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Dover Post
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  • DelAWARE DisABILITY Hub aims to make information for those with disabilities more accessible

  • Terri Hancharick has spent six years searching for resources that would help her find healthcare and employment for her daughter Brigitte, who has multiple disabilities.
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  • Terri Hancharick has spent six years searching for resources that would help her find healthcare and employment for her daughter Brigitte, who has multiple disabilities.
    “I was not aware of the opportunities that were in the community for my daughter,” said Terri, who is the former chairwoman and a current member of former chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens. “There was no place to go. I had to dig to find information on the things. It’s very important for parents to know they have options and for students to know there are options after they graduate from school.”
    DelAWARE DisABILITY Hub, or deldhub.com, is a website created by the governor’s advisory council that launched on June 25. It aims to provide families like the Hancharicks with a clearinghouse of information for families with disabled children.
    The website provides information about resources, such as healthcare, employment, education, housing and transportation for those with disabilities.
    The information is particularly targeted to help those between 14 and 30 years old, which is considered the age range for people with disabilities transitioning into adulthood. The site is also designed to help parents, teachers and caseworkers find information, said Wendy Strauss, executive director of the governor’s advisory council.
    “The concept behind it is that it will be a one-stop shop for those with disabilities,” she said. “They and their families can go and find out what that individual might be entitled to and what services might be available to them.”
    The unique formatting of the website’s name also has a purpose, according to Strauss.
    “We did that because we want people to be aware of the ability of those with disabilities,” she said. “Because oftentimes, individuals with a disability are not given the credit they deserve. We all have abilities and we want to make sure people with disabilities and people looking for information are aware everybody has abilities.”
    So far, Terri and Brigitte have used the website to look up resources that could help Brigitte find employment. The website also has provided them with good healthcare information, Terri said.
    Healthcare is an important issue for Delaware families of children with disabilities because many who rely on Alfred I. duPont Children’s Hospital for services are surprised to discover their children age out at 21 and have to find alternate resources, Terri said.
    The concept of creating the website came about after the governor’s advisory council’s transition task force began investigating what service existed in Delaware for those with disabilities. The task force uncovered a wealth of resources, but they were so splintered that it required a lot of leg work to track them down.
    Page 2 of 2 - The task force proposed the council create a website that would consolidate the necessary resources into one outlet, Strauss said.
    The State Legislature gave the advisory council $15,000 to create the website and the council got to work researching what resources exist for those with disabilities. The council pooled more than 1,000 other websites and information from other agencies to create the hub. It took almost a year to get the site up and running from proposal to launch in late June.
    Since then, the website has been running smoothly, but Strauss already has a file filled with information she’d like to see added to the website.
    “There are videos I’d like to see us have on there that I thought we’d get up before the launch that didn’t happen,” she said. “There are things that I know we need to work on, so I do see it growing.”
     

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