Author Archives: admin

Trying New Things

Last week was a well-timed week of active outings! We strive to be active every day, and we went well beyond our goal. Our pals love fresh air and a bit of friendly competition. It’s the perfect combination for an afternoon with friends.

We tried our hands at sand volleyball and baseball this week. There is definitely a learning curve, as with any new activity or skill, but we still had fun while being active.

After a lot of sports, a relaxing afternoon in the park was the perfect addition to our week. We love to explore and enjoy nature within the big city of Columbus that we call home.

We’re looking forward to another great week! Make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.

Staying Active in Columbus #PALSMove

According to the American Heart Association, adults should incorporate at least thirty minutes of activity into their day, five days per week. This recommendation can be a challenge for individuals with disabilities to follow, but not an impossibility. Physical and intellectual differences are not a barrier to all physical activity! There are many different accessible ways to be active.

We strive to be active every day at PALS, and luckily, we live in a very lively and diverse city. Columbus is the perfect place to be active! Walking, yoga, and exploring are just three of our favorite ways to be active.


Exploring our city by walking is the perfect way to stay active without much effort. Columbus has many parks with paved trails for individuals who utilize wheelchairs to explore as well! Strawberry Farms Park, the Scioto Mile, and Schiller Park are just a few of our favorite places to play.


According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga increases your flexibility, muscle strength, and tone; all while reducing stress levels. It can function as a great way for individuals with disabilities to practice calming their minds and bodies. While the practice of yoga is traditionally quiet and focused, this dedicated atmosphere is not always required. Yoga can be a lot of fun when you allow yourself to laugh and play while working on that tree pose!

Images via Art Outside the Lines on Instagram

Our favorite place to practice yoga is with our friends! Art Outside the Lines hosts Yoga Friday every Friday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. Their classes are taught by a licensed instructor and an individual with a disability! Lots of laughter floats out of the gallery during class and we wouldn’t have it any other way.


We’re experts at finding ways to learn, have fun, and stay active all at once. Here’s the secret to our success: explore! Our daily community outings give our participants unique experiences each and every day. Some days we learn more, and some we are a little more active, but we’re always having fun around Columbus!

Bowling is by far our favorite pastime. Participants love the good food and friendly competition!

We also love to find some pretty unique places to explore. In the past we’ve visited the Honda Heritage Center and the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame.

We love to be active in our community. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to see where we go next!


Sliding into Home in the Community

Happy Monday, pals. We had a very sports themed week last week! Here’s a look at our adventures:

Monday: Basketball and Sand Volleyball! Participants worked on their basketball skills at Academy Park in the morning and then played sand volleyball in the afternoon.

Tuesday: Slip and Slide Baseball! We slipped and slid into our home runs at Alum Creek Park. A great activity for the warm weather!

Wednesday: Bowling! Not to brag, but we bowled quite a few strikes this week. Practice definitely makes perfect!

Thursday: Medieval Faire & Competition! We traveled back in time and created our own kingdom at Woodside Green park.

Friday: A rainy day for everyone. We took advantage of the many indoor activities we have to stay dry.

Below are some pictures from last week. We’re looking forward to another fantastic week out in the community!

The Best Day of the Year

After a long Memorial Day weekend, we were excited to be back out in the community with our participants! Here’s a look into the fun we had last week:

Tuesday: Pool Noodle Baseball! Participants had a ton of fun playing this silly version of the all-American pastime.

Wednesday:Strike!” “Oh no, a gutter ball!” Our weekly bowling trips are our most highly attended community outings. We definitely love a little friendly competition!

Thursday: A beautiful day calls for an afternoon in the park! Participants went fishing on Thursday afternoon at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Friday: The best day of the year! Friday was our yearly company-wide trip to King’s Island Amusement Park in Mason, Ohio. We started our day with a picnic lunch, and then split off into our groups for an afternoon of rides, games, and of course, blue ice cream!

Below are a few pictures from our week. Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and follow PALS Art Studio on Instagram for more pictures and updates!

