"Nothing about us without us" is at the core of the disability rights movement, and active participation in policy making by people with disabilities is the driving force behind continued advances in inclusion, integration, and equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
However, “policy speak” — including jargon, acronyms, and obscure legal references — can make it very difficult for people to understand information that affects their lives and effectively leave many people out of important policy discussions. This can disproportionately affect people with intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and limited English proficiency.
As part of our celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we wanted to share a couple of resources created to overcome that barrier and empower more people to participate in disability employment policy-making:
- "What is Employment First?" is a short video created by the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration (which is both our Research and Training Center on Community Living and a University Center for Excellence in Development Disabilities Education, Research and Service). It offers a concise, plain-language description of the Employment First movement and approach.
- "Real Work For Real Pay: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Employment Policy" is a new toolkit developed by the by ACL's Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center. The guide explains the "Employment First" approach in an "Easy Read" format that uses simple language, pictures, and increased white space to maximize accessibility.
In case you missed it, ACL’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month webpage can point you to a collection of NDEAM materials and disability employment resources. ACL also will be sharing stories, research, and resources all month long through this listserv, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages.