You Should Be a Partner in Policymaking

If you live in Virginia and have a  child with a developmental disability, read on. (If not, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled Joe stuff in the next post!)

Next month, I’ll graduate from a program called Partners in Policymaking, which is sponsored by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. From September to May, it involves spending two days each month learning from national experts on a variety of topics. I’ve learned so much about things to do for Joe, and ways to help other families get what they need for their own kids.

Here are some of the topics covered:

History of Disability Movements
Self-Advocacy
Independent Living
Inclusive Education
Supported Employment
Personal Futures Planning
Building Inclusive Communities
Natural Supports
Assistive Technology
Communication & Team Building
Legislative Process and Strategies

The class is made entirely of two groups: 1) parents of children with developmental disabilities, and 2) adults with developmental disabilities of their own. It’s been especially nice getting to know the latter group, because it gives me a glimpse of what life might be like for Joe when he’s an adult — and it looks pretty good!

Each monthly session includes an overnight hotel stay where you  bond with your classmates, eat amazing food and sometimes stay up too late.

And it’s FREE.

They are recruiting for their 2013-2014 class, and the deadline to apply is April 30. So get to it!

Here I am polishing my public-speaking skills at the state capitol, a field trip taken with my fellow Partners in Policymaking.
Here I am polishing my public-speaking skills at the state capitol, a field trip taken with my fellow Partners in Policymaking.

School!

We had a terrific meeting today with some of Joe’s teaching team. Colonial Heights’ school system has been great for Joe, and we all marveled at how far he’s come in the past year or two.

Big thanks to everyone who spends part of their day making sure Joe ends up an educated, gracious young man.

Bench at school.

School bench

Getting off the bus.

School bus

Joe loves his bus team.

School bus

Easter Cousins

Joe had a great time hanging out with his cousins on Easter. The whole set of pictures is on Flickr – here are some of the highlights.

Staying warm with Dixon.
Easter 2013

Learning from the master.
Easter 2013

An impromptu meeting of the Khaki Pants Club.
Easter 2013

Lia, her sister and dad passing on the fine art of egg salad preparation to the next generation.
Easter 2013

The big slinky was a big hit.
Easter 2013