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Advocates for Iowans with Developmental Disabilities Gather to Inspire Change

Among the topics being discussed at the conference will be alternatives to public transportation and how to find a transportation advocate. (Steve Buissinne/Pixabay)
Among the topics being discussed at the conference will be alternatives to public transportation and how to find a transportation advocate. (Steve Buissinne/Pixabay)
September 20, 2017

MORAVIA, Iowa – Iowans with a passion for the rights of those with developmental disabilities are gathered in Moravia to discuss topics including new state policies impacting their lives, money management and coping with the challenges inherent with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Rik Shannon, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, says he hopes the three-day "Make Your Mark Self-Advocacy Conference" achieves one over-arching purpose.

"It mobilizes Iowans with disabilities as advocates, and as included and contributing members of the communities that they live in," he says.

Approximately 350,000 Iowans live with some form of disability. Shannon says there is strength in those numbers. He argues that if those individuals harness their collective voices, they can more effectively advocate for change that allows them to live independently and effectively.

Shannon says they'll look at new policies and regulations that define where it's permissible for states to pay for Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services.

"Others of our sessions are intended to build or enhance skills that contribute to successful community living and, as a result of that, greater independence," he adds.

Shannon says some of those skills are very basic but vital. The ability to cope with stress and to build confidence are among them.

Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - IA