In This Edition

Welcome  |  SA Spotlight Monthly Focus In the Know POD Activities  |  Monthly Highlights  

Welcome to a New Year and a Fresh Start!

ILO board, staff and families work together to create supportive communities of peers and caring people who help self-advocates transition to independent living.   Our goal is the utmost independence and self-reliance possible, with a safe network of support when it’s needed.

Each month, our ILO Insights newsletter will look at the different aspects of ILO’s program in helping self-advocates successfully transition to independent living.

The newsletter will look at the different aspects of ILO’s program in helping self-advocates successfully transition to independent living.

This month our focus will be on health and wellness.


Meet Gregory – he’s in great shape, but he
works at it!

Gregory is a happy and enthusiastic young man with Type 1 diabetes and developmental and speech and language disabilities.

Gregory and his family joined ILO in 2016. They were inspired by ILO’s mission to help self-advocates live Independently with support.  Gregory succeeded in securing a housing voucher from Montgomery County in 2018, and ILO helped him move into an apartment he chose in Bethesda.

Eighteen months later, he has a part-time job at a doggy daycare and boarding facility in Rockville, volunteers at the DC Jewish Community Center, and takes some non-credit classes at Montgomery College.

Working out is also a big part of Gregory’s routine because he knows that exercise is an important part of controlling his diabetes.  He attends boxing classes twice a week at Bethesda Boxing and Kickboxing Academy, where the owner, Ken, a former special ed teacher, has put together special classes for young adults with developmental disabilities.  Gregory also attends fitness and yoga classes at Spirit Club in Kensington.  Gregory says the exercise makes him feel fit, and yoga helps him relax.

ILO community building POD events are helping Gregory become more comfortable in his Bethesda neighborhood. He especially likes showing other ILO self-advocates how to get around Bethesda.

Expert Tips for Leading a Long and Healthy Life


Although people with disabilities sometimes have a harder time getting and staying healthy than people without disabilities, there are things we can all do to get and stay healthy.

  • Be physically active every day.
  • Eat healthy foods in healthy portions.
  • Get regular checkups.
  • Use medicines wisely.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, drink in moderation.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • If you need help, talk with your health care professional.

Info provided by CDC.

Additional Health & Wellness Tips & Resources

Autism Speaks

Sleep problems are very common, reportedly as high as 80% in children with ASD. In typically developing children sleep problems and insufficient sleep can result in daytime sleepiness, learning problems and behavioral issues such as hyperactivity, inattentiveness and aggression.

Learn more here.

Solution: Stick to a routine schedule and routine, avoid caffeine, and exercise during the day.  


NDSS’ Health and Wellness Program is dedicated to HEALTH, the most important and critical human right.

Learn more here.

Solution: Health and Wellness includes our National Buddy Walk® Program, the Athlete Ambassador Program and Charity Racing Teams, and Our Healthy Community Programs including Racing for 3.21 on World Down Syndrome Day.


Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Regular physical activity and good nutrition are important — especially when you have cystic fibrosis.

Click here for more info.

Solution: By eating a high-calorie, high-fat diet, taking vitamins and mineral supplements, and staying fit, you can more effectively manage your CF and stay healthy.


Click here to download ILO’s handy Healthy Plan checklist.

ILO Events

Jan 19th – Community Group SOCIAL SUNDAY – Bowlero Bethesda, 3:00-4:30 pm, $23

Jan 21st – Community Group Parent Presentation – All About ILO, 7:00-9:00pm, Wisconsin Place CC

Feb 9th – Community Group SOCIAL SUNDAY – Bowlero Bethesda, 3:00-4:30 pm, $23

Feb 18th – Community Group Parent Presentation/Workshop, 7:00-9:00 pm, Wisconsin Place CC

Save the Date!

Feb 11th – Participating Family Meeting

May 16th – Hike, Bike & BBQ
July 31st – Bike to the Beach

Nov 23rd – Participating Family Pot Luck

All About ILO’s Community Group

Below is a visual that explains the difference between ILO’s Community Group and ILO’s Participating Families.

Families interested in ILO can learn more about ILO, gain additional benefits, and network with families already participating (Participating Families) in independent living by joining ILO’s Community Group.

