Informing Families quarterly print newsletters provide information and resources for individuals not currently receiving paid services through DDA. Please print or share links to our previous issues.

Spring 2024

The 2024 Informing Families Spring Newsletter is here! In this edition, we hear from Margaret-Lee Thompson, a Parent Advocate for Developmental Disabilities. She shares with us about her son, Dan Thompson: his life, work, and lasting impact on the community. In addition, topics include reporting abuse and neglect (a message from the DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration) and summer camp resources.

Winter 2024

The Informing Families 2024 Winter Newsletter is here! In this edition, you will find a special guest piece from Sandi Gruberg and Michelle Williams, Co-Communication Coordinators, Washington Statewide Parent Coalitions on what families can expect this legislative session and resources to stay up-to-date and involved. Read the newsletter to learn about the DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration update on the DDA Outreach Survey online with case manager updates, Partners4Housing FREE Benefits and Housing Review, and more.

Fall 2023

The Informing Families Fall Newsletter is here! This special edition includes two guest features. Read about the new Family Advisory Council by the DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration from Michelle Sturdevant-Case, the DD Ombuds Liaison & Stakeholder Engagement Program Manager at DDA. Rachel Nemhauser, from The Arc of King County, shares insight on advocating in the special education system.

Summer 2023

The Informing Families 2023 Summer Newsletter is here! This issue covers DDA survey opportunities, a message from SAIL, summer recreation opportunities, and more! Check it out below.

Spring 2023 

Spring is here and we are looking forward to the coming months. Check out our Spring 2023 newsletter to learn about new tools on the Informing Families website, DDA No-Paid Service caseload updates, new waiver services for remote support, and more.

Winter 2022

The end of 2022 is fast approaching! We are looking forward to what the new year will bring. In the final newsletter of 2022, we are covering upcoming changes to DDA programs, outreach opportunities, winter storm preparedness, and more. We wish you and your families a happy holiday season.

Fall 2022: Updates for No-Paid Services Caseload 

With fall here, we are excited to be heading back to school and enjoying the upcoming holidays with families and friends! Topics include: Introducing Brandi Monts, Good News for DDA No-Paid Caseload, New Signature Options for DDA, and more.

Summer 2022: Resources and Information for Summer Activities

With long summer days here and the weather warming up, it is time to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family! Check out the Informing Families 2022 newsletter for summer safety tips, free or reduced-cost resources for activities, and more.

Spring 2022: Legislative Session, Learning Opportunities, and More! 

Spring has sprung in Washington! This quarter’s newsletter follows outcomes from the 2022 Legislative session, learning opportunities for high school students, and inclusive recreation throughout the state.

Winter 2021/2022: Winter Newsletter

With the winter season comes holidays, weather changes, and updates to COVID-19. We are covering topics from gaining independence through travel training all the way to at-home COVID tests provided by Washington state.

Fall 2021: Fall Newsletter

With the change in weather and the school year back in full swing, we are excited to celebrate the upcoming holidays with friends and families. Read about tips for keeping healthy relationships during this time of COVID-19, steps to receiving DDA Services, information on the Job Foundation program, and what recovery services your child may receive if eligible in Special Education in our fall newsletter.

Summer 2021: Let’s Get Moving

The trees and flowers are in full bloom, and we are excited for warmer weather, outdoor activities, and finally spending more time with friends and family. Get ideas for summer fun, find services and support, stay up to date on guidelines for a vaccinated summer, and learn about DDA’s 6040 Project.

Spring 2021: Rounding the Corner on COVID

We’re turning the corner on COVID with the long awaited arrival of a vaccine, but it’s still important to stay safe until we’ve reached community immunity. Find resources for tracking exposure risks, finding your eligibility phase and where to go for more vaccine information. In non-COVID news, this issue features the benefits of the Father’s Network and other support organizations. And for those who are DDA eligible, but not receiving a paid service, we’ve outlined the next step toward services.

Winter 2021: Staying Active, Healthy and Connected

With several months of pandemic under our belt, individuals, families and organizations across the state have found innovative ways to stay healthy and connected, while also planning for the what if’s no one wants to say out loud but we are all thinking…what if I get sick? Our winter issue shares what some people have been up to, along with resources and ideas for planning and taking a break (yes, respite can happen during a pandemic).

Fall 2020: Finding Our Way Forward in this New Normal
There is a saying that, “in the middle, everything looks like a failure.” However, we can (and must!) continue working together through “the middle” to create a better and stronger system. Included in this issue: Special Education, Applying for services during a pandemic; Job Foundation Pilot Program; Mental Health Resources.

Summer 2020: Summer in the Age of Social Distancing
Life has changed dramatically in these past few months, but that doesn’t mean social and physical activities come to a halt. There are things to do and ways to connect, both inside and outside the home. This special edition COVID-19 issue offers resources for connection, support and engagement for this summer and beyond.

Spring 2020: Sharing Opportunities for All
Best Buddies Comes to Washington, Recreation Tips, Free Publications, Scam Alert.

