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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

Free Peer Support Still Available

If you receive or are on the interest list for Medicaid Waivers in Texas, our Peer Support Specialists can help you:

– Make a plan for your life.
– Solve problems and make decisions to stay on track.
– Find services and supports to help you reach your goals.

Service is free of charge. Here are the steps:

1. Fill out an application that tells about you.
2. Then, we will match you with a peer support specialist.
3. Starting in November, you will meet with your peer support specialist and their coach on Zoom. Each meeting will be 45 minutes.
4. If it’s a good match, you can have more meetings.

Click the link above to fill out the application. You can get help from a trusted person if you need it. You can also get help from our Peer Support Coach by clicking this link and emailing him:

Email Virtual Pilot Coach

Fill out your application soon–space is limited.

Please share this information with anyone you think might want free peer support!

People Who Communicate Without Speech: New Info on Sexual Assault Prevention & Response

We are proud to share a new white paper. It describes the needs of people who communicate without speech. Their needs are different for sexual assault prevention and response. Many therapists want to work with people who communicate without speech. They may not know how. We hope this paper will help.

We learned:

– It is hard to know when people who communicate without speech have been assaulted. The people around them must watch for signs.
– Behavior might change. The person might avoid others. They might have new fears.
– Sometimes these behaviors are misunderstood. People might miss the real cause.
– Supporting people who communicate without speech is hard.
– Therapists must help the person trust them. They must believe the person.
– Therapies must be person-centered. Some that might work well are art therapies and EMDR.

We hope this white paper will help therapists work better with clients who communicate without speech. Please share this information!

Get Free Help Building Your Life!

If you receive or are on the interest list for Medicaid Waivers in Texas, our Peer Support Specialists can help you:

– Make a plan for your life.
– Solve problems and make decisions to stay on track.
– Find services and supports to help you reach your goals.

Service is free of charge. Here are the steps:

1. Fill out an application that tells about you.
2. Then, we will match you with a peer support specialist.
3. Starting in November, you will meet with your peer support specialist and their coach on Zoom. Each meeting will be 45 minutes.
4. If it’s a good match, you can have more meetings.

Click the link above to fill out the application. You can get help from a trusted person if you need it. You can also get help from our Virtual Pilot Coach by clicking this link and emailing him:

Email Virtual Pilot Coach

Fill out your application soon–space is limited.

Please share this information with anyone you think might want free peer support!