Open House

Last week we held a two-day-long open house at our new location for our participants, their families, teams, and providers. Despite the rainy weather, the event was a success!

Our executive team gave tours of our new space with sneak peeks into the new purpose of each section of the building. They met families both new and familiar, and answered questions about our move and collaboration.

PALS participants were, along with an expected bit of anxiety, thrilled with the new space. They loved the kitchen, outdoor green space, and new group room. Tours gave participants a look into their new opportunities and they were excited to talk about the things they’d like to do in their new space.

The open house also gave PALS staff members a chance to tour their new space. We began our move in by bringing artwork from PALS Art Studio to hang in the entryway and lobby areas. Staff chatted about the artwork and the time they spent with participants as the pieces were created while walking around. The executive team gave them tours as well. This time spent together as a team created a sense of anticipation and excitement to begin our new chapter as a company.

Below are some pictures from the event. Watch our blog for updates as we continue to transition into our next chapter!



PALS in the Community

We had another great week out in the community! Every afternoon participants at PALS Chrysalis Health have the opportunity to take part in a community outing. Here’s a look at our week:

Monday: Cooking Class! We learned to prepare the delicious combination of mini calzones and tossed salad.

Tuesday: We explored one of the pride and joys of Columbus: COSI! Participants had a blast exploring the museum, refreshing their science knowledge, and even learning a few new things along the way.

Wednesday: Our favorite afternoon of the week, of course, was spent bowling! Delicious food, a little friendly competition, and time with friends? What’s not to enjoy?

Thursday: Physical activity was interesting on Thursday with a Tae Kwon Do class. This class was a great way to mix things up and learn a new activity!

Friday: Two words: Goofy. Olympics. Participants were encouraged to dress in silly outfits and give their all in fun outdoor games like human foosball!

Below are some pictures from our week. We hope you enjoy your weekend!

Our New PALS


We are excited to announce a few upcoming changes happening at PALS Chrysalis Health!

Due to our unwavering commitment to provide the most personalized and progressive supports to individuals in our community, we have become a resource to another local provider who was in need of the PALS approach. Respite Connections, Inc., based out of Columbus, is joining PALS Chrysalis Health, enabling us to offer additional supports to our participants. This exciting collaboration with Respite Connections, Inc., and all support services provided will be managed by and be a part of PALS Chrysalis Health.

Please welcome our new member of the executive team coming from Respite Connections, Inc., our Director of Residential Supports, Christe Snyder! Christe brings many years of experience and expertise in the residential field to PALS Chrysalis Health.

The second upcoming change is that PALS Gahanna is moving on Monday, June 5, 2017! We have been tirelessly looking for the perfect location and building for quite some time to help us: grow with our program, offer additional supports, and become a larger contributor to our community. We finally found it!

New Location: 5250 Strawberry Farms Blvd.

We are still right here in Columbus and the new location just 5 minutes from our current location. This location will allow us to continue to provide unique opportunities to the individuals we support. It will also give us the space needed to safely provide individually tailored programs for individuals who could benefit from specialized supports.

Our third, and final, upcoming change is that we have new program hours company-wide, beginning Monday, June 5, 2017. Our new programming hours will take place in all three of our locations: PALS Columbus, PALS Heath, and Art Outside the Lines.

New Program Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

This change comes to us after a thorough analysis of our daily routine and transportation processes. We believe the change will: promote active engagement, support a more enjoyable experience, contribute to increased community involvement, and increase transportation efficiency. PALS will continue providing day services and transportation to 222 W. Johnstown Road in Gahanna until Friday, June 2. Starting Monday, June 5, we will be at our new home with our new “PALS” at 5250 Strawberry Farms Blvd. You will be notified of any transportation changes prior to starting at the new location.

