Addressing the Safety Needs of Individuals Living with I/DD and Other Disabilities

***Please submit public comments on these issues to the ADD. The link is below.
Thank you, The Gammicchia Family

Addressing the Safety Needs of Individuals Living with I/DD and Other Disabilities

The President of L.E.A.N. On Us, Andrew Gammicchia, provided a written proposal to be chosen as one of the forty individuals from across the midwest to testify at the ADD "Envisioning the Future" Summit in Detroit, MI on Dec. 2nd, 2010. He was selected and allowed three minutes to provide testimony. This is the written transcript of that testimony along with some of the post scripts he provided. Each listening panel member was also provided a packet of information and resources for consideration. Please note that the ADD is providing an opportunity for written comment to be submitted via their website and we would urge others to do so. The ADD provides funding to support Protection and Advocacy agencies, Developmental Disability Councils, Centers for Independent Living, as well as parent training programs in most states. They also provide funds for other intiatives on a federal level and collaboration with many other national agencies.

Here is the link to access the public comment site:

To view the transcripts from the Detroit Summit:

Commissioner Sharon Lewis
Administration on Developmental Disabilities
Envisioning the Future Summit
Detroit, Michigan

December 2nd, 2010

Good morning Commission Lewis and distinguished panel members,

I am Andrew Gammicchia, President of L.E.A.N. On Us, from Shelby Township, Michigan and the proud parent of two sons, one whom you’ve already heard testify today. As a parent of a young man living with autism, and currently an officer with 23 years experience in law enforcement, I have seen many individuals including our son not understood by those who are called upon to provide an appropriate response. What I would like to ask today is that the Administration on Developmental Disabilities creates a national committee to address safety concerns that often affect the quality of life for many individuals Living with disabilities.

In the documents I’ve provided you will find several resources (1) our organization L.E.A.N. On Us currently uses. You will also find information on two trainings we have assisted in developing specifically to address needs in this area. (2) However we still do not have a national training that provides for first responders to be educated on providing appropriate response to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Nor do we have a national training for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, their care providers, and other natural circle of support members to be appropriately prepared for emergency situations or to prevent or report victimization and abuse.

Additionally we have seen much need for healthy maturation programs within the educational process to prevent victimization, recognize what abuse and neglect is, and provides individuals seeking a self determined life within their communities’ safe options to do so. Due to lack of resources in this area, we have seen many individuals falling into harm’s way across the country. We are also seeing individuals with developmental disabilities being accused of either crimes they often do not have the ability of intent to commit, or the knowledge that their actions may even have been criminal in nature. For those so accused, there is often no representation available to assist them since most Protection and Advocacy organizations do not assist those accused of crimes.

Lastly there is a need for data collection within police incident reports to show that a crime victim has a disability. There is currently no such demographic provided to law enforcement and we feel this is needed for both victim services and prevention programs. This also has an easy solution of just adding this demographic to the reports that over 17,000 police agencies complete daily (3). This would also allow us to track if through education, preparedness, and prevention programs are being effective and those currently most vulnerable are provided appropriate supports needed in these areas.

I would like to express appreciation for being allowed to speak to you today and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on any of the information provided.


Andrew Gammicchia
President, L.E.A.N. On Us

Postscripts and References:

(1) Most of the resources provided are available on our website or Facebook page at :!/pages/Shelby-Township-MI/LEAN-On-Us/314400839740

I will however provide them in a PDF form when submitting my written testimony on the website.

(2) The two trainings provided are the “Tools for Appropriate Response to Individuals with Mental Illness, Developmental Disabilities, and Special Needs” eight hour M.C.O.L.E.S. certified training that is currently being delivered in a two day “Train the Trainer” model that has mental health, law enforcement, and disability community representatives delivering the training. Often self-advocates are asked to attend as well as natural circle of support members to provide input which is often the most valuable parts of these trainings for all involved. This training is designed for law enforcement and corrections officers. The original funding for this initiative came from a Community Mental Health Block Grant in the amount of $75,000 and was developed and implemented over a two year period. It also is currently being used in other states.

The second training is an eight hour curriculum developed via a Department of Justice grant through the Office of Victims of Crime. Our agency was approached by the OVC to submit a request for a Community Collaboration Grant which was done in collaboration with the Howard County ASA Chapter as the national partnering agency recognized as the Autism Society of America. The OVC grant, in the amount of $50,000 was utilized to develop materials and the curriculum, deliver pilot site trainings, and present the materials at national conferences across the country. The curriculum has been approve by the OVC for national use and the six professional fact sheets and two informational brochures for community members are available on our website for no cost to download.

Those items can be located here:

(3) Information regarding police incident reports can be obtained individually in each state by contacting the Uniformed Crime Report designee. Information about the U.C.Rs can be obtain via the F.B.I. website at:

Also available there is a ten page FAQ document regarding UCR data:

The only area where disability has a demographic is in the area of Hate Crimes. We know however that these crimes are greatly under reported and generally not identified as Hate Crimes.

For that information you can go to:

Disability bias recorded for 2009

Of the 99 victims of a hate crime due to the offender’s bias against a disability:

§ 74 were targets because of an anti-mental* disability bias. (*unknown what this category would include)
§ 25 were victims because of an anti-physical disability bias

Another reason these reports could be useful would be for mortality studies. Currently there has been discussion by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee on the issue of wandering and elopement and deaths resulting from such events. These reports could actually provide much of the information needed to show when, where, to whom, and how they occur.

Our agency has for the last six years been speaking to many federal level officials to try to get these demographics needed. They could also show events which take place at school, such as reported restraint or seclusion, and also incidents such as bullying. These reports also show arrest information as well as conviction follow-up information. This information and data could be very valuable in many areas for individuals living with a I/DD or other disability. This would also add a chance to train officers on proper ways to write reports when using the identifiers and would not require disclosure unless necessary. We see this as a very inexpensive and viable solution to many needs across the board. The data could also be utilized to show what surveys do not, what is transpiring annually in these areas and reported by an unbiased third party.