How to be an Advocate for People with Developmental Disabilities
On Monday, Inspire had the pleasure of attending the 2015 Mid-Hudson Regional NYS Families Advocacy Training presented by experts from the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State. The session took place at Jawonio’s New City Campus; here, families, caregivers and advocates alike discussed important issues facing people with disabilities, their families, and the organizations that support them. Running the meeting were Al Shibley, Vice President, Communications, Barbara Crosier, Vice President, Government Relations and Matt Maguire, Senior Counselor, Public Affairs, Eric Mower & Associates.
Overview of the Issues
As our staff first walked through the doors of Jawonio, which along with Inspire is an affiliate of Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State, there to greet them were four of their New City Day-Habilitation consumers, David Caruso, Geraldine Steele, Margaret Devine and Aridia Flores. Participants were directed to the session, which was held in what was once Jawonio’s sheltered workshop – a workplace for individuals with special challenges that provides a supportive environment and allows individuals to acquire work skills and vocational experience. This setting was especially powerful as the discussion began: when asked about the current issues facin g people with disabilities, workshops were a critical point of emphasis. New York is beginning to phase out sheltered workshops to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead ruling “that requires states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs” (read more about the Olmstead ruling here). Families also voiced their concerns about the potential closure of Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs). ICFS are a form of housing “designed for those individuals whose disabilities limit them from living independently” (read more about ICFs here).
Take a Stand Together
Made evident immediately was the fact that there are a broad range of issues to address. Matt Maguire emphasized the importance of developing a finite plan.
If you are interested in learning more about ways to become actively involved in advocacy and education efforts for individuals with developmental disabilities, please contact Community Relations at (845)294-7300 x235 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.