In making informed decisions regarding the care of Oregon’s developmentally disabled citizenry it seems that programs as well as institutions bear scrutiny. I would like to describe Dynatron, a work activity center in Bend to the Human Resource Committee and hope that it helps you in your considerations of effective, humane and cost-effective services for the developmentally disabled citizen.
Dynatron is governed by a local volunteer Board of Directors who established the organization with the goal of offering “normal”, publicly accountable services to severely handicapped adults while becoming less dependent on public tax support. With consulting support from the Specialized Training Program, the Board aimed at operating an electronics sub-contract assembly shop offering vocational, social and recreational services for severely handicapped adults. With these ambitious goals Dynatron opened its doors on October 8 1978.
Currently Dynatron serves 15 developmentally disabled adults with an average IQ of 30 and an IQ range of 20-63. The average IQ of 30 classifies an average handicapped employee of Dynatron as severely mentally retarded according to the American Association on Mental Deficiency.
Dynatron is staffed by three professionals, one educated in special education and all responsible for all facility operations. As a primary goal of Dynatron’s is not to solicit local contributions, the local community has been very helpful – offering Dynatron’s handicapped employees services in transportation and recreation. This type of community support has allowed for the social integration of severely handicapped adults into the community at large.
Programs at Dynatron are all individualized and staffed before a consumer committee. Individual Habilitation Plans must meet with the committee’s approval before any training is initiated. This allows the handicapped employee to change, alter or discontinue services if he/she or their committee should believe that active treatment is not being conducted.
Vocational programs at Dynatron consist of training and supported employment in electronics assembly. To date our workforce has produced the following assemblies meeting our customers rigorous specifications:
Printed circuit boards
Power supply boards for dialysis blood pumps
Control board for dialysis blood pumps.
Laced cable harnesses
HP printer crash stop cable
HP printer power supply cable
Chain saw sprocket assemblies
Component crimp, vice cut
Component fixture bend
This commercial activity, performed by severely handicapped adults, has resulted in a gross income of $41,241.00 since October 8 1978. Additionally, the commercial activity has paid $22,028.00 in wages to Dynatron’s handicapped employees over the past 28 months. The commercial aspect has many effects. While allowing our employees the respect and self-esteem associated with the world of work, Dynatron’s business operations have made the organization an asset in the community while saving public cost of care. The gross revenue of Dynatron has comprised 40% of Dynatron’s total income. Recent data indicates that this independence margin increased to 48% in February.
Not all of Dynatron’s activities are commercially related. We offer individualized instruction in banking, shopping, personal hygiene, voter registration and independent recreation. (It’s not unusual to catch a Dynatron employee at a local jacuzzi on Fridays!) Such training is conducted if it is age appropriate, functional to the individual, accepted by the handicapped employee and serves to integrate the employee into the community. Across all employees, those with the most severe skill deficits are prioritized to receive training and support.
In summation, 15 handicapped employees, 30% formerly institutionalized in Oregon institutions, are living more independent lives in the Bend community. Their employment at Dynatron has made a positive impact on Central Oregon’s economy, reduced the dependence of our workers on social security, reduced Dynatron’s dependence on public tax support and most importantly, has brought our workers the respect and admiration due a productive citizen. The total cost of a local group home and Dynatron’s services is approximately $54/day.
With the superb community support, I am happy to report to you that community programs can most definitely provide high quality, cost effective and humane services for Oregon’s population held at Eastern Oregon Hospital and Training Center.
Dennis Sandow, Director
Attachments: Biennial report, customer references.