Board hopes to change minds

Opening the Seneca County Board of Developmental Disabilities board meeting Tuesday afternoon with organization for 2013, members welcomed Sandy Hallett as a new board member. She is to be sworn in next month.

Officers chosen for this year were Dave Culp, president; Joe Moore, vice president; and Patty Smith, secretary. Committees were assigned and 5 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month will remain the meeting time.

Opportunity Center Superintendent Lew Hurst introduced a team of staff members that received the “Good Life” train the trainer program. They include Laura Miller, an intervention specialist; Laurie Fretz, a Fostoria division manager; Gail Eidt, a habilitation specialist; Denise Roush, representing the council of government; and Marta Mohr, an intake coordinator. They are teaching other staff members to look at others in a different way. A video was used to point out how mankind has treated others who are different from themselves throughout history.

The focus centers on compliance, coercion, control, punishment and aversive consequences. They are implementing respect-based supports focusing on expressing appreciation; contributions being valued; building positive self-esteem, confidence and positive identity; connecting to people, places and things; creating opportunities for success; being provided choices; being surrounded by allies and being acknowledged.

They are asking the staff to put themselves in clients’ shoes. They understand that change is difficult but recruiting the best people, focusing on strengths and removing barriers will assist in the program being successful. Hands-on activities, skits, videos, Power Point presentations and homework assignments are utilized in the training sessions.

The trainers said they are working in conjunction with eight counties sharing ideas and resources.

Moore said he would like to see the training used as an outreach into the community. He felt it could be applied to all aspects of life. Board members were invited to participate in training sessions.

In other matters, the board:

Approved the financial report.

Approved the ethics council report.

Resolved to accept the 2012 annual report and 2013 action plan.

Transferred $39,696 to the Early Childhood Center of Fostoria operating fund.

The 169 Board is to meet at 5 p.m. Feb. 12.