Issue 6 | Summer 2023

Greetings from the Executive Director

Sally Gould-Taylor, PhDSally Gould-Taylor, PhD
Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities

I hope you and your family are enjoying the summer. It's been a hot one here in Philadelphia and indeed across the state of Pennsylvania.

The Institute has been busy!

We welcomed our groundbreaking ACES program back to campus after a hiatus, due to the pandemic.

After a successful run in Philadelphia during the spring, our File/Life installation traveled to the Senate Building Rotunda in Washington, DC.

We are set to begin work on several new programs about which we are very excited.

Please enjoy reading about these events and more below. Keep in touch...there's more news coming soon. If you are not already on our mail list, please sign up on our website and follow us on social media.

Keep cool!


Welcome Back ACES

ACES is back in person. After a several-year hiatus, the Institute’s ACES–Augmentative Communications Empowerment and Supports program, returned to Temple's campus.
From July 16 through July 29, ACES hosted nine participants who use augmentative communication. They stayed in dorms in Morgan Hall and took classes on a wide range of topics including, adapted art, cooking and gaming. Participants also attended a daily communication class, and enjoyed extra curricula activities like movie night, watching baseball, sharing ice cream and game night.

Read a story about the ACES program on the Temple News website.


Institute Awarded New Grant

The Institute has been awarded a multi-component grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC) to encourage families of young children with disabilities to focus on options for inclusive living and learning, rather than assuming that a segregated setting is the best or only option.

Read the full story about this grant on our website.


File/Life in Washington, DC

The Institute’s multi-modal installation called File/Life: We Remember Stories of Pennhurst spent the week of July 24, 2023, under the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.  

Read the full story about File/Life in DC on our website.


Upcoming Events

Rhythm Bath—Tickets Now Available!

Rhythm Bath, an immersive and inclusive dance installation, created by choreographer Susan Marshall and Tony Award-winning set designer Mimi Lein, will be performed September 17 through September 24 at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Philadelphia.

Rhythm Bath invites audience members to not just view the dancing, but to become a part of it. People can come and go, exploring the light, sound, and movement.

This world-premiere event was developed in conversation and collaboration with neurodiverse individuals and communities.

Complete information about Rhythm Bath available on our website.


Notes on Policy

Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Associate Director of Policy

On June 16, members of the 2023 cohort of Competence and Confidence, Partners in Policymaking (C2P2) visited the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.

During the visit, the group practiced advocacy skills by helping to educate state legislators and staff about issues important to people with disabilities and their families.

Read the complete story about C2P2 cohort at the capitol on our website


Western Corner

Guy Caruso, PhD, Western Coordinator

Activities from our Western Office

It’s time again for the Annual ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Film Festival.

Celebrating the lives of people living with disabilities for 11 years, ReelAbilities Pittsburgh brings together the community to explore and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

The Institute has been a long-time supporter of the film festival which runs from September 7 through September 13, 2023. The festival is held at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Complete information, including schedule, ticketing and virtual options, is available on the ReelAbilities Pittsburgh website.


Welcome to New IOD Staff

Leadership and Career Studies

  • Cheryl B. Torsney, PhD- Program Manager for Leadership and Career Studies (L&CS)
  • Jenna Doran - Career Development Specialist, L&CS

Assistive Technology (AT)

  • Cassandra Calia - AAC Services Coordinator
  • Jennifer (Jenn) Lisberger - AAC Services Coordinator
  • Izzy Kaufman - Assistive Technology Program Coordinator

Health Equity

  • Makhari Dysart - Health Equity Specialist
  • Nova McGiffert, Healthy Sexuality Project CoordinatorRaquel Mangual - Support Services Coordinator

Brief biographies of all our new staff members are available on our website.


Staff Member Honored

Long-time staff member, Jim Lemanowicz, Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation, was honored with a special award at the annual AAIDD Conference in Pittsburgh, PA in June.

Read the full story about Jim's honor on our website.


Other News

ODP Publishes latest edition of The Gold Book

The service system that is supported by Pennsylvania's Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is vast and can feel overwhelming. For individuals and families new to the system or for anyone interested in navigating ODP, The Gold Book is intended to be a guide to the system.

The Gold Book is designed in a readable and helpful format. You can find and download a PDF of The Gold Book on the ODP Information webpage.

Disability Pride 2023

The Institute was a part of the first ever Disability Pride in the Lehigh Valley on Saturday, July 22.

Philadelphia’s Disability Pride was postponed this year, due to weather. The new date is September 9. In Pittsburgh, Disability Pride is scheduled for August 26.


and just for fun…

The Institute enjoyed "Christmas in July" with hotdogs and all the trimmings!