To parents of children with disabilities and people with disabilities themselves:
There is a wonderful program called Partners in Policymaking that is put on by the governor’s council for developmental disabilities. It is a nine-month course where you meet for one Friday and Saturday a month excluding December at the Marriott in Bloomington. This class teaches you to become a more effective advocate for yourself or your child. There is an online course you can take, but I highly recommend attending the sessions.
It truly is life-changing; I am a graduate of class 31 which I took in 2013-2014. This class really helped me to advocate for my autistic son who attends St. Michael Elementary school. I have the knowledge of how to effectively communicate with politicians and school personnel, just to name a couple.
Partners in Policymaking was started here in Minnesota in 1987, and the class is now in most states and many countries. In Minnesota alone, we now have over 900 graduates. The course will reimburse mileage at the federal rate, and for those over 30 miles will put you up in a room overnight with a roommate. They will also pay for care for children or PCA if it is needed.
The deadline for applying for this year’s class is Friday, July 10. Applications can be found online right here.
Editor’s Note: Carmen also included information about a Facebook Group that offers support and also meets in person, dubbed NW SPARK (Special Parents and Remarkable Kids). You can find more information about the group and request to join via this link.