Disability Rights California organizes several educational events a week and participates in community events held by other advocates working to connect with underserved ethnic, monolingual and low-income populations. Last year, many of our events, especially those about the rights of people with disabilities, attracted 300-400 families and resulted in requests for additional training.
In February our San Diego office collaborated with 36 other non-profits and agencies to provide a fair of services for and consultations with military families. Our presentations focused on self-advocacy groups that veterans are welcome to join and on services for and rights of children in special education, including autism and Attention Deficit Disorder. Around 30-40 families attended the disability sessions.
On March 22 and April 26, the Oakland and Los Angeles regional offices combined forces with our Office of Clients’ Rights Advocates to present the first comprehensive video training for Japanese-speaking parents of children in special education. Parents from both cities attended and were able to use the video format to ask questions of staff in both offices. More than 30 parents attended the training using the manual, Special Education: Rights and Responsibilities. Special education rights were also the focus of:
- a March training in Spanish, held in Salinas together with a parents’ group, Padres Compartiendo. Around 40 family members from Monterrey and Santa Cruz counties participated;
- a May training in Mandarin and English, held in Oakland together with a Chinese family group, the Organization of Special Needs Families; and
- a March training held within the California Conference on Indian Education, a two-day event attended by over 400 tribal members and allies.
Spanish-language events continue to be the most frequently requested and we also supported events held by Fiesta Educativa, the leading group for Spanish-speaking parents of children in special education, as well as a celebration of exceptional families in Kern County in May that attracted 320 participants from the San Joaquin Valley.
Other popular 2008 advocacy events that we supported through workshops and presentations were the Respectability Conference that brought over 400 advocates and allies to Los Angeles in March; and the People First Conference in June in Sacramento. This is one of the premiere events for the developmental disability community and many of the 350 participants attended our workshops on “Your Individual Program Plan (IPP) in Tight Budget Times.”