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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Media Forum

2. Even the Playing Field

[Shamus O'Meara - OLWK] Thank you self-advocates for being here and lending your voice to just a… what can be a really great dialogue, I hope.

So I don't come to this issue by choice. Our family deals with an issue of a loved one with a developmental disability, and so it's very much a family issue for us. And no matter how many times I… I speak about these issues, it's all…it's always very personal.

And maybe that's the way it should be. But it doesn't always feel that way when you deal with the media. It doesn't always feel that way when you deal with the State of Minnesota or various counties.

And I struggle with that as a parent, I attempt to even the playing field for people who have voices, but who for whatever reason aren't being heard, or understood, or conveyed in the right way.

And so the media in…in my view has a responsibility to help all of you, to help all of us, to help the public understand and appreciate the issues that we deal with as self-advocates, as families, as citizens of this country, handling and… and talking about issues, about people and families with developmental disabilities.

So I really encourage a frank dialogue and I really encourage the self-advocates to ask questions today.

Thank you.

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.