Get notice of new posts
Connect with me!
Help Support Our Climb
Damn Fine Words Writing Course

Archive for May, 2012

Partners in Policymaking| 25 yrs of Making Government Work

Giraffes teach their young how to stick out their necks

Giraffes teach their young to stick out their necks

“Partner in Policymaking graduates are members of the Giraffe Society–they are willing to stick their necks out.” Ed Roberts

Partners in Policymaking Celebrates 25 Years: 1987-2012

It is popular to complain, “We need to get rid of government programs–they don’t work.” But if you are a parent or person with a disability, you know you can’t do it alone. You know you need help to survive.

And, maybe the question we need to ask is: “How can I get involved and make government programs work better…for myself and others?”

If you are struggling to find services and build a network of support for yourself or your young child, I highly recommend Partners in Policymaking. It is the best resource I know.

Partners in Policymaking is a program that not only works–it teaches parents, self-advocates and policymakers HOW to make government programs work.

In 1987, Dr. Colleen Wieck of the Minnesota Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council created Partners in Policymaking.

For 25 years the goal is still to create a win-win partnership between people who need and use services and the people who make public policy.

With 21,000 Partners in Policymaking graduates in the United States, and 2,000 Partners graduates internationally, parents, self-advocates and policymakers are changing the world.

Why Partners?

Partners is designed for adults with disabilities and families of young children, but some programs expand that target group.

The goal of Partners is to teach “best practices” and the skills necessary to “change systems.”

State-of-the-art information gives Partners the big picture, allows them to dream big, and gives them strategies to turn their dreams into reality.

Partners participants become competent to change their own lives, and then to work for changes that will affect others with disabilities at local, state, and national levels. Partners graduates are expected to be agents of long term change. They learn there are no “quick fixes.” They are trained to achieve long term successes.

Who are the “Policymakers”?

Policymakers are the people in government who are elected or appointed to make decisions about rules, regulations and resources. They legislate on school boards, city councils, county and state agencies and governments, federal congressional legislators, and others who shape disability issues at all levels of government.

Some Partners graduates have become elected and appointed public officials.

Partners in Policymaking is the Instruction Book

How many times have you heard parents wish, “If only I had an instruction book”?

Partners in Policymaking IS the instruction Book.

Here is a video that explains the facts about the Partner’s Program from the United Kingdom.


Texas, 20 Years of Partners in Policymaking (2006) “It is the Power of the Dream that brings us here.” (You will love this song.)

New Classes Forming Now: The Power of the Dream

Find the Partners contact person for your state/country.

Find out the target audience for the Partners Course and if you are eligible–sign up.

If you are not eligible, see if you can still be part of the Partners network.

Everyone can take the online courses.

Here is the Homepage for the Partners in Policymaking Website. You can find contact information for where you live, you can find online courses, you can find Parallels in Time: A History of People with Disabilities and a wealth of other resources. But most importantly, you will be able to network with others who are sharing your journey.

Partners in Policymaking


Any success stories about Partners? Any success stories about partnerships between advocacy groups and local leaders? Does this sound like a good idea? Who would you suggest for speakers on state-of-the-art? Do you think the power of the dream can bring people together?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward

All my best,

Related Posts:

Ed Roberts and the Yet to be Disabled

The Power of One

Aaron Ulrich: Dream Plan 4

Remarkable Parents who Never Give Up

“I Need a Job, Not a Government Plan”

This is Video Week.

So far we’ve seen:

The Values of Inclusion: From Down Under
By Heather Simmons at the Institute of Inclusion in Sydney Australia.

More than just a Graduation Speech
By Jeremy Sicle-Kira, a young man with the label of autism who uses an augmented communication system.

Today’s Feature for all you country music fans is from the Ohio Chapter of People First and was shown during the Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC) Conference in 2012.

I loved this video, the message, the music, the participation, the fact that the People First group made the video and presented it to the “professionals”–I mean, who is teaching who?

