STIR-ring Up Some Learning and Fun

Project STIR–standing for Steps Towards Independence and Responsibility, had its Northwest Regional training in April. There, some of our individuals went to learn about important skills such as self-advocacy, knowing yourself, understanding your rights, conflict resolution, and more. Those who graduate from a Project STIR training have the chance to return to a subsequent session and teach others the skills they have learned or support someone new to the training as an ally. 5 of the individulas we serve graduated from this 3-day training held at the Village Barn in Monroeville to become the next group of Ohio’s leaders. Another one of our individuals who had already attended a prior training returned as a support for a friend attending the class, and 3 more returned to teach or help organize.

Congratulations to our newest set of Project STIR graduates!

The Project STIR reuinion picnic in Columbus is on Friday, May 5th 2023 for those who have graduated from at least one STIR training.


Autism Acceptance Month with OCALI

April is Autism Aceptance Month! Take some time to learn about ways that you can support people on the autism spectrum with these resources from OCALI. Each week OCALI will spotlight resources to support individuals and their families at each stage of their lives:

Week 1: Early Childhood

Week 2: School Age

Week 3: Family and Caregiver Resources

Week 4: Adolescence into Adulthood

You can find the resources on OCALI’s website HERE



The Erie County Board Of Developmental Disabilities Partners With Local Cinemark To Host Sensory-Friendly Movie


SANDUSKY, OHIO, March 11, 2023: The Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities partnered with Cinemark Theater in Sandusky to coordinate an opportunity for those with sensory challenges to see a movie in a way that is comfortable and enjoyable to them. In the spirit of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a sensory-friendly movie screening of The Amazing Maurice will be held at the Cinemark Theater. The lights in the theater remain on and the volume is turned down to avoid overwhelming those with sensory challenges. The Erie County Board of DD will provide fidget toys to allow people that require more sensory input to move and play while they watch. This March, keep those with developmental disabilities in mind as local businesses and individuals begin to plan more events so they can be enjoyed by all.


Doors open at 10 AM, movie starts at 10:30 AM on Saturday, March 11. To reserve your tickets, please call 419-626-0208. Seats will be limited to accommodate a sensory-friendly experience, so reserve your spots while space is available.


The mission of the Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities is to inspire, empower and support individuals and their families. 

Night to Shine Honors Individuals

This past Friday, the Chapel in Sandusky partnered with the Erie County Board of DD to host Night to Shine. Sponsored by the Time Tebow Foundation, Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience to celebrate people with disabilities. The experience for each honored guest–many of whom receive our services, included a limousine ride, a red capret entrance, paparazzi, a catered dinner, and a crowning moment where a buddy who accompanies and supports them throughout the night places a crown or tiara on their head to give them the opportunity to be King or Queen of the prom.  We had an amazing turnout Friday night, and all in attendance had a wonderful time. Thank you to all of our honored guests and volunteers for making this an unforgettable experience!

Employee Spotlight: Andy Swaisgood

Hello. This is Andy Swaisgood, Customer Care Coordinator with the Clearwater COG (Council of Governments). I have been supporting ECBDD since April of 2021.

What does a Customer Care Coordinator do?

  • Conduct customer satisfaction research for individuals and their families, community partners, and county board staff.
  • Analyze data related to customer experience feedback and make recommendations regarding areas for improvement, in relation to customer satisfaction.
  • Design and direct continuing education by developing and conducting training on latest best practices in our field of work.
  • Cultivating a positive work culture, through the use of trauma informed care. (This is my favorite job opportunity!)

What is Trauma Informed Care?

  • Trauma Informed Care is understanding how chronic stress and trauma affect the brain and body, so we can help identify our own stress responses and build a self-care plan that keeps us performing at our best even in stressful situations.
  • It’s asking, “what happened to you?” instead of “what’s wrong with you?”.
  • It’s responding to our co-workers, individuals with lived experiences and their families, with empathy and curiosity instead of with shame and blame.

I am honored to work for a place that puts an emphasis on customer experience and the trauma informed care practices, I mentioned in this introduction. Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or want to learn more about what I do at ECBDD, the best way to reach me is by email at

Santa’s Workshop at the Sandusky Mall

This past weekend, we hosted our annual Santa’s Workshop event at the Sandusky Mall. Partnering with the mall allowed us a larger space and interactions with Santa, and many families who attended the event went shopping afterwards. We had a great turnout and lots of fun! The event featured a scavenger hunt, letters to Santa, crafts, games, temporary tattoos, a photo booth and face painting. Thank you to all who came out to join us at this festive holiday event and we hope to see you next year!