Renee earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Otterbein University and recently received her Master of Social work degree from The Ohio State University. She is a Licensed Social Worker who is currently working as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, where she advocates for and works alongside individuals to help them find employment opportunities in their community.
In addition to his 40 years of service to the DD community, Dr. Ryan served on the board of education of the Avon Lake City School for eight years. Dr. Ryan also taught at Cleveland State University and Notre Dame College. As a long-time supporter of Ohio SIBS, Dr. Ryan joined the Ohio SIBS Board in January 2016.
Sophia’s younger brother, Troy, has Angelman Syndrome. Troy currently lives with his parents only a quarter mile away from Sophia which allows her to see him often. The two of them love to have picnics when the weather is nice or cuddle up to watch movies when it is not so nice. Sophia, her family, and other people important in Troy’s life have been working very hard to help Troy find something he loves that will also allow him to make a meaningful contribution to his community throughout his adult life.
She enjoyed that work immensely, which led her to pursue her masters degree in social work. During her MSW program she was lucky enough to find her mentor Dr. Tom Fish whose work involved siblings of individuals with disabilities. Kelly’s work with Dr, Fish provided her with the experience of facilitating groups for young siblings of individuals with disabilities. Throughout her career in behavior support services adult siblings have often been team members for her clients, serving in the role of advocate or guardian.
Kelly has been able to see many times the wonderful role siblings have in the life of their brother or sister with a developmental disability. Although Kelly does not have any family members with disabilities she does have a strong connection with her siblings, Kristen and Kacy. They are two of her biggest supporters and she cherishes those relationships.
While serving on the Ohio SIBS board she hopes to support siblings and help them to connect and gain knowledge that will help them support their sibling throughout their life.
Debra has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Mount Union College, and a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Kent State University. Deb is a former ballroom dance and adapted dance instructor (1984-2004), a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, and the founder/director of Beyond Our Boundaries in Canton, Ohio, offering chaperoned “Trips of a Lifetime” for adults with developmental disabilities.
Michael is an adult with autism, who was diagnosed in the 1960’s. He attended the School of Bright Promise in Jefferson County. For the last five years, Michael has been living in Massillon, Ohio, in a beautiful community home with three housemates who are welcoming to Deb for frequent visits! Michael enjoys swimming at the rec center, camping, going to movies, and dining out. Michael has a winning sense of humor, and is employed in the community.
Debra and Michael have always enjoyed a close relationship with their parents. Their late mother, Mary Kay Buchmelter, was a successful public interest lawyer who had a part in writing the ADA. Michael and his father keep in touch by phone, visit on Skype, and enjoy Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, and shopping at the mall together.
Debra has been Michael’s guardian for thirty-three years; Michael has been photo-bombing the family since 1968.
Tabitha grew up in rural northwest Ohio with her five younger siblings. Her sister Katrina has autism and severe intellectual disabilities and lives with their parents in their hometown. Tabitha has been honored to be able to assist her parents in planning for Katrina’s education and long term care and is grateful to be able to help other families like hers.
John was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and moved to Cleveland in 1981 after graduating from Youngstown State University. He is a CPA and worked in public accounting for 29 years before taking an accounting position with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) working with SAW, Inc. in 2010. SAW was formed in 1969 and its mission is to train and employ adults with developmental disabilities. Before taking his current position, he served on the SAW, Inc. Board of Trustees for nine years, the last two as President. SAW is a vitally important organization that has trained and employed thousands of individuals with disabilities.
John is single and does not have any children. Much of his spare time is devoted to volunteering and following his favorite sports teams, the Indians, Cavs, Browns, and Ohio State Buckeyes.
Derek Graham is an estate planning attorney and partner at Resch, Root, Philipps & Grahams, LLC. He genuinely enjoys helping people avoid and fix problems that arise in their lives. Whether they are the parent of a child with special needs trying to figure out Medicaid, a small business owner trying to understand the confusing letter they received in the mail or just an individual wanting to know what will happen to their assets at their death, Derek enjoys teaming up with individuals and families to solve problems.
Early in his career, Derek was fortunate to get experience in civil litigation, business transactions and estate planning. Then in 2009, he and his wife had their first daughter who was born with Down syndrome. Like many of his clients today, they were inundated with information and felt overwhelmed. Nine years later, Derek now spends the majority of his days helping similarly situated families understand the various resources that exist. Derek finds it very rewarding to meet with families of all varieties and help them understand how to effectively and practically plan their estate. More than that though, he enjoys helping families understand the resources available to them and how to get the most out of those resources. His practice areas include Estate Planning, Special Needs Estate Planning, Developmental Disabilities Law, Elder Law, Guardianship, Probate, Probate Litigation and Business (organizational, transactional and succession). Derek earns his clients’ trust by working hard to accomplish their goals, being accessible and giving advice based upon experience.
Jacqui is the middle child of five siblings – three sisters and one brother. One of her sisters and her brother have multiple disabilities from PKU (phenylketonuria) and other health issues. Growing up with special needs siblings provided Jacqui with insight, understanding, and compassion for individuals with disabilities and for their caretakers.