These exciting upcoming changes to PALS were made to provide the best services to the individuals we support. We welcome your feedback, questions, comments and concerns regarding these changes and the transition to make this as smooth and successful as possible. Please feel free to reach out to anyone on our executive team with questions:

  • Aaron Bracone (
  • Christe Snyder (
  • Michael Pierro (

Best regards,

PALS Chrysalis Health

Why It Pays to Hire Workers with Developmental Disabilities

By John Kregel
VOLUME 14, NUMBER 3, FALL 1999 Copyright © PRO-ED, Inc.
Reprinted with permission

Scenario 1: Michael was recently hired by a local restaurant operated by a major national chain. A local supported employment agency provided a job coach to assist him in learning to do the job. On Michael’s first day of work, the district manager made a surprise visit to the restaurant. After questioning Michael’s immediate supervisor about him, the manager directed the supervisor to fire him on the spot, stating, “We don’t need those kind of people working for the company” (Miller, 1999). The supervisor refused to fire Michael and attempted to contact the company’s public relations director. The company never responded, and the supervisor ultimately quit in protest of the company’s decision. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed an Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) lawsuit on Michael’s behalf.

Scenario 2: Emily works as a dining room attendant in a local fast-food restaurant. She greets customers, removes trays, and keeps the dining room clean and neat. Emily has a job coach, but the restaurant’s assistant manager taught her to do her job. The restaurant’s regular customers speak to her every day and ask about her when she misses work. The district manager knows her by name and has featured her in local advertising campaigns. When asked about this, the district manager says, “Emily represents the message our company wants to send to the customers in this area-friendly, courteous, hardworking employees.”

Scenario 3: Jack was a courtesy clerk for a local grocery store, assisting customers by carrying their groceries and placing them in their cars. Jack has Tourette syndrome, which causes him to occasionally speak loudly and inappropriately to customers. During his first two weeks on the job, several customers complained to the store’s manager, saying that Jack had made “rude and offensive” comments to them. At the same time, a number of Jack’s co-workers approached the manager, saying that they found him to be hardworking and sociable. They indicated that Jack’s inappropriate vocalizations were beginning to decrease as he became less anxious on the job. Other customers commented to the store manager that Jack was helpful and friendly. The manager, however, felt that he had to terminate Jack immediately and refused to request assistance from the local supported employment agency, saying, “We shouldn’t have to teach someone not to make crude remarks.”
Scenario 4: Charles is a young man with autism who has worked as a courtesy clerk for a grocery store in his neighborhood for the past 3 years. When he first started this job, he had a tendency to ask customers extremely personal questions while taking their groceries to their automobiles. By the end of his second day, six different customers had registered complaints and his job seemed in jeopardy. However, the store manager himself had a brother with autism and as a result was sensitive to Charles’s situation. For the next 2 weeks, the manager and a job coach spent 2 hours with Charles each day, modeling appropriate interactions with customers and introducing him to his co-workers. As a result of the manager’s intense involvement, Charles survived his shaky start and became a “model employee,” a favorite of the
customers and co-workers alike.

Over the past quarter-century, advocacy efforts on the part of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have led to the passage of new legislation, the design of new program alternatives, and a significant increase in expenditures in employment programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. These efforts, coupled with significant changes in our nation’s economy and improvements in societal attitudes, have dramatically increased employment opportunities for individuals who previously had been excluded from the economic life of their communities.

