It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Monday, March 23, 2009

HB281 is now SB907

The bill I submitted written testimony for has passed the house and is now being heard in the senate tomorrow afternoon. I will be schlepping to Annapolis to testify in person this time because it is on a better day of the week. This will be my first time taking paratransit somewhere that far. It could be interesting... If you care at all, my revamped testimony is below, and if you live in Maryland, find your state senator, contact them and tell them to pass it.


My name is Cheryl *censored*. I am a senior Family Studies and Community Development Major at Towson University and am looking forward to spending my life mentoring children with disabilities after graduation. I am here today in strong support of SB907.

I have been involved in disability rights/awareness for the past 9 years. I started speaking to groups when I was just 15 years old, through a program run out of Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery Exceptional Leaders. After high school I continued seeking out speaking opportunities on my own. I have spoken to children as young as 9, and have done several professional training workshops.

I have chosen to work with children with disabilities because I've witnessed first hand the high comorbidity rate between having a visible disability and depression. It breaks my heart to hear teens and peers talk about feeling worthless just because they can't drive or have some scars from surgery. It doesn't have to be this way, people don't have to focus just on what they consider to be their negative aspects, although isn't that human nature? Doesn't EVERYONE?

SB907's emphasis on educating K-12 students will help ALL students, not just students with disabilities, because the curriculum will help students to learn that there are many factors that make people who they are. It will also help to foster a sense of pride in students with disabilities by introducing them to famous people who are just like them—something I wish someone had done for me when I was a kid.

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that SB907 places a significant emphasis on post-secondary education, something I have focused on in recent years. Family studies majors graduate prepared to work in a variety of human services jobs. Many of my fellow graduates will end up working front lines with children and/or families touched by disabilities, and after interacting with them and hearing a free association with the word disability, I was more then frightened by my vision of them interacting with disabled clients in the field. I knew my department wasn’t doing a good job preparing graduates to work with this population so I took it upon myself to undertake a very long and overwhelming independent study. For about a year, I poured my heart and soul into creating a three hour disability awareness workshop for 120 Towson University students enrolled in various Family Studies classes.

Preliminary data from that initial workshop shows overwhelmingly how well it worked. Students responded that they learned things such as disability etiquette, the impact of disability on the individual and family, and the need to view each person as an individual, among other things. The workshop was viewed by the Family Studies Department and other associated Towson University departments (Disability Support and Towson University Outreach) as such a success that it is offered as an independent study to a senior Family Studies student annually. The Oct 2010 workshop will be the 3rd annual. It is my greatest wish that disability will start to become included within lectures covering cultural competency and that something along the lines of my workshop can be replicated on all of the campuses across the state and attended by every student in a human services major.

Please support SB907. Your support means a lot to everyone that is, has been, or will be touched by disability in their lifetime.


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