Winter 2020: Plan, Connect, Get Support
When it comes right down to it, none of us can go it alone. We all need to connect with each other for support and understanding. Winter can be a wonderful time of year, filled with family time,celebration, reconnection, and reflection. It is also a time to begin planning for the year ahead. In this winter issue, read how individuals and families are connecting with each other and finding support.

Fall 2019: Steps to DDA Services and Greater Independence
It might seem like a contradiction, but living with greater independence often requires support. It might mean having a break (for both the individual and their caregiver), getting a job, having help at home, or connecting with others in the community. In this fall issue, we outline the steps to getting services from the Developmental Disabilities Administration and describe a variety of supports to help children and adults with IDD gain greater independence.

Summer 2019: Reducing Barriers to Access
From long travel trips to stay-cations and local events, summer brings communities to life with a variety of activities and opportunities for connections. Making the most of what summer has to offer often comes down to access. And that means finding ways to reduce as many barriers as possible: physical, financial, emotional, cultural and linguistic.

Spring 2019: Take the DD Respite Survey
If you need a break from caregiving, you are not alone. All caregivers need respite from the daily responsibilities of providing support and supervision to their loved ones. Finding the time or resources to take regular breaks, however, is a different story. If you are supporting a family member who is a client of the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), but not receiving a paid service from DDA, we want to hear from you. In this special edition newsletter, learn about respite resources and how to take the DD Respite Survey.

Winter 2019: Help to Guide Your Way
In this navigation-themed issue, we address common questions and misunderstandings about services, such as: Is it true that Developmental Disability Administration waiver slots are full? What are entitlement programs? What does it mean to be on the No Paid Services caseload?

Fall 2018: High School Transition Special Edition
Because school-related activities and K-12 education services end after age 21, it is important to learn as much as you can about the road ahead so that you can prepare your family member for a full life after school. In this special edition newsletter, we offer information and resources to help you do all this, and more, as your family member moves through high school transition years to life as an adult.

Summer 2018
Topics include: Benefits of Specialized and Inclusive Recreation, How to Plan for Summer Camp, Kinship Caregiver Programs, Finding Inclusion Without Blending In, Funding for High School Transition Graduates, Summer Meal Program, Wrap Around with Intensive Services (comprehensive behavioral services).

Spring 2018: Early Childhood Special Edition
When we asked parents what they wish they had done when their children were young, they said things like, have expectations and vision for the future, start planning early, build and maintain social connections. In this special edition newsletter, we hope you find information and resources to help you do all this, and more, as your child transitions into early childhood and the school years.

Winter 2018
Topics Include: Earned Income Tax Credit, Thinking Outside the Box, Tools for Inclusion: Transit Training, Winter Health Tips.

Fall 2017
Topics Include:
Employment Funding for H.S. Grads, Able to Save and Invest (A comparison of ABLE and the DD Endowment Trust Fund), My Life Plan, Supported Decision Making, Fall Health Tips.

Summer 2017
Topics Include: Smart Living Project, Tips for IEPs, Including Technology in educational goals, Summer Health Tips.

Spring 2017
Topics Include: Special Olympics’ Unified School Programs, Stories of Individual & Family Services, Update on the No Paid Services Caseload, and Summer resources.

Winter 2017
Topics Include: Preparing for emergencies, closing the tech gap, assistive technology resources, and announcing new LifeCourse materials for adults.

Fall 2016
Topics Include: New services included in the Individual & Family Services waiver, planning for life after school, ideas for learning and growing at any age, the benefits of self-advocacy, technology resources, winter weather preparedness.

Summer 2016
Topics Include: Person-centered practices, a parent’s approach to summer challenges, smart living, and more.

Spring 2016
Topics Include: Ideas from parents on creating community connections; Announcement of open enrollment in Individual & Family Services waiver; Caregiver support.

Winter 2016
Topics include: How to ask for services when you’re not sure what to say; Community First Choice, Community of Practice: Living a Good Life; Get Organized for Life.

Fall 2015
Topics include: Updates on the new Individual & Family Services waiver and Community First Choice; New employment funding for High School Transition Graduates; Tech Tips: Emergency Personal Response Systems.

Summer 2015
Topics include: Getting connected for summer with free and low-cost resources; SSP: A cash benefit alternative to Individual & Family Services; The Many Paths to Inclusion (by Betsy McAlister).

Spring 2015
Topics include: Enrollments to open in DDA programs; How to get in line for the services your family member needs; Side by side comparison of the DD Endowment Trust and ABLE Accounts.

Winter 2015
Topics include: Free new online app for planning at every stage of life; Friendship: Expecting the Best, Preparing for the Challenges (by Susan Atkins); Tools for Inclusion: Travel Training.

Fall 2014
Topics include: IFS Waiver and SSP in Lieu of SSP; Community First Choice; Making the Most of High School Transition (by Carrie Morehouse); Transition Planning; Planning for the Future.



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