Everyone is beautiful in his/her own way. I have seen kids with disabilities exhibit more determination, more fight, and more guts than I could ever possess.
My greatest regret is that it took so many years to realize that I was an equal and very important partner in all decisions concerning my son.
Partners is the most impressive and dynamic movement on behalf of people with developmental disabilities to ever occur.
Partners will be the driving force behind full inclusion for all.
24 Karen Lane
Monroe, LA 71203
September 2, 1992
Dr. Colleen Wieck
Minnesota Governor's Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities
300 Centennial Office Building
658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
The Summer Training Institute in Minnesota was wonderful: I wish all the LA 1991 Partners had been able to attend. It was such a rejuvenating experience. I truly believe that we need annual reunions to bring us up to date on legislation, new services, etc., and just to pump up our motivation! The faculty for the institute were very motivating. It was great to see Fran Smith, Ed Roberts and Sue Swenson again. Deborah McFadden is a wonderful speaker. We are indeed well represented in Washington.
My participation in Partners made me realize the importance of public awareness and understanding of persons with developmental disabilities. Prior to the movie "Rain Man", there was very little public awareness of Autism. My first goal after Partners was to enhance public awareness of Autism and to increase my community's understanding of this developmental disability and therefore facilitate acceptance of persons with Autism. The establishment of a local chapter of the Autism Society of America seemed a logical stop to provide future support and resources for persons with autism in this area. Armed with knowledge gained through Partners and after several months of planning, I began my campaign to establish a local ASA chapter in February 1992. On May 4, 1992, with fourteen charter members, the Northeast Louisiana Chapter of the Autism Society of America became a reality. I now serve as president of this group.
Shortly after completing my Partners training, I was invited to attend a parent training session by Project PROMPT (Parents Reaching Out - Model for Parent Training). As a result of this contact, I became involved in efforts to establish a state-wide network of family-directed resource centers, specifically for families of persons with developmental disabilities. It is the mission of this Family Resource Network to enable and empower Louisiana families of special needs through a coordinated network of resources, support, and information exchange. An experienced and informed family of a person with a developmental disability is an extremely valuable resource to the family of another person with a developmental disability. Such support and understanding are not available any where else. I am now serving as chairman of the Board of Directors for Families Helping Families of Northeast Louisiana, as our Region VIII resource center is now called.