The Latest from Seen and Heard: IDD Community

This month, James taught us about:

Recovery

– How relationships for survivors can be hard.

Unsupportive Family

– Why survivors might be afraid to tell their families about their assault.

– How it feels when your family doesn’t believe or support you.

– Healing from a broken family relationship.

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#SexualAssaultSurvivor #IDD #txcdd

See You at The Arc’s National Convention

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been invited to present at The Arc’s National Convention in Denver, CO. The conference takes place November 10-12, 2022, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

Our session is called Building Better Lives Together: Peer Support that Works! We’ll be sharing some of the great work being done by peer support specialists at our Beaumont pilot site. Senior Peer Support Specialists Lisa Simmons and Ashley Sattler and Peer Support Specialist Katie Sheffield will lead the team. Hope to see you there!

Self-advocates with IDD and Mental Health Needs Wanted

Texas map

· Would you like to help us test our new website Texas Complex Mental Health Needs (CMHN)?

· Do you live in Texas?

· Do you have mental health needs?

· Would you like to get gift cards for being a tester?

If you do, please fill out this form.

We will ask you to answer some questions. If you are picked, you will test our website. You will be asked for your feedback. Your feedback is important.

Thank you!

Help amplify self-advocate voices!

Our Seen and Heard: IDD Community team has submitted proposals for SXSW and SXSWEdu 2023. Community voting is an important part of getting picked. Please support us by clicking the links below, voting thumbs up, and leaving a comment. Comments help evaluators know that this topic is important and interesting. Voting closes August 20, so vote soon. Thanks!

SXSW: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/121432

SXSWEdu: https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/121420

#txcdd#DisabilityAwareness#advocacy#SXSW#SXSWedu

Handling Grief – A Personal Story

Person supporting another person

James Meadours is a self-advocate from San Antonio, Texas. He talked to his friend Cindy Burrow about grief. We hope others can learn from James and handle their own grief.

“I was shocked when I found out my uncle was in the hospital. And I didn’t really understand what happened to him because no one explained. I thought he was healthy. I was so glad I was in my aunt and uncle’s life. That was a hard loss. Since I reconnected with them it was one of the best things that happened because I have someone to support my work.”

James was upset because his cousins did not want him to travel to visit his uncle. “I think they were trying to protect me because they thought I’d be upset and emotional and they’d have to support me. But I wanted to be there to support them. Because of what happened to my mom. They thought I would be very upset because it was similar.” (James’s mother died suddenly when he was a teenager.)

James has not told many people about his loss. “I think I’m afraid some people may not respect my boundaries. They want to give me a hug and stuff like that. Some people aren’t close like real friends.”

Cindy asked James if he thought it was hard for people to respect how others want to grieve. James answered “Some people want people to grieve the way they would. Like if someone would want a hug that’s what they want to give. But they don’t ask permission or listen to me when I tell them what I need. They don’t understand what boundaries are and what being a true friend is.”

James has some advice for people who now have to grieve alone. He suggests people write to share their feelings. He also says to find a person they could trust to talk to. “Really respect your boundaries when you tell them not to share what you say with others. James said to talk about your feelings. “Don’t let it eat inside of you. When my mother passed away, I didn’t have anyone and that was hard.”

James’ advice to people who are grieving is to listen to what the person needs. Let people know what happened to your loved one or close friend. Take the time to tell them and help them. “I have a friend whose roommate passed away, and people didn’t take the time to tell him and help him. I think people didn’t know how to help because he does not use words. But we need to be honest and take time to help people.”

Sneak Peek!

Seen and Heard: IDD Community

We are excited to share a new part of our work. We are making videos about sexual assault prevention and recovery. Our videos are made by and for people with IDD who are survivors or just want to learn about staying safe. Listen to our team co-leader, James Meadours, talk about why this work is so important.

This is just a preview, but we’ll be posting more videos in the near future. Be sure to follow us so you don’t miss out:

New Publication!

After a year of hard work, we have published Sexual Assault Prevention and Response for People with IDD: A Gap Analysis Framework. This publication describes challenges and opportunities related to:

-Risk Factors
-Awareness
-Prevention
-Reporting
-First Response
-Adjudication
-Recovery

People with IDD are at a far greater risk of sexual assault than others. We hope our work will help those in the field begin to make a difference. Check out this and other publications on our new Find Resources page.

Special thanks to our amazing research team!

Photos of Cynthia Burrow, Leigh Ann Davis, James Meadours, Alisa Miller, John Rochford, and Sarah VanMattson