The LTO Ventures Community Model

Read an in-depth description of the LTO Ventures community model here.

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Angela Burnette, Jenai Gaccione Join Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce the addition of two new members of the LTO Ventures board of directors.  Angela and Jenai bring extensive experience to our team.

Angela Burnette headshot 86x102Angela is a parent of two young children including a daughter with a moderate level of autism and developmental delays.  She is President of Hand Over Hand, a non-profit organization focused on bringing all-inclusive playgrounds to Southern Nevada.  Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from California State Polytechnic University, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  She has 11 years of experience as an auditor for the gaming industry and local government.

Jenai Gaccione_bio photo 86x113Jenai is a social worker with several years experience in community development. She has more than 10 years experience working directly with families and more than four years experience developing and managing housing programs. She takes pride in being a part of the Airmount Woods development team in Ramsey, NJ, along with other special needs housing communities including award-winning Orchard Commons and Crescent Commons. Jenai has a BSW degree from Dominican College and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University, with a concentration in Client-centered Management.

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Lindsay Turns 18

Today, my daughter and the inspiration for LTO Ventures, Lindsay, turns 18. She is now one of the more than 50,000 kids with autism who reach adulthood every year.  And we’re asking for your help. [Read article]

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Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Act

See the latest report from Sen. Harkin’s HELP committee. We don’t agree with all of Harkin’s positions re: persons with disabilities, but the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Act to be introduced by Sen. Harkin could be very interesting. We’ve believed the US DOT’s Disabled Business Enterprise (DBE) designation should apply more broadly to include adults with autism and we look forward to reading the legislation to see if it accomplishes that.

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Senator Harkin Wrong About Olmstead, Community Living, and Choice

I originally posted this comment July 18, 2013 on a Disability Scoop article [here].  The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee report is linked within the article, or you can click here to access it.

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Happy Father’s Day 2013, Autism Dads!

Click here to read our post that was originally published June 14, 2013 in the official Autism Speaks blog.

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Mark Olson Presenter at AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference, May 25th

Mark Olson, LTO Ventures President & CEO, will be one of the autismonepresenters on the Residential Roundtable: Spectrum of Possibilities-A Discussion of Housing and Funding Options at this year’s AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference.  The session will be held 1:45-6pm on Saturday, May 25th in the Avedon A/B room of the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel.  The session chair is Cathy Purple Cherry, and other presenters are Dan Burns, Peg Pickering and Diane Belnavis.

The roundtable will allow participants to further discuss federal and state legislative, funding and housing goals and hurdles introduced during Mrs. Cherry’s presentation. Discuss action that can be taken to initiate the changes desperately needed to ensure the greater availability of successful housing options for the transitioning ASD population.

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Media coverage in Las Vegas Review Journal VIEW

Coverage about LTO Ventures and our Autism Entrepreneurs Center in the Jan. 22, 2013 issue of the Las Vegas Review Journal VIEW newspaper.

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Autism Entrepreneurs Center Kicks Off to Overflow Group

Our Autism Entrepreneurs Center kicked off its first meeting on Jan. 10th to an overflow group of 30 people parents and their young adults with autism or Aspergers.  They had similar issues and were enthusiastic about what we plan to accomplish.  Among the attendees were individuals interested in careers as an accountant, working in computers and technical problem-solving, becoming a physical therapist, and working in the fire alarm business.  The mission of our Center is to give ASD adults the specific guidance, tools and resources they need to create, launch and run their own businesses. [MORE] [PRESS RELEASE]

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Our view of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The US Senate is taking up the issue of ratifying the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and today’s media coverage is full of stories about the GOP opposing ratification of any treaty, including this one, during the lame duck session.  I am posting this link to the PDF of the treaty so people can read it and decide for themselves.

Rick Santorum is reportedly opposing the treaty on two provisions, one involving reproductive rights, and the other a provision that says the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration for children with disabilities (Article 23(2 & 4), p. 16).  He, and several other groups, are concerned that this could lead to the state, and not the parents, making decisions on what is in the best interest of a child.

Article 23 actually addresses the rights of children of disabled parents, but I can see how this standard might be used in the future outside its purpose in this Article.

In our opinion, we do not believe the provisions referencing “best interests” in the UN Convention constitute a significant enough concern to delay or deny ratification of the Convention by the US, and we encourage the US Senate to pass it.

The discussion about “best interests” does cause us to revisit an issue about the rights of disabled persons in the US. I am concerned about the efforts of the State (federal or state govts and agencies) to adopt paternalistic regulations that give them rights to decide for children and adults with disabilities what they believe is in the best interests of the individual over the rights of the individuals themselves and their parents and guardians to make those decisions.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have been attempting to rewrite Medicaid regulations for several years to do just this, using access to Medicaid funds as a weapon to force their agenda.

In CMS’ most recent efforts, they have proposed a notion of “substituted judgment” to prevail over “best interests” in which the state could force a disabled person into a residential setting not of their choosing based on what CMS or a state agency determine that they think the individual “meant to choose.”

We believe in CHOICE in its purest form.

We are encouraged to see in the UN Convention these provisions:

Article 18 (p. 13) “State Parties shall recognize the rights of person with disabilities…to freedom to choose their residence…”

Article 19(a) (p. 13) “Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement.”

We hope the ratification of the UN Convention by the US Senate would help provide advocates of CHOICE more tools to fight efforts by CMS and other groups to limit choice based on their own misguided paternalistic perspectives.


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Communities to Know: Cape Cod Village (MA), Bancroft Lakeside Campus (NJ)

Look under “Communities to Know” to learn about Cape Cod Village which is patterned after Sweetwater Spectrum, and Bancroft Lakeside Campus, a pedestrian community.

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