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Developmental Supports

Mark D. Elmore Center

10501 Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS 66219

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Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS) is the agency of Johnson County government that facilitates career and personal development for Johnson County residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The agency regularly serves more than 500 people each day through a broad array of community-based programs and supports.

Designated as Johnson County's Community Developmental Disabilities Organization (CDDO), JCDS also offers a single point of entry for those seeking DD services, determines eligibility for services, and coordinates a network of more than 70 Johnson County providers.

Department News

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Join us for an Employment Information Night on March 11, 2020
February 25, 2020

Community members are invited to an Employment Information Night hosted by Johnson County Developmental Supports to learn about employment service options for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities provided by the agency.

Attendees can stop by anytime between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on March 11, 2020, at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, located at 9875 W 87th St. in Overland Park.

This event will feature information from Project SEARCH, End-Dependence Kansas and direct employment with JCDS.

For more information, contact Jessa Molina at 316-807-5385 or visit us online.

Follow this event on Facebook.

JCDS staff enjoy "Sound of Silence" Program
January 24, 2020

Sound of SilenceWhen you walk through the halls of Johnson County Developmental Supports, you may notice several staff members using American Sign Language. And now, thanks to a new program created by community employment specialists Vicki Besco and Tasha Markovich, the number of employees learning ASL is increasing.

The program kicked off last fall after JCDS leadership held a Shark Tank competition to cultivate innovative ideas from staff. Besco and Markovich pitched an internal ASL program and it was selected as one of the winning ideas. Sound of Silence is a 15-minute, weekly session where any staff member can learn ASL in a focused and supportive environment.

 "It's fun – no pressure. Just show up and start learning and have fun with it," said Besco.

The program is open to any Johnson County employee interested in learning, practicing or sharing ASL.

"Staff can take the time weekly to come and participate in learning sign language vocabulary and continue every week to build on that vocabulary," said Besco. "It's important because when people get excited to learn sign language, they take a six- or eight-week class and then it ends. This just continues, you get to keep getting excited about it every week."

JCDS serves many individuals who are deaf, non-verbal or partially deaf, so this program helps staff better communicate with the people they serve. Additionally, many people who use ASL need support strengthening their ASL skills. Community employment specialist Jeff Walker has attended Sound of Silence almost every week since it started in November.

"I just wanted to learn sign language as well – to be able to speak to other people and possibly teach other people I know," he said. "Just to be able to communicate with some of the individuals we serve – that's why I come." Walker's consistent attendance is an important part of learning the language.

"If you don't use sign language, you lose it," said Markovich. So far, staff who have decided to participate in this program return week after week and are excited to learn. Attendance hasn't waned after more than two months.

"I love language, and there's a few people who I pass and say hi to, but don't know how to speak to," said direct support professional Sarah Dean. "I wanted to engage with them more."

JCDS has many residential direct support professionals and because they work offsite, they are unable to attend Sound of Silence. To help them access this training, Besco and Markovich plan to start recording the sessions to put online.​

JCDS receives accreditation from international accreditation service CQL
October 22, 2019

Johnson County Developmental Supports is proud to announce that we have received the three-year Basic Assurances® Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership. JCDS had been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities for more than 30 years. JCDS is the largest provider of intellectual and developmental disabilities services in Johnson County.

“As a continuously improving organization, we made the decision to pursue accreditation with CQL to help our agency focus on the individual outcomes for the people we support,” said JCDS Executive Director Chad VonAhnen. “This partnership will offer resources to support our organization as we continue to excel in providing exceptional services to people with IDD.”

Founded in 1969, CQL is an international accreditation, training, certification, research and consultation service. The accreditation process included a robust self-assessment and a weeklong onsite visit where CQL representatives met with staff and individuals served. They also visited various offsite locations around the county to view residential services and community employment.

“CQL’s mission and vision align with ours, so we’re able to collaborate in providing choice-driven supports and advocating alongside the people we serve,” said JCDS Director of Quality and Engagement Ann Dorsey who spearheaded the agency’s transition to CQL. “We’re excited to grow as an agency and are confident our new partnership will be a great benefit to staff and the people we serve.”

BOCC proclaim October National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October 11, 2019

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation on Oct. 3, 2019 proclaiming October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

As JCDS has grown through the years, the focus of supports has moved significantly toward employment first. The unemployment rate in the U.S. for people with disabilities is twice the rate of those without a disability.

JCDS employment services include End-Dependence Kansas, which is a five-year initiative funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education; Project SEARCH, which is a national internship program facilitated through the agency; and traditional employment, which is provided through Vocational Rehabilitation services from the Kansas Department of Children and Families. There are additional supported employment opportunities, such as through Papercrete Works, Emerging Artists, onsite work services and supported community employment. Learn more.

Shelly May, Amy Fair and Casey Olinger were there to accept the proclamation. Check it out below:

BOCC recognizes Papercrete Works
September 24, 2019

BOCC RecognitionA county program called Papercrete Works that provides community employment opportunities for people with disabilities, along with the county team who manages the program, received recognition from the Board of County Commissioners today.

Papercrete Works is a program of Johnson County Developmental Supports, a Johnson County Government agency that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Individuals served and staff work together to create papercrete (a mixture of recycled paper, water and cement) and mold it into products they then decorate and sell. Twelve individuals are part of this daily operation and earn income.

“Learning the skills it takes to be independent, earning your own wages, creating your own pieces…I know there is a lot of pride that goes into their work,” said Micah Wickstrom, Papercrete Works coordinator, who won a Leadership in Action award earlier this year for her work with this program.

To learn more about this program, we invite you to watch this video.


Click image to enlarge.

Note: The article is courtesy of the Johnson County PIO.


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Upcoming Events

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Wed, 03/11/2020 - 5:30pm

Employment Information Night

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 5:30pm

JCDS Governing Board Meeting

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 5:30pm

JCDS Governing Board Meeting

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 5:30pm

JCDS Governing Board Meeting

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 5:30pm

JCDS Governing Board Meeting