Thoughts on Jobs and the Role of Government

Every day I watch my son, Aaron who has the label of autism, as he sits and loses skills he had in high school. We still have the dream plan, we still have the hope, but we need help to make it happen.

Why is that?

I know it is very popular to bash the government. “Not a government plan”, right? But is that what we really want?

The model programs, grants, initiatives for work, and job coaches of ten years ago are gone-zap.

New RSC priorities and guidelines, cutbacks and more cutbacks on funds have dried up and forced us back to depending on the charity, kindness and pity of others.

It’s NOT a matter of not knowing what to do

We know how to support people in the workplace. It is difficult surely, but we know how to get people jobs.

Special Education and Rehabilitation Services has decades of research and model projects. Marc Gold, Lou Brown and hundreds of skilled teachers and professionals have shown us the direction and specific skills we need to get jobs.

Unfortunately, because there is no mandate for adult services (like public laws which require children to go to school), there are also no requirements for adult day programs. No certification for the people in charge (GED prefered instead of licensed teachers), no functional or community based curriculum, no related services like speech, physical or occupational therapists. Adults are on their own. And there is no due process rights for parents/guardians to hold people accountable. We are told to find another program if we are unhappy.

So, what are our alternatives?

We have to keep believing. Keep telling others about the vision of a job, or if not paid, then meaningful work/volunteer experiences.

Our young people have to remind us not to give up. They have to keep in our face singing, shouting and even misbehaving.

Certainly we need the government. And we need those government plans to be more than just pieces of paper–we need them to support each individual so they can at least partially participate in having a job.

Comments: Any thoughts on “I need a job?” Any other videos you want to recommend to our community?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward

All my best, Mary

Related Posts

Functional Curriculum| Use it or Lose it

Busy vs. Bored Life

Remember this video:

Better than Church I still love this one, don’t you want to just sing along?

Want to be a Better Writer and Blogger?

Want to tell your story?

Want to tell your story?

Writing and Blogging Course| A Game Changer

Want a Writing Coach to help solve your writing and blogging problems?

James Chartrand is an A-List Blogger and experienced Writing Coach and Instructor. You have heard me talk about her many times (yes, James is her pen name).

I have learned so much from her in her award winning blog, Men with Pens, (and yes, my friends who are romance writers the word is “pens”).

The reason I like her is because she cares. She has values we can relate to like wanting to help writers of all ability levels, wanting the next generation of writers to write well (and that means story structure, character development, point of view, sales and business writing, and writing for change).

Plus, James is successful: Writer’s Digest named Men with Pens one of the best blogs for writers; it has over 40,000 subscribers; and she knows how to run a successful online business (and actually make money).

Do you feel like there is so much to learn and wish it was all in one place?

Do you wish you had the confidence to tell your own story?

Does it take you hours to write a blog post?

Do you feel like you’re not good enough?

Do you have a book shelf full of books on writing and blogging?

Do you attend workshops and conferences on How to Write?

Do you want to write guest posts that actually get accepted?

Do you feel like you are wasting your time and getting no comments?

Come and Join Me as we both Up our Writing Game and tell the story only we can tell.

So, instead of precious time driving to expensive conferences this 10 week course allows you:

Learn on your own schedule–new lessons are available each Monday and Thursday.

Each lesson has an assignment which gets individual attention.

The Community Forum allows you to ask questions, meet with other students, interact with James, and submit your writing for critique.

Damn Fine Words“>Damn Fine Words

Damn Fine Words is a Bargain

Damn Fine Words (Click Here For Course Information) affiliate link

Damn Fine Words starts May 17th

I invite you to join me in the Damn Fine Words writing course with the amazing James Chartrand as we learn how to become better writers and bloggers.

So many people want to give up on telling their stories. Don’t do it. Take this step with me and we’ll figure it out together.

Plus, we get to say “Damn”. Like in “Give a Damn”, “Dare to give a damn”…

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward