This blog focuses on success stories, ideas, supports, services and many more areas in which we can empower people with different abilities in having equal access to the world. Everyone is welcome to join in this conversation. It includes research, experience and opinion. We need to talk about these areas and continue to look at ways to do things better. We have not been doing any of this long enough to be satisfied with what we have. Complacency is not an option for anyone.
It has been 16 years since Gunnar Dybwad & Hank Bersani published New Voices .
This is a book (originally published in 1996) about the self-advocacy movement by people with disabilities.
The New Voices provided much needed direction across many topics. Shouldn't the
people who know best lead? For people to become leaders we have to begin
developing these skills in our schools. It starts in preschool and has to take
flight in high school, especially during the transition years. It does not matter
if the person uses spoken language, graduates with a diploma and future degrees
or is totally dependent on others to meet basic needs. I still hear how
"they" really do not know what is best. I hear about how we spend too
much money on people who do not contribute. These are of course falsehoods
which are perpetuated by society. As teachers, mentors, professionals and family members we must push much harder at facilitating the development of skills to create ongoing generations of "New Voices". Leadership can be many things. What we need to remember is to never stand in front of anyone. We must stand beside those we serve, working tirelessly each day so that a new voice will be heard tomorrow.