2019 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together our constituents to share resources and success stories, learn about field-driven best practices, and network within a community engaged in shared values. The Conference is attended by passionate leaders, experts, and advocates from every corner of the disability community. Conference attendees are influential in their fields and communities, and play an important role in the provision of services and supports for the millions of individuals and organizations around the world; and include professors and researchers from leading institutions; those involved in local, state, and federal governments and public policy; special and general educators, and school administrators; self-advocates, adult service providers; students, family members, and many others.  This year’s conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us that equity, opportunity, and inclusion relies on the input of broad perspectives and experiences.
Back To Schedule
Friday, December 6 • 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Advocating for Kids with Disabilities

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

This presentation is a combination of my personal story of unwittingly becoming a political advocate for my severely disabled daughter, and a framework for parents who want to start advocating themselves. What I've learned is that Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities is greatly facilitated when the people who are a part of those communities actively speak up. We cant expect anyone else to stand up for us and our children when they don't understand the complexities of our lives and the endless stream of barriers that people with disabilities face. We cannot expect people who are not members of our community to understand our needs and implement policies that ensure diversity and inclusion, when they don't truly understand how their decisions affect our lives. I knew that if I didn't stand up and fight for my daughter's rights and needs, no one would, or if they did, they wouldn't have the expertise or experience to understand how their policies affect our community. I had no prior experience advocating politically until the massive efforts to undermine the ACA began. My daughter's life depends on access to healthcare, and so do the lives of many others. I felt like I had to speak up. Without any experience at all, I started speaking up anywhere that I could. And when I started speaking up, people were listening and responding. My voice was being heard. The purpose of this presentation is to encourage others with no political advocacy experience, even if they feel that they are not qualified to speak up, that they are most certainly qualified. They are THE experts on how public policy affects their loved ones. And they should be the ones who are educating the legislators who are enacting laws and policies that affect the disabled community. I will provide personal examples of advocacy and show the results of my efforts. My daughter' s story has been shared on its own in Washington and as part of the Little Lobbyists efforts. I was asked to do an online presentation for the Hope for HIE Facebook group by the Hope for HIE Foundation's President to illustrate my efforts for other parents and give them a framework and tools to be able to become advocates for their children.

avatar for Debra Curran

Debra Curran

Parent Advocate
If someone had told me 5 or 6 years ago that I would become an active advocate, I would have laughed at them. Well, here it is today, and I unwittingly became a vocal advocate for disability rights when fighting to maintain my daughter's right to access to healthcare (through the... Read More →

Friday December 6, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm MST
Akimel Ballroom 3