#73 - Advocacy Series Recap

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The advocacy series covered 12 episodes. We conclude with take away lessons and a 60-90 second clip and overview of each episode in the series.

Episodes in the Advocacy Series

(click title to be directed):

#61 & #62 Inclusive Housing & Social Change

Micaela Connery is the founder and CEO of a new inclusionary housing development called The Kelsey which is focused on creating an environment of mixed ability and mixed income residents. The Kelsey aims to be more than a housing development, they aim to be a social change organization expanding inclusion possibilities for individuals with disabilities.

Part 1 of the interview focuses on the logistics of creating The Kelsey and why it is a desirable, yet never before created, model of housing.

Part 2 is an interesting discussion about how parents’ motivation to create housing comes from a different angle and also why, for the future of policy, it is important for inclusionary housing to be an option.

#63 & #64 Inclusive Education - Overcoming the Resistance

Moving from segregated to inclusive school settings is often met with resistance. Does the resistance hold merit and how can educators, students, and parents come against it? What stages do schools pass through when moving toward more inclusive settings?

Dr. Julie Causton, founder and CEO of Inclusive Schooling joins us. She was a Professor in the Inclusive and Special Education Program in the Department of Teaching and Leadership at Syracuse University for the past 14 years. Dr. Causton’s particular areas of expertise are school reform, inclusive teacher training, collaboration, humanistic behavioral supports, lesson planning, and providing invisible adult supports.  She also provides independent educational evaluations in due process hearings across the nation relying on her legal knowledge and practical experience.

She  is published in over 30 academic journals and has written 6 books for school professionals about inclusive education that are widely read by school teams and teacher education programs across the country.  Last year she supported schools in the area of inclusive school reform in twelve states and in several parts of Canada.

#65 Inclusion in Faith Based Settings

Individuals with differing abilities have much to contribute and our communities are lacking without their presence and influence. This is true in faith based settings as well.

Sandra Peoples is a leading voice and encourager in the special needs community via her online groups, 3 published books, a long running blog. and contributor and editor at Key Ministry.

Listen in to this conversation as Sandra and I chat about how important it is for individuals with disabilities to be seen and understood at church. We follow up with encouragement for families, resources for churches, and nudges for everyone to move forward.

#66 Advocating Against the Sexual Assault Epidemic

Individuals with disabilities are 7x more likely to be the victim of sexual assault. After learning of her sister’s abuse our guest, Julie Newart, began an advocacy organization called Natalie’s Voice.

Natalie’s Voice is a family-driven sexual assault prevention advocacy organization aiming to: Raise awareness that the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are highly vulnerable to sexual assault, empower caregivers with effective planning tools., and build community around response so that perpetrators are brought to justice.

#67 HCBS Waiver Ruling, Fair Labor Laws, & Advocating for Choice

Ashley Kim is the director and national coordinator of the advocacy coalition Together for Choice. Together for Choice is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to unite, to protect, and advance the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live, work and thrive in a community or setting of their choice. 

The conversation covers the complexity of the issues surrounding new HCBS waiver rulings and also the Fair Labor Standards Act. This is a must listen to conversation if you plan on utilizing government funding options for quality of life in adulthood.

#68 The Need for Adult Sized Changing Tables

Changing Spaces is an advocacy movement bringing adult sized changing tables to public bathrooms. When in need of diapering, individuals with disabilities must be changed on the floor of a public restroom or return home.

In this episode, Christina Abernethy, coordinator of Changing Spaces Pennsylvania, discusses why the need for adult sized changing tables goes beyond hygiene and dignity but also is an inclusion movement. She shares how you, too, can participate in bringing adult sized changing tables to your local community and beyond.

#69 Self Determination with Complex Communication Needs

Self determination is the process by which one controls his or her own life. Most would agree it is important but does that mean we know how make it a reality for all individuals with disabilities, especially those with complex communication needs?

To discuss this topic with us is Karrie Shogren, Ph.D. Dr. Shogren is a professor at Kansas University in the Department of Special Education, a Senior Scientist in the Life Span Institute, and Director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities. Her research focuses on self-determination and systems of support for students with disabilities and she has a specific interest in the contextual factors that impact student outcomes. She has published over 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals, is the author or co-author of 10 books, and is the lead author of the Self-Determination Inventory System.

#70 Do This Not That: Lessons from a Self Advocate

How can we best come alongside individuals with differing abilities? Are we unknowingly offensive or even oppressive? Angela West, self advocate, tells us.

Angela is a woman in her 30’s with cerebral palsy. She holds a masters degree, was a Senate Health Education Labor and pensions committee intern, studied at Virginia Partners in Policymaking, and is a former therapeutic recreation activity leader.

In this conversation she shares her thoughts on two topics:

1) What are we unknowingly doing as parents, providers, and supporters of individuals with disabilities that may come across as disrespectful?

2) What types of things did Angela’s parents and supporters do well when she was young to bring her to a place of accomplishment as an adult?

In the discussion of these 2 questions, Angela uses her 2 primary means of communication which are her AAC device and her own voice with an interpreter.

#71 Political Advocacy: Yes You Can!

Laura Hatcher is on the leadership team of The Little Lobbyist.

The Little Lobbyists are families of children with complex medical needs and disabilities who seek to educate legislators about our community by showing up in-person with our children (and their trachs, ventilators, oxygen tanks, feeding tubes, wheelchairs, all the stuff) so they can see first-hand who is impacted by laws and programs. Most importantly, they want legislatures to see our kids are just KIDS; who go to school, love to play, and deserve access to the health care, education, and community inclusion they need to grow up to live their best lives. The Llittle Lobbyists also seek to educate families with complex medical needs about legislation that impacts us, and to empower us to be strong advocates.

In this episode, Laura gives us a pep talk to encourage and equip us to be voices for the disability community.

#71 Finding Your Advocacy Style

What is your advocacy style? Some of us are outspoken and confident while others of us are timid and slow to react. Often advocacy comes with images of anger and confrontation but what if that is not the way we are wired? Can we still be strong advocates?

Michelle Sullivan, pictured above with her son, discusses her advocacy style and journey. There was a time Michelle did not believe her voice had any power but now she is a leader in the disability community bringing change and empowering others to do the same, all while staying true to her personality and true voice.

Michelle is the founder of The Littlest Warrior and host of Advocate Like a Mother Podcast.