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Statewide forum on development disabilities coming
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SAVANNAH — Savannah will be the site of the second in a series of statewide forums for parents and Georgia leaders discussing critical issues and supports needed to plan for life after high school for young adults with developmental disabilities.  

The Savannah forum, hosted by the Atlanta Alliance on Developmental Disabilities (AADD) and presented by the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, will take place Monday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Coastal Center for Developmental Services, Inc., 1249 Eisenhower Dr. Admission is free.

“Conversations that Matter: Town Hall Meetings on School-to-Work Transition Planning for Young Adults with a Disability” is a series of six forums presented statewide in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Georgia Department of Labor and the Unlock the Waiting Lists Campaign.

Featured speakers at the Nov. 5 event include:
• Dr. Steve Hall, director for the Office of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addictive Disease

• Nancy E. O’Hara, director, Division for Special Education Services, Georgia Department of Education

• Peggy Rosser, Assistant Commissioner, Georgia Dept. of Labor

• Dave Blanchard, director of Public Policy, AADD

• Local legislators are also invited to attend and answer questions

Additional forums will be held through January in Macon, Athens and in Atlanta.

“These meetings are an opportunity to deliver important information on three important areas: education, work, and the types of supports youth with disabilities need to be successful in the community,” said Dave Blanchard, director of public policy for AADD.  “If Georgia is going to be prepared for 700 plus students with developmental disabilities who will transition from our high schools to the community each year, we need to begin today.”

The road to increased independence, productivity and a meaningful life, including possible employment, can be filled with obstacles. The parents of these young adults often don’t have enough information about services and supports available for their children to help navigate the system and plan for their future.

• This lack of information contributes to a nationwide unemployment rate for people with developmental disabilities of 75 percent.

• With sufficient supports and opportunities, many of these individuals could realize their dreams to secure employment and live with more independence and dignity.  

• At the forum, parents and their children will learn about available supports and Georgia’s vision for the future.

• Attendees will have the opportunity to share their concerns with state officials to ensure they make informed decisions related to public policy and resource allocations.

For more information visit or contact event coordinators Mary Poncy, (912) 272-2774,, or Vicki Sumner, 826-1440,