The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is an annual fundraising walk that benefits local health and human service agencies.

The primary goal of the walk is to help participating organizations raise money for their individual missions.


Happy February!!

Don’t miss out on the Valentine’s Dance!

Valentine’s Dance
Where: Doubletree Greentree  500 Mansfield Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15205
Date: Sunday, February 17th, 2019
Time: 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Cost: $35 per participant, $30 per staff/caregiver, $30 per participant w/PACC Staff
Includes Dinner, DJ and PRIZES!!

Register NOW by calling: 412-621-6151 ext 2019 

Mail Registration Forms to:

PA Connecting Communities
800 N Bell Ave, Suite 200
Carnegie, PA 15106
Attn: Jennifer

There are four major health issues identified in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that have led to serious illnesses, infections, and sometimes death. They are called the Fatal Four: dehydration, seizures, choking/aspiration, and constipation. Today we look at:


Causes of Dehydration
Diarrhea and vomiting
Sweating excessively
Medication side effects
Medical conditions – diabetes undiagnosed or uncontrolled, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease
Inability to communicate thirst
Reliance on caregivers to provide fluids
Aging changes that lead to dehydration

Signs of Dehydration
Dry mouth
Decrease in urination
Sleepy/difficult to arouse
Dark concentrated urine

People with I/DD may also drink quickly, take drinks from others, and drink directly from the water faucet.

Be Proactive to Prevent Dehydration
 Provide personal water bottle when in the community
 Increase fluids when in the sun, and before, during, and after exercise
 Offer fluids between meals
 Follow the 8×8 rule – eight 8oz glasses per day
 Speak to a physician for suggestions for those on a fluid restriction
 Educate a person with I/DD to their ability of the importance of drinking fluids
 Avoid coffee, tea, and soda
 Offer creative types of fluids like Jell-O, Popsicles, or soups
 Encourage fruits and vegetables with high water content
 Increase fluids for fever, diarrhea, and/or vomiting, when able to tolerate
 Be a role model and drink fluids throughout your shift

Pay special attention to monitor the elderly as they are more susceptible to dehydration and thirst may not be a reliable sign of the need for water in this population. A better indicator of proper hydration is clear or light-colored urine.

Source: PA Dept. of Human Services PowerPoint on The Fatal Four, August 2018


Did You Know?   PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Office of Developmental Programs:

Transitional Services W1424 (1:1): directed toward supporting individuals in transition to integrate, completive employment through work. PA Connecting Communities Transition services can be thought of bridging the gap between school programs and the opportunities of adult life, including higher education or training, employment, independent living and community participation. 
Supportive Employment Services W7235 (1:1): There are 2 components: 1) Job Support: Some functions of job support include training of individuals in job assignments, periodic follow-up or ongoing support. Other activities include support to relearn a job, training to assist individuals to use transportation for work, maintenance of appropriate work behavior on the job.  2) Job Finding: Development of skills, outreach to potential employers, training of job tasks and other such tasks to assist an individual in acquiring a job Some functions of job finding include interview assistance, employer outreach and orientation, resume preparation, job skill development. 
Home and Community Habilitation Services W7058 (1:3), W7059 (1:2), & W7060 (1:1): Clients receive services that help them learn, maintain, and improve skills that allow them to live and participate safely and effectively in their local community. This service may be made available to individuals in their own home or in other residential or community settings not subject to licensing regulations. 
Behavioral Services: W7095 (1:1) Clients receive behavioral support from specialists based
on a personalized assessment. Specialists help the client, and those closest to them, identify behavioral triggers, replacement behaviors, and crisis prevention. The provision includes the training of individuals, staff, relatives and caregivers. 

Did You Know?   PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) at our new vocational center located at 800 North Bell Ave, Building 6 Suite 200, Carnegie, Pa 15106.  We have a contract with OVR to provide:
Evaluations & Assessments: to assess the individuals’ skills and interests.
Supportive Employment can be provided at a 1:1 staff-to-client ratio to assist with job development of obtaining and retaining employment.
CBWA (Community Based Work Assessment): allows the individuals to work under supervision with a group of individuals at a community site before being placed on a job.
PWAT (Personal Work Adjustment Training) (1:1): short-term work experience designed to help an individual develop the skills needed to obtain competitive employment including work behavior and social skills.
Extended Services: beyond the 90-day typical training period. Soon to come a Job Readiness Training Center! All waivers, contracts and school district funding sources will be considered.

Did You Know?  PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Bureau of Autism Services.
Behavioral Specialists 96150 & 96151 (1:1): Provides specialized behavioral support for individuals who demonstrate behavioral challenges because of limited communication skills, social skills, limited or impaired sensory systems. The behaviorist will develop the initial plan from the FBA, a crisis intervention plan, and on-going support which includes training.

Community Inclusion W7201 (1:1) Clients receive assistance in acquiring communication, socialization, self-advocacy and adaptive skills necessary to reside in the community. This service includes activities to improve the participants’ capacity to perform activities of daily living. Services may be furnished in a participants’ home or other community locations.
Job Assessment & Finding W7071 (1:1): Clients receive the support necessary to assist in obtaining paid or volunteer work in the community. This includes job assessment and job development. Clients are also provided on-going support once work is obtained. Supportive Employment W7200 (1:1) Clients receive on-going assistance in developing the communication, socialization, self-direction, self-help and adaptive skills necessary to maintain employment in a community setting.
Transitional Work Services W0011 (1:1 – 1:3) Clients are provided with community employment opportunities in which the participant is working along-side other people with disabilities. The intent of this service is to support individuals in transition to integrated, competitive employment.

Did You Know?  PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) 
Support Services, Waiver Support Services, or Waiver is a shortened term for the Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Program. This program provides funding for supports and services to help you to live in your home and community. Waivers offer an array of services and benefits such as choice of qualified providers, due process and health and safety assurances. The name waiver comes from the fact that the federal government “waives” Medical Assistance/Medicaid rules for institutional care in order for Pennsylvania to use the same funds to provide supports and services for people closer to home in their own communities.  Each waiver has its own unique set of eligibility requirements and services. Pa Connecting Communities offers the following waivers from OLTL: Attendant Care/Act 150 If you have a physical disability, the Attendant Care Waiver and state-funded Act 150 program may be available to you to continue to live in your home and community with support and services. COMMCARE Waiver  A Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). If you have a medically determined diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI), the COMMCARE Waiver can help you remain as independent as possible. Independence Waiver.  If you are an adult with a severe physical disability, the Independence Waiver may be able to help you live or remain in the community and remain as independent as possible. OBRA Waiver is a Home and Community Based Waiver program that may help you if you have a developmental physical disability to allow you to live in the community and remain as independent as possible.