GCDD Launches New Website and Messaging, Initiates Conversation Within The Disability Community
ATLANTA, GA (December 13, 2010) – The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) recently launched a redesigned website to better serve the disability community. It presents information and resources in a user-friendly manner and with increased functionality. The new site incorporates more information about policy and legislation; a social media component that encourages the community to explore and share; and a comprehensive resources section that will direct individuals looking for assistance to the appropriate entities.
The new site offers information that is not always easy to find or decipher, such as a reference on Medicaid waivers, public policy white papers on EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening and Diagnosis Treatment) for parents and professionals , and an overview of the Challenge of Transitioning from Institutions to the Community, a style guide for People First Language, which is a way of writing and speaking about people with disabilities that communicates accuracy and respect, as well as comprehensive lists of FAQs concerning disability issues. In addition, the site is home to important information about GCDD's legislative agenda and goals. GCDD recently released the agenda for the 2011 legislative session.
GCDD’s new website consolidates these items and many more. Resources to serve the disability community as well as provide media background and information are clearly organized, categorized and searchable.
The website now contains a wealth of new interactive features, including a blog, community resources, the latest news and legislative updates, intuitive site structure and integration with social media outlets so that users can engage with one another and express their reactions to issues affecting the developmental disability community. The new site also has text enlargement capabilities for the visually impaired. Visit the new website at www.gcdd.org.
The website redesign is part of a public relations initiative designed to raise the public’s level of disability awareness. A survey of the public, conducted in July, revealed that only one-quarter of the general public and 28 percent of participants from the disability community believed it was very likely for persons with developmental disabilities to have careers with opportunities for advancement. In addition, more than half (52.8%) of the general public said that children with developmental disabilities would benefit most from being in separate classrooms or special schools versus learning in general classrooms with all students. The survey was commissioned by GCDD and conducted by V& L Research in Georgia.
“The results of the survey reaffirm the importance of GCDD’s commitment and work to create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to be engaged in community life. Still, we realize we need to do more to help them share their stories with others,” said GCDD Public Information Director, Valerie Meadows Suber.
In addition to the survey, GCDD conducted focus groups to analyze how the public perceives GCDD. Suber said the focus groups made it apparent that “we needed to develop messaging that is easier to understand, clarify exactly what GCDD does, and broaden the awareness of our programs.” A new logo design was officially adopted by Council vote at GCDD’s quarterly meeting in July, and the website was designed to incorporate the new look.
“By committing resources to this new website, we lead by example and show our commitment to integrate individuals with disabilities into the communities in which they live, work and play,” said GCDD Executive Director Eric E. Jacobson. “The site itself is a community where individuals with disabilities and the public can come to find information, explore options and share their perspectives, stories and advice. With this site redesign, we’ve facilitated a virtual voice for the disability community at GCDD.org.
” GCDD’s philosophy of Real Communities has also been expanded on the site. This concept is comprised of five focus areas: real homes, real careers, real learning, real influence and real supports. The new site design allows visitors to more easily search, browse and explore each area, and quickly connects them to resources and information.
The website is an important cog in the social media machine that GCDD is using to generate conversation among its constituents. Twitter followers and friends of GCDD on Facebook can more easily stay connected with news, events and legislative updates that affect the disability community, as well as weigh in on the issues. In the coming months, a YouTube Channel will house video excerpts of important meetings and presentations, and Flickr will provide access to photos related to news and events. GCDD will monitor these tools for appropriate content and information accuracy.
GCDD.org will allow the public, legislators and the disability community to be more closely connected to each other and find information about pivotal upcoming events, including the 13th annual Disability Day at the State Capitol on February 24th and GCDD’s Quarterly Meeting, January 13th-14th, 2011 at GCDD headquarters, 2 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA.
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), a federally funded, independent state agency, is a leading catalyst for systems change for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities. Through public policy initiatives, advocacy programs and community-building, GCDD promotes and creates opportunities to enable persons with disabilities to live, work, play and worship as integral members of society. A Developmental Disability is a chronic mental and/or physical disability that occurs before age 22 and is expected to last a lifetime. It may require supports in three or more of the following life activities: self-care, language, learning, mobility, self-direction, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. Visit www.gcdd.org for more information.