For full details go to: and click on ILO Community Group or go directly to:

  • 12/7 – Tenley Winterfest
  • 12/8 – Free Performance of Handel’s Messiah
  • 12/8 – Super Mario Brothers Game Night
  • 12/11 – DCJCC Social Bowling Power Hour
  • 12/13 – ILO Movie Night (Jumanji Next Level)
  • 12/15 – Hike & Seek Winter Wonderland, Locust Grove Nature Center
  • 12/21 – Botanic Gardens Seasons Greeting Edition
  • 12/22 – Ugly Christmas Sweater Themed Guys Night Out at The Wharf
  • 12/17 – Garden of Lights Brookside
  • 12/29 – Ugly Christmas Sweater Themed Guys Night Out at The Yard House
  • 12/29 – Movie Night, Mazza Gallerie


note that most events require either RSVPs or registration, and to attend some
you must either be an ILO Participating Family or a Community Group member. See
the calendar for details.

Bike to the Beach Presents Check for $16,000

Bike to the Beach presented Maedi Tanham Carney, Executive Director and Founder of ILO, with a check for $16,000 earned by ILO’s 2019 team of riders, donors and volunteers in this past August’s Bike to the Beach fundraiser from DC to Dewey Beach, Delaware.

Save the date for 2020 – July 31st!!

Our thanks to Matt Hoffman who is stepping down as President of ILO’s Board of Directors but will remain on the Board and serve as President Emeritus, and Debbie Fickenscher who is stepping down from the Board but will remain a Skills Inventory Master Consultant to ILO. Both have given graciously of their time and energy in serving ILO’s families and self-advocates.

We are grateful for your help and guidance. Thank you!

Meet ILO’s New Board Members

Meet Julia Alexis, President

Julia’s innovative career spans more than 25 years in health and aging with management experience in business and a deep knowledge of health policy, the health care delivery system and philanthropy.

Currently, Julia serves as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at AARP’s Public Policy Institute where she oversees the development and management of its strategic programs and operations and generates millions of dollars in program revenue.   She works closely with major foundations, for-profit and non-profit organizations, and coalitions to create and deliver impact and results in complex and diverse environments.

Julia graduated with honors in international economics and finance from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Meet Andrea Kline, Secretary

Andrea Kline is a Participating Family member and is a Founding Family member.   Andrea retired in 2010 after 35 years in the Federal government. Her last agency was the National Science Foundation where she was a grants specialist/officer for 24 years.

Currently, Andrea volunteers two mornings a week at Shepherds Table in the kitchen and serving breakfast and two days a week at the National Museum of Natural History as a docent in Ocean Hall and Qrius.

Andrea has two adult children. Her son, Ben, a medical coder, is an ILO self-advocate living at The Crossings in Gaithersburg.

Meet Sally Buckman, Member at Large

Sally Buckman serves as the Manager of Lerman Senter, PLLC, a small law firm that specializes in communications law, where she has worked as an attorney for over 30 years.

Sally works with media companies of all sizes, providing advice about regulatory compliance and business and operational matters. Sally’s interest in communications law and the media industry stems from her undergraduate major in economics with a focus on regulated industries and her work in journalism, which included serving as Editor-In-Chief of her college newspaper.

Sally graduated from Wellesley College and New York University School of Law.  She has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Federal Communications Bar Association and an officer of the DC Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television.

Sally lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, Robert Shaw.  They have two children—Stephanie, who lives in New York City, and Gregory, an ILO self-advocate who lives in an apartment in Bethesda

Meet ILO’s New Staff

Meet Michelle Hanney, Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director

Michelle Hanney Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director Michelle is the administrative assistant to the Executive Director. She helps with the day-to-day operations of ILO.

Michelle is an experienced international program manager with a management consulting background in both private & public sector.

Her skills include project management, design and evaluation, process improvement, assurance, leadership development, client relationship management, and change management at the CFO, CIO, and Board level.

Michelle is fluent in Spanish and German and is Prince 2 & Program Management (MSP) Certified. She is also certified by Christie’s in Art Business Management and a DC Realtor at Long and Foster/Christies and sits on the Leadership Board of a New England girls’ preparatory school.

Meet Dionne Short, Life & Job Coach, Social Media Specialist

Dionne is not only a Life and Job Coach for ILO, but also ILO’s new Social Media Specialist.

Dionne has over twenty years facilitating people with disabilities, and helping self-advocates attain their short- and long-term person-centered goals.

Dionne graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Business Administration and Management. Dionne also received her Teaching Permit and is certified to teach Pre-K through Adult with extensive experience with inclusion students.

Dionne hopes to start a non-profit organization that will provide mediation and restorative justice services to youth, the disabled, and the aging of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Dionne loves to read, watch movies, swim, hike, and spend time with family and friends. Overall, Dionne is passionate about providing services to people in the community and loves seeing them thrive.

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