to its recommendations, our requirements have been tightened slightly.

Per current practice, your child’s eligibility for continued services will still be determined by a multi-disciplinary team of early intervention practitioners. At your child’s next annual IFSP, the early intervention team will re-evaluate your child’s eligibility. Under the new criteria, your child will still be eligible for continued early intervention services if he or she:

· Has been diagnosed with a physical or mental condition that is known to result in a high probability of developmental delay. These conditions include, but are not limited to, chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders, neurological disorders, congenital malformations, sensory impairments (including vision or hearing), severe toxic exposure (including prenatal exposure), neurological abnormalities in the newborn period, or birth weight of 1,500 grams (3.3 pounds) or less; or,

· Is shown to have a delay of 20% or more in two areas of development OR of 25% or more in one area of development (adjusted for prematurity).

One of our goals is to help your child reach an appropriate level of functioning ~ when this happens, it is cause for celebration! Per current practice, if at any point in the IFSP cycle your child’s ongoing providers indicate he has surpassed the eligibility criteria they will advise you and your IFSP team in order to facilitate your child’s graduation from First Steps.

New Service Coordination Structure – Effective on or before July 1, 2006
In order to improve supervision and support for those who perform the most important function in the First Steps system, our System Point of Entry (SPOE) offices are in the process of assuming direct responsibility for service coordination. The exact timing of the change may vary from SPOE to SPOE, but by no later than July 1, service coordinators (SCs) will be local SPOE employees.

Under this new system, most SCs will be either full- or half-time employees, and the total number of SCs required statewide will be reduced. Further, some current SCs have already indicated they will not be applying for these positions. As a result, it is possible your current SC may leave the system on or before July 1; you will be contacted by the SPOE as soon as they become aware of a departure.

Throughout this transition, you deserve to receive high quality services from your current SC; however, if you learn your SC has left the system before you are contacted by the SPOE, if you feel that your child’s needs are no longer being met by your current SC, or if you have concerns about this transition (or your child’s Spring/Summer transition from First Steps) please contact the SPOE immediately. While there will undoubtedly be glitches here and there, your local SPOE is anxious to work with you to make this a positive change for you and your family.

While I realize change can be unsettling, it can also lead to great good. It is my sincere belief this will be true of the changes coming to First Steps, and I greatly appreciate your patience while we continue to work to make First Steps a strong and sustainable force for good, long into the future.


Lora Miller
First Steps
Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services
FSSA - State of Indiana

The chart below provides a guide to how your First Steps cost share payment may be affected by legislative changes. To learn where your family’s income falls within the 2006 Federal income poverty guidelines, please go to:

To learn the exact percentage of Federal income poverty level First Steps currently has on file for your family (as well as the income, medical expense, and insurance data on which it was calculated) please contact your service coordinator or local SPOE office.


Please note that if the cost share amount exceeds the actual cost of a service, you will pay the lesser of the two per visit, up to the total monthly maximum.

Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome Golf

April 3, 2006

Dear Friend, Golfer, Sponsor and D.A.D.S. Supporter,

Thank you for your support and participation in the 3rd Annual Catlin Morgan D.A.D.S. Charity Golf Event. We are ready for our 4th event and hope we can count on your generosity again. In 2005, with the help of our donors, sponsors and 282 golfers, D.A.D.S. raised an amazing $66,500 to support Riley Hospital’s Camp Hi-Lite, the National Down Syndrome Society’s Policy Center and other programs and initiatives which promote inclusion, acceptance, education, social opportunities and advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome.

D.A.D.S. welcomes our new Title Sponsor and extends an invitation to you to be a part of the 4th Annual Connor Patrick Insurance Services D.A.D.S. Charity Golf Event, Friday, June 9th at Pebble Brook Golf Club in Noblesville, Indiana. Enclosed, you’ll find information for golf registration and sponsorship opportunities.
We are also seeking donated items to include in baskets to be raffled or auctioned during the event.

In 2002, 8 men gathered with one thing in common; a child with Down syndrome. We adopted a simple mission:

“To assist and support, through fellowship and action, the fathers and families of individuals with Down syndrome”

By staying true to this mission, to date we’ve raised over $150,000 and helped start-up chapters of D.A.D.S. all around the country. In the past 30 days we’ve assisted chapters developing in Phoenix, AZ and Kansas City, MO.

We hope we can count on you so we can continue to promote our mission

For more golf registration information, please contact Scott Harding at . For additional sponsorship information, or to provide a logo for signage, contact Tony Cirone at . If you or your company wishes to donate an item for our raffle and auction, contact Joe Meares at , or you can call these individuals at the following numbers:

Scott: 317 403 1004
Tony: 317 409 6322
Joe: 317 523 5888

Thank you and we hope to hear form you, better still; see you in June.


D.A.D.S. ’06 Golf Committee