The four scenarios described above are all based on recent real-fife situations. For Emily, Charles, and hundreds of thousands of other individuals with developmental disabilities, legislative, economic, and social changes have opened the doors to competitive employment for people who previously were unable to access and maintain employment. Heightened expectations on the part of consumers and their families, increased use of modern service technologies such as supported employment, and newly emerging business trends that value workforce diversity have enabled many individuals with developmental disabilities to overcome artificial barriers that heretofore had limited their access to employment.
Unfortunately, far too many individuals continue to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles when attempting to pursue their dream of a rewarding, self-chosen career. Stereotypic employer attitudes and outright employment discrimination, such as that faced by Michael in the scenario above, still deny many individuals with developmental disabilities the chance to show their skills and abilities. Equally unfortunate are those situations in which an employer is willing to provide an employment opportunity to an individual, but lacks the confidence or awareness of the support resources that will enable that opportunity to be successful. The cases of Jack and Charles, described above, illustrate the differences between employers who feel confident in their ability to manage and train employees with disabilities and those who do not.
The ADA, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1990, was designed to prohibit discrimination by private employers. The ADA has been slow to meet its goal. An “anti-ADA backlash,” unanticipated in its scope or intensity, coupled with a series of narrow court interpretations, have combined to limit the effectiveness of the law. Particularly troubling has been the inability of individuals with developmental disabilities to benefit from the employment discrimination provisions of the law. For example, less than 1% of the charges received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involved individuals with autism or mental retardation.
Despite these obstacles, the ability of individuals with developmental disabilities to “get the job done” and contribute to the economic life of their community remains undeniable. The simple truth is that the vast majority of employers who have hired persons with developmental disabilities find that the presence of the worker with a disability has had a positive impact on the productivity and profitability of their business. Employers who have had experience hiring and supervising workers with developmental disabilities overwhelmingly believe that individuals with a disability have a right to be as independent as possible, including the opportunity to perform a job for which they are qualified.
There are many compelling and cost-effective reasons for employing a person with developmental disabilities. However, none of the factors is more convincing to the employer than the personal qualities that the individual with a disability brings to the employment setting. Time and time again, employers indicate that individuals with developmental disabilities are committed and dedicated workers who possess a strong desire not only to succeed in their jobs, but also to advance in their careers. Both the popular culture and professional literature contain numerous examples that describe individuals with developmental disabilities as productive, dedicated, and responsible employees. Some of the key findings from recent research efforts are summarized below.

Employers overwhelmingly rate the overall work performance of employees with developmental disabilities quite favorably. Employers consistently report that individuals with disabilities are able to “get the job done.” Numerous research studies (e.g., Shafer, Hill, Seyfarth, & Wehman, 1987; Shafer, Kregel, Banks, & Hill, 1988) have shown that employers rate the overall work performance of workers with developmental disabilities quite favorably. Specifically, when asked how the work performance of individuals with developmental disabilities compares to that of other employees in the same position, employers overwhelmingly indicated that the performance of the employees with disabilities meets or exceeds that of their nondisabled counterparts.

Of course, this does not mean that all individuals with disabilities are highly rated on every aspect of their work performance. For example, in the studies cited above, supervisors invariably rated the speed, quality of work,
and independence of workers with disabilities as low, while simultaneously rating their overall work performance as quite high. In other words, employers frequently say that an employee with a disability may not work as fast as his or her co-workers. The employee may make more errors than other workers or require more of the supervisor’s time in supervision and guidance, Yet, when asked about the worker’s performance in its entirety, employers consistently report that individuals with developmental disabilities contribute as much or more to the business as all other employees.
On one level, this finding seems contradictory. Speed, accuracy, and ability to work independently are among the factors most frequently associated with highly productive employees. Yet, it is becoming increasingly apparent that employers often consider factors other than speed of work and training time when determining an employee’s overall level of work performance. Shafer and his colleagues (1988) found that these factors included reliability, inclusion in the workplace “culture,” and willingness to respond to employer supervision and feedback.
Workers with developmental disabilities, including persons with significant support needs, are dependable and reliable workers. In several major studies (Kregel, Parent, & West, 1994; Kregel & Unger, 1993; Shafer et al., 1987; Shafer et al., 1988) over 900 supervisors and employers were asked to rate the work performance of persons with disabilities in comparison to workers in similar jobs who did not have any identified disabilities. Workers with disabilities were rated higher than their non-disabled counterparts on a number of factors, including attendance, arriving to work and returning from breaks on time, accepting authority, and being accepted by the public.
Furthermore, the “level of disability” displayed by the workers did not affect how their employers evaluated their work performance. Individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism or severe cognitive disabilities were rated as highly as other workers with disabilities. In fact, individuals with developmental disabilities consistently demonstrate a greater ability to improve their work performance over time. This is not surprising given that over the past decade many individuals with developmental disabilities have entered competitive employment for the very first time. As these individuals have gained familiarity with the demands of the world of work, their performance has significantly improved.
Workers with developmental disabilities are generally satisfied employees who enjoy their jobs and the opportunity to contribute to their company. Individuals with developmental disabilities have overwhelmingly reported that they enjoy their jobs and their chance to work together with their co-workers and employers (Parent, Kregel, & Johnson, 1996; Test, Hinson, Solow, & Keul, 1993). When asked to identify the aspect of their job they enjoyed the most, workers with disabilities most frequently reported that they enjoyed their job duties and the people with whom they worked. They overwhelmingly indicated that their relationships with supervisors and coworkers were rewarding and that they were treated no differently from any of their co- workers.

