2018 Partners in Policymaking™ Program
The DDC is currently accepting applications for the 2018 Partners in Policymaking ™ Program. This immersive program is intended for adults with disabilities and/or parents of children with disabilities of any age. The goal of the program is to empower participants with resources and knowledge so that they can become effective advocates for themselves and others. Participants attend the program for one weekend per month over an eight month period. The DDC hosts a different topic and speaker for each weekend. Topics covered include disability history, relevant legislation, navigating the IEP process, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and more. This year’s program runs from February through September. The DDC covers all lodging and food costs for our participants. Child or respite care and mileage stipends are also available. There are currently twenty open spots for the program. The application deadline for the 2018 program is January 3, 2018.
Asperger's Alliance is a 501(c)(3) corporation with a mission to provide social skill development to individuals on the Autism Spectrum, in addition to resources and support to their families and caregivers. Each year, the DDC is pleased to support the efforts of a local self-advocacy organization. The DDC was pleased to award Asperger’s Alliance with a grant to support their efforts. With the grant money, Asperger’s Alliance has planned a variety of activities to support and enrich the lives of self-advocates. These range from the establishment of a graphic-design business operated by individuals with Autism to the development of an online storefront that will showcase handmade items created by individuals with Autism. Any and all profits from the graphic design shop and online storefront will go directly to the individuals who worked on or created each project. By earning full, fair market value for their work, the self-advocates will receive a fair and competitive wage. Asperger’s Alliance also intends to use a portion of their DDC grant funds to pay for guest speakers suggested by the self-advocates.
Outside the Box Conference
The Outside the Box Conference is the Mid Atlantic Region’s Premier Conference on low incidence high needs disabilities. This year’s conference was held from Friday, October 6 through Sunday, October 8, 2017 at the Atlantic Sands Hotel and Conference Center in Rehoboth Beach. The conference was organized by Delaware Statewide Programs. DDC was happy to support the conference by providing funding to bring nationally-recognized keynote speaker Chris Ulmer to Delaware. Chris is known as the teacher behind Special Books by Special Kids (SBSK), a popular video series that has surpassed a million followers in only twenty months. Chris travels the world interviewing neurodiverse humans and sharing their stories. The 2017 conference featured 22 sessions, 12 presenters, 130 attendees on Friday October 6th, 150+ on Saturday October 7th, and 90 on Sunday October 8th.
The annual LIFE Conference turns 20 this year! LIFE stands for Legislation, Independence (through AT), Families and Education. This year’s conference will be held on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM at Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center. Featuring a keynote address in the morning and an awards luncheon hosted by the State Council for Persons with Disabilities, the rest of the day is made up of breakout sessions focusing on one of the four main LIFE topic areas. The conference typically has 500+ attendees, comprised of self-advocates, parents, professionals and service providers. Past years have showcased up to 78 exhibitors ranging from service animal organizations to health care corporations and everything in between. For more information, please visit the conference website at www.lifeconferencede.org.
Healthy Sexuality for Individuals with Disabilities: An Education and Resource Program
The Arc’s statement on Life in the Community: Sexuality says, “For decades, people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have been thought to be asexual, having no need for loving and fulfilling relationships with others. Individual rights to sexuality, which is essential to human health and well-being, have been denied. This loss has negatively affected people with intellectual disability in gender identity, friendships, self-esteem, body image and awareness, emotional growth, and social behavior. People with intellectual or developmental disabilities frequently lack access to appropriate sex education in schools and other settings. At the same time, some individuals may engage in sexual activity as a result of poor options, manipulation, loneliness or physical force rather than as an expression of their sexuality.” With these reasons as motivation, the DDC has partnered with AI DuPont/Nemours to create an education and resource program for young adults with disabilities and a separate, companion program for their parents/caregivers. Education and resource sessions will be held in each of Delaware’s three counties. Education and resource sessions are tentatively scheduled to begin in December, 2017 and wrap up by the spring of 2018. More information and details regarding session registration will be provided as they become available.
Delaware Disability History Project
Beginning in 2016, the DDC began organizing meetings of the Delaware Disability History Project Committee. The committee is comprised of members from numerous Delaware disability advocacy and service groups. The goal of the project is to preserve the history of Delaware’s self-advocates and use a variety of delivery methods to distribute project materials. These include the production of a video series featuring interviews of individuals with disabilities. The interviews were conducted with the help of local Oral Historian Kim Burdick and were recorded and produced by O.K. Video. The committee is currently organizing a live play featuring individuals with disabilities as the actors. Look for more information from the project on the DDC website.