Monday, August 6, 2012

Educate the Masses

This weekend I start something different. It’s a program that I was introduced to by Konner’s
speech therapist, and I’m both excited and a little nervous to begin. Partners in Policymaking is
a program that I was fortunate enough to be accepted into. I hope this will not only make me a
better parent but will help others.
For any of you who remember, this column is called Pervasive Parenting because my goal is to
help others with the things that I learn. This is why I hope to share the information with you as
I get it. I want to let the readers know about things that I feel will help in advocating for your
So, what is Partners in Policymaking you ask? I’m not real certain yet, but I’ll tell you what
I do know. Most of this information comes from the website:
partners_in_policymaking.html. According to the site: This program is designed for adults with
disabilities, parents of children with disabilities who are too young to advocate for themselves,
and advocates for persons with disabilities.
What they do is help to educate participants to work with policymakers, to develop positive
relationships with them, and help prevent the loss of basic rights for people with disabilities.
Once the training is over I should be able to advocate for people with disabilities and help them
receive services and other forms of support. This in turn will help those with special need to be
independent and live better within the community.
The reason I’m so grateful to be in this program, besides the fact that it is beneficial to so many,
is that it is not that easy to get in. You have to fill out an application and go through an interview
process just to be accepted. They only receive 30 participants each year from throughout the
state. I wasn’t sure if I would make it, but I’m truly glad that I did.
Now that I’m in I will go to orientation on Saturday and spend one weekend a month for eight
months in training. While the training goes from September through May, there will be no class
in December. These classes will include some homework assignments. I’m not sure what this
entails yet, but I’m a writer and researcher with many years of school behind me, so I’m not that
worried about it. There will be a major and minor project throughout the training. Again, I’m
not sure about this, but I’ll keep you informed. I will have to participate in effective evaluations,
maintain records of advocacy efforts, and participate in post-training follow-up surveys.
I have said many times in my column that the best thing you can do for your child with special
needs is to educate yourself. So when I was presented with this opportunity I debated over and
over whether I should do it. I’m pretty busy most of the time (but then aren’t we all?), and I
really didn’t want to take anything else on in my life. Then I wrote an article and put those words
down on the screen and said to myself, “Why would you miss this opportunity to help your child
and possibly others?” I’m not sure how much of this information I’m going to be able to share
with you, or how overwhelming the data is going to be to me, but I will try to let you know as
much as I possibly can throughout this experience.
Oh, and the best part is that it is free. What a great deal?
If you are interested in the program you can fill out the application online, or call the Oklahoma
Developmental Disabilities Council (ODDC) office at (405) 521-4984, or 1-800-836-4470 toll-
free, to request an application. Applications are accepted year-round for training that begins in

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