While they are generally satisfied, individuals, with disabilities, like virtually all members of the workforce, often would like to see changes in their current job. Over half of the individuals interviewed by Parent and her colleagues (1996) reported that they wanted to obtain a better job in the near future. A chance for increased earnings, changes in their work schedules or job duties, or opportunities for promotions and career advancement are among the concerns expressed by consumers.
Workers with developmental disabilities express positive attitudes toward their em- ployers and co-workers. Individuals with developmental disabilities interviewed by Parent and her colleagues (1996) overwhelmingly indicated that they had positive relationships with their supervisors and co-workers. Over 90% indicated that they got along well with their supervisors; over 80% indicated that their boss was always available when needed. They also indicated that they were treated no differently from anyone else on the job. Over 80% indicated that their bosses and co-workers treated them as well as or better than other workers on the job.
Workers with developmental disabilities have a positive impact on the overall productivity and profitability of the business or company that employs them. Many employers continue their commitment to workforce diversity as a strategy for increasing the productivity and competitiveness of their company. Workers with developmental disabilities are hardly a burden to business or industry. On the contrary, the presence of workers with disabilities actually increases the ability of a company to contend with its competitors. Kregel and Tomiyasu (1994) found that employers view people with disabilities as having a positive effect on their entire workforce. For example, many times co-workers will become vested in the success of the individual with a developmental disability. This will lead not only to social integration of the individual, but also to camaraderie and cooperation among coworkers.

The “bottom line” from all these studies is this. Many individuals with developmental disabilities make highly effective employees. The characteristics valued most by employers – reliability, dependability, getting along with co-workers, loyalty to the company, respect for authority-are the factors used most often by employers to describe workers with developmental disabilities. Those factors that truly “handicap” an individual in terms of his or her value to an employer-insubordination, willingness to work as a member of a team, lack of dependability, substance abuse problems are the characteristics that employers least frequently ascribe to workers with disabilities.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, more and more employers are beginning to understand the value of workforce diversity and the potential contribution of individuals, with developmental disabilities. Hiring workers with disabilities is not a charitable act, it’s just good business sense. The vast majority of individuals with developmental disabilities arc terrific employees who are doing jobs that need to be done and who are contributing to the overall profitability of their companies in a variety of ways. Those employers who fad to recognize the potential contribution of workers with disabilities must understand that their competitors will and are taking advantage of this competitive edge. Companies that continue to discriminate against individuals with disabilities will go the way of those that failed to take advantage of the skills and abilities of women, people of color and other minorities. Why should businesses hire workers with developmental disabilities? Simply because they can’t afford not to.

John Kregel Co-editor
The development of this manuscript was partially supported by Grant No. H133B980036 from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and Contract No. 0600-98-35487from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and no official endorsement by NIDDR or SSA should be inferred.
Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
Kregel, J., Parent, W, & West, M. (1994). The impact of behavioral deficits on the
employment retention of supported employment participants. Neurorebabilitation,
4(l), 1-14.
Kregel, J., & Tomiyasu, Y. (1994). Employers’ attitudes toward workers with
disabilities: The effect of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Journal of Vocational
Rehabilitation, 4, 165-173.
Kregel, J., & Unger, D. (1993). Employer perceptions of the work potential of
individuals with disabilities: An illustration from supported employment. Journal of
Vocational Rehabilitation, 3, 17-2 S.
Miller, P. S. (1999). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and people with mental retardation. Mental Retardation, 37,162-165.
Parent, W, Kregel, J., & Johnson, A. (1996). Consumer satisfaction: A survey of
Individuals with disabilities who receive supported employment services. Focus on
Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 11, 207-221.
Shafer, M., Hill, J., Seyfarth, J., & Wehman, P. (1987). Competitive employment and
workers with mental retardation: Analysis of employer’s perceptions and
experiences. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 92, 304-311.
Shafer, M., Kregel, J., Banks, P. D., & Hill, M. (1988). What does the boss think? An analysis of employer evaluations of workers with mental retardation. Research in
Developmental Disabilities, 9, 377-391.
Test, D., Hinson, K., Solow, J., & Keul, P. (1993). Job satisfaction of persons in
supported employment. Education and Training in Mental Retardation, 28 (1), 38- 46.

