Kennedy Krieger Institute, recognized internationally for improving the lives of children with developmental disabilities, plans to hold a public Needs Assessment Forum next week. The forum, on Thursday, October 6, 2011, is to begin developing a five-year plan to improve state-wide services that address the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Kennedy Krieger services for children with developmental disabilities, has a team of investigators who contribute to the understanding of how disorders develop, They pioneer new inventions and earlier diagnosis. The organization serves more than 16,000 children each year through inpatient and day treatment programs, outpatient clinics, home and community services, and school based programs.

The public is invited to attend the Needs Assessment Forum on October 6, from 1- 3 p.m. or 6 – 8 p.m., at Coppin State University in the Talon Center, Room 218 A and B. Free parking is available in Lot G. The forum sessions are open to individuals with disabilities, their family and friends, service providers, schools, resource coordinators, local social service departments, local health departments, clinicians, early learning professionals and other interested persons.

Using the life-span model to prompt discussion, forum attendees will be asked to describe their experiences with the system, focusing on aspects that are currently working well, aspects that are not working well and potential solutions to noted problems. A diverse range of perspectives will help identify strengths and weaknesses at the regional and state level, providing the first-step to improving the system in Maryland.

In June 2011, the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute, along with its collaborative partners, hosted 16 similar community forums throughout the State of Maryland. A prior attendee commented, “It is encouraging to see service providers, parents, professionals and the population served coming together for the common goal of serving those that depend on us for a voice. As a parent and advocate for my daughter I see these forums as positive steps in ensuring needs are recognized and efforts are being made to meet those needs.”

For more information on attending or if you require accommodations, contact Aisha Mason at 443-923-9555 or email [email protected]