Implementing a 21st Century Disability Policy
1. Bring other groups into the fold, taking full advantage of the breadth and brawn of disability policy stakeholders. Approach other stakeholders early on – such as disability-specific groups, disability providers, the Department of Developmental Services and other state agencies – to solicit their endorsement of this document, and garner their participation going forward. Begin the process of promoting recommendations.
2. Build on existing outreach and educational programs with successful track records to train leaders. Use models – such as the MDDC/MASS self-advocacy leadership series, MFOFC’s Family Leadership Series, The Arc’s training series and educational conferences, and continuing education and parent group programs – to develop leaders among advocates, self-advocates, public policymakers, and family members.
3. Take full advantage of marketing/media strategies to tell success stories, demonstrate needs, and increase community supports and services. Leverage the Rolland Settlement and other institution-to-community placements as proof that even those with the most profound needs can have real-life choices and – with sufficient funding – can thrive in the community.
4. Ensure that schools have necessary tools to fully and effectively practice inclusion and transition planning. Help schools understand the need – when implementing inclusion and transition policies – for accountability and consistency, and help them understand that requiring individuals/families to demand inclusion is antithetical to the principle. Provide logistical support to schools around how to track outcomes and how to take full advantage of outside expertise and local family organizing efforts. Good transition planning may require the use of a standardized evaluation instrument (similar to Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam) and/or teacher certification to ensure that students are getting appropriate transition services.
5. Develop short-term priorities, in consultation with advocacy groups and provider organizations, that reflect MA21 goals. Target legislative and administrative changes in addition to funding objectives that are consistent with the policies put forth in this document.
Next: MA21 Partners
The Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy (MA21)
The mission of the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy (MA21) is to advance full community participation for individuals with disabilities.
If you are interested in joining this Alliance or hosting a workshop, please contact:
MFOFC ~ 1-774-855-6001 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org