Free Gifts from Our Time at SXSW EDU!

James and Cindy shared thoughts and free tools at SXSW EDU. Their session was called “Participatory Research: Empowering Self-Advocates to Lead.” It took place Tuesday, March 5 at the Austin Convention Center.

James talked about the unique talents and lived experience of people with IDD. He shared how to help self-advocates work on projects about their lives. This benefits self-advocates and the people they work with.

Visit to join our mailing list and download these free tools:

  • SXSW EDU 2024 Presentation
  • Know Your Worth! A Game About Getting Paid for Your Work
  • Self-Advocate Support Checklist

Don’t Miss Us at SXSW EDU!

James Meadours will present at SXSW EDU next week. His session is called “Participatory Research: Empowering Self-Advocates to Lead.” He will share strategies for supporting self-advocates as they work on projects. His story will inspire and entertain you!

The session takes place Tuesday, 3/5 from 4:30-5 PM. We will be in Ballroom G of the Austin Convention Center. Be sure to “favorite” our session in your schedule!

If you can’t make the session, you can still download the free resources here and on the “Our Resources” page.

#SeatAtTheTable #SXSWEDU2024 #Neurodiversity #IDD

Great News! We Are SXSW-Bound!

We have been hard at work on our Participatory Action Research project. And it has paid off in a big way! Our team will be represented at the 2024 SXSW EDU conference. James Meadours will speak about hiring people with IDD to work on projects about their lives. We will also share some free tools for people who come to our session.

Our session is called, “Participatory Research: Empowering Self-Advocates to Lead.” It will take place Tuesday, March 5, from 4:30-5:00 PM. It will happen at the Austin Convention Center. Learn more here.

#SeatAtTheTable #SXSWEDU2024 #Neurodiversity #IDD

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!

A Roadmap to Mental Health

For the past year, we have worked hard to learn as much as we can about the mental health needs of people with IDD. We are finally ready to publish our results: Complex Mental Health Needs of People with IDD: A Gap Analysis Framework and its Texas-specific supplement. To create these works, we analyzed hundreds of sources. We organized our findings into key mental health domains:

– Awareness
– Access
– Diagnosis
– Quality of Care
– Treatment

We also looked at the special ways people experience mental healthcare, including people of different races, incarcerated people, those living in rural areas, and more. We addressed special issues like Covid-19, family stress, and trauma/PTSD. We also found resources, organizations, and tools available in Texas to help people with IDD get good mental healthcare. And we showed where there are still many gaps in service.

We hope this work will shine a light on this important issue. People with IDD have more common and more serious mental health care challenges than others, and they need support now. We want everyone-policy makers, legislators, researchers, practitioners, and self-advocates-to use what we’ve learned to fill the gaps.

You can download both publications below. Please share this post far and wide to let everyone know about these valuable resources.

Special thanks to the project team members and self-advocates who helped create the framework: Charles Lee Baird, Cynthia Burrow, Eduardo Hernandez, Alisa Miller, and Sarah VanMattson. And huge thanks to the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities for funding our work.