PALS College Class Spring Semester


The PALS Columbus State program will resume classes for the Spring semester on January 16th, 2017! With the assistance of the Disability Services Department and the Sport & Exercise Studies Department at Columbus State University, we have worked together to build another amazing semester for individuals who want to attain a higher education.

The program consists of a variety of entry-level college classes to help ease participants into the program. The program begins with class COLS-1101, Introduction to College: College Success Skills, required for every student who begins at Columbus State Community College. College Success Skills helps students understand what the expectations are while attending college and the tools necessary to be successful in college. The class is accompanied by a physical education class taught by the Sport & Exercise Studies Department. Once the initial two classes have been passed, students will be able to choose which classes they would like to take for the remainder of their college career.

For anyone interested in taking courses in the upcoming Spring semester, we wanted to take a moment to outline important dates and events. At PALS Chrysalis Health Reynoldsburg Campus, we are offering online learning courses, college prep courses, the COLS 1100 class, and some Sport and Exercise Science courses.

To better assist students in attaining their goals, we have developed a PALS curriculum that states goals, sets a time line, and includes a road map for success. PALS Chrysalis Health offers assistance to future students of Columbus State in enrollment into the college, enrollment in classes, and signing up for FAFSA.

The PALS Chrysalis Health Columbus State Program consists of four semesters.

PALS freshman semester will consist of a college class that help the student, instructors, and program better gauge the level and pace for that individual. Students in their freshman semester will take:

  • –  COLS 1101 an Introduction to College class – provided by Disability Services will be held at the Columbus State Licking County Branch (Classroom).
  • –  SES 1009 Bowling – provided by Sport and Exercise Science Department (Classroom).PALS sophomore semester students will take the following classes:

– SES 2548 Adaptive Physical Education – provided by Sport and Exercise Science (Classroom).

– SES 1100 Personal Fitness Concepts – Course provided by Sport and Exercise Science (Online).

**Upon successful completion of the PALS Sophomore semester, students are encouraged to continue courses at the faster pace.
PALS junior semester students will take the following classes:

  • –  SES 1101 Introduction to Sport & Exercise Studies – Course provided by Sport and Exercise Science (Online).
  • –  SES 1102 Recreation & Leisure Operations – Course provided by Sport and Exercise Science (Online).PALS senior semester students will take the following classes:

– Online courses of their choosing towards their area of study offered in the PALS classroom Monday – Friday from 10:00am till 11:30am.

Students who have successfully completed the four semesters at the PALS Chrysalis Health Columbus State Program will be armed with the necessary tools to transition to full time “traditional” students at Columbus State Community College! Advocates from Columbus State will be at PALS Chrysalis Health Reynoldsburg Campus one day per week to speak with students, giving them the ability to address problems they may be encountering, changes they wish to apply to their current classes, or general advice about college life.

Students must first take the asset test in order to move on to the compass testing and Disability Services Intake, which will take place at PALS Chrysalis Health locations.

Open now for students interested in applying for Columbus State Community


FAFSA Enrollment
Open now for students interested in applying for Columbus State Community


Asset Testing and Disability Services Intakes

 We will begin Testing and Intakes in November and December for the Spring Semester.

Admissions Application Deadline for Fall semester

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for any questions you may have.

Thank you,

The PALS Columbus State Team Aaron Bracone