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Envisioning the Future: Allies in Self-Advocacy

A self-advocacy summit was held in Baltimore on March 19th and 20th, 2012 at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel. This summit, titled Envisioning the Future: Allies in Self Advocacy, was one of nine such summits held throughout the country since 2011. In addition to Maryland, the following states/territories participated in the Baltimore summit: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and West Virginia.

Planning for the summits was coordinated through a partnership between the U.S. Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD), Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN), the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), and state developmental disabilities services agencies. The purpose was to assess the status of self-advocacy in each state, identify accomplishments and challenges, plan possible next steps to strengthen and enhance self-advocacy, and develop recommendations for national Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) activities and policy related to self-advocacy.  

ADD requested that the developmental disabilities network in each state work in partnership with self-advocacy organizations to create nine to twelve-member state teams that worked at the summit to develop a plan for furthering self-advocacy. The Maryland team was comprised of the following representatives:

  • Ken Capone, People On the Go (Maryland SABE organization) – Team Leader
  • Diane Dressler, Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities – Team Leader
  • Frank Kirkland, Director, Developmental Disabilities Administration
  • Brian Cox, Executive Director, Developmental Disabilities Council
  • Teri Sparks, Maryland Disability Law Center
  • Katie Miller, ASAN
  • Kate Fialkowski, Executive Director, The Arc Maryland
  • Bill Ohge, People On the Go
  • Cheryl Gotlieb, ADAPT
  • Vicki Mills, People On the Go
  • Mat Rice, People On the Go
  • Jie Cao, Youth Representative

The Maryland draft plan has two main goals:

  1. Provide improved education regarding self-advocacy – this goal will focus on providing training to students in self-advocacy as well as to parents and teachers.
  2. Strengthen self-advocacy organizations – this goal will focus on supporting self-advocates to be valued stakeholders on committees and workgroups.

Maryland’s national recommendations included:

  1. Make state self-advocacy information and training centers a funded and equal part of the DD Act, led and governed by people with DD.
  2. Eliminate of employment penalties, raise the SSI resource limits, reduce the amount of time to get through SSI, and increase the transition time to retain SSI benefits (to ensure stable employment).

Local planning for the summit was provided by AUCD and MCDD. Please visithttp://alliesinselfadvocacy.org/ to learn more about the summit.

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