DC Highlighted in Series on American University Radio

The three-part series covers the state of disability services in DC and across the nation.  The series aired last month and coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Evans v. Bowser lawsuit.  

WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle spent months covering various aspects of disability services in DC, from the closing of Forest Haven, the District’s former institution for children and adults with disabilities, to supported employment programs.  Mr. Austermuhle also interviewed former residents of Forest Haven, guardians, lawyers, and DC officials. 

Director of DDS Laura Nuss, who joined DDS in 2007, and took the Director position in 2010, provided insight about the significant systems changes DC has put in place to ensure that people with disabilities receive quality supports and are safe from harm.  She also highlighted the future direction of DC with regards to Employment First and No Wrong Door efforts, as well as Person Centered Thinking practices to enable people with disabilities to connect to the resources they need to live full and vibrant lives as independently as possible.

According to Mr. Austermuhle’s series, “from 2007 to 2015,  DC jumped 41 spots, on the United Cerebral Palsy annual report ranking how well states serve residents with developmental disabilities going from one of the worst states in the country (49th place in 2007) to one of the best (8th in 2015).” According to former DC Mayor Vincent Gray, “The District has come light years, and I think we’re probably in the forefront nationally.”

Director Nuss and others were also interviewed on the Kojo Nnamdi show, WAMU’s daily talk show that highlights local, national, and international topics.