The Latest from Seen and Heard: IDD Community

Logan talking about flirting.

This month we learned about:

Hiding Sexual Assault

James shared problems he had talking about his sexual assault. He was afraid to talk to his parents or others. He felt scared and overwhelmed.


Our ally, Logan, shared his thoughts on flirting.  Logan talks about how you can tell if someone is flirting or just being friendly.

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#IDD #Txcdd #Neurodiversity #Flirting

Texas Partners in Policymaking Now Accepting Applications

Texas Partners in Policymaking (Partners) is now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 program year. The application period opened on Jan. 26, 2023, and will close on March 25, 2023.

Partners is an innovative statewide leadership development program for people with developmental disabilities (DD) and family members of people with DD. During the training program, participants learn from local and national experts about topics such as:

  • community living
  • disability history
  • employment
  • inclusive education
  • the Texas Legislature, and more

Participants will also learn tactics and strategies to advocate for disability issues and impact policy change. In addition, participants complete a capstone project of their choosing that impacts their community. 

Graduates often serve on boards, councils, task forces, and advisory committees. Some run for elected office. Partners aims to advance systems change — creating, working toward, and achieving a vision of shared values regarding people with disabilities in communities across Texas. 

The program consists of six two-day training sessions held monthly from September to April. There is no cost to participate in the program and Texas residents are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 25, 2023.To learn more about the program, visit the Apply webpage on the Texas Partners in Policymaking website. For additional updates, you can follow Partners on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

The Latest from Seen and Heard: IDD Community

Picture of James Meadours

This month James taught us about:

Feeling Not Worthy of Life

  • Feeling like you aren’t worthy of living
  • Feeling that life isn’t worth anything
  • Not feeling guilty about what happened in your life

Negative Ways of Coping

  • Negative ways of coping with loss
  • Not having the help or support you need
  • Helping when a person experiences a lot of trauma

If you are part of the LGBTQ community and are feeling like hurting yourself, you can call, text, or visit The Trevor Project any time for help:

Have you seen this website Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Assault? They have lots of information about sexual abuse and assault. If you want to learn more about the types of sexual assault, learn how you can stay safe, or get resources, they have it here:

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#IDD #Txcdd #SexualAssaultSurvivor #Neurodiversity

The Latest from Seen and Heard: IDD Community

James talking about being afraid

This month James taught us about:

Finally Telling What Happened

  • Talking to a woman from a rape crisis center
  • Feeling safe about sharing his experience and feelings 

Hiding Sexual Assault

  • Talking about hiding his sexual assault from his mother

Did you know RAINN can help people know what some of their options are after a sexual assault? Go here to learn more: 

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#IDD #Txcdd #SexualAssaultSurvivor #Neurodiversity

The Latest from Seen and Heard: IDD Community

This month, James taught us about:

Let Loved Ones Challenge Themselves

  • How families can encourage people with IDD to challenge themselves
  • Let them figure out who they are

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#IDD #Txcdd #SexualAssaultSurvivor #Neurodiversity

The Latest from Seen and Heard: IDD Community

And I was trying so hard to make friends but instead they used me

This month, James taught us about:


  • How hard it can be to make friends
  • How not being able to see friends outside of school hurts

Recovery Activities

  • How creative writing helped James to be more strong as a person
  • How creative writing helped James to write out his feelings
  • James’ ability to write and share his thoughts with others

We are thrilled to congratulate James Meadours! James has been appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID). We can’t think of a more deserving self-advocate.

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#SexualAssaultSurvivor #IDD #txcdd

The Latest from Seen and Heard: IDD Community

This month, James taught us about:

Sexual Assault 

– How it feels to be sexually assaulted as a teenager.

– How hard it is to talk to people about sexual assault.

– Learning to stand up for yourself.

Family Support

– How families can support sexual assault survivors.

-Why families should become good listeners.

– How families can help sexual assault survivors get counseling and other services.

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#SexualAssaultSurvivor #IDD #txcdd

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!

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.”

Seeking Virtual Coach for Peer Support Project

Our first pilot was a success. Now we want to expand!

We are seeking a Virtual Coach. The coach will recruit and match new peer support specialists and clients. They will help peer support specialists and clients fill out their applications online. They will help train peer support specialists online. They will help peer support specialists set up and hold client meetings. They will make sure all paperwork—surveys, timesheets, etc.—is completed on time.

The coach could be a staff member from an organization such as a local ARC, LIDDA, behavioral health service center, managed care provider, etc. Our project would support a part of that staff member’s salary. Or this person could be independent. They could be an experienced self-advocacy chapter leader, service provider, even a parent or caregiver for people with IDD.

The person must have experience helping people with IDD plan the lives they want and get the services they need. They must have great technology and mentoring skills. They must very organized so that data is collected on time and with accuracy.

This person will work on the project for 10 months, from July 2021 through April 2022. The job should take about 20 hours per week. Some months will have more hours, some fewer. This is a contract position. Please contact us if you are interested or if your organization wants to get involved.

This is an exciting project with a promising future. A successful pilot may be expanded in the 2022-2023 project year. Get involved today!

P.S.—We will be recruiting for new peer support specialists and clients in the next few months. Stay tuned for that announcement!