ADVOCATE FOR INDEPENDENCE
Empowering People Through Advocacy

May 2021
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A monthly publication from our Disability Rights and Advocacy Specialist,
Patrick Ober, J.D., Ph.D.
Hello again, CILO supporters and Disability Advocates! Below is our monthly highlight of advocacy and policy issues to know and learn about related to people with disabilities and independent living.


Parenting in a World with Disabilities
First things first – Happy Belated Mother’s Day! And a particularly Happy Mother’s Day to my own mother, Karen Troup. Raising three boys, one of whom has a disability, maintaining a professional career in special education, and living life with a positive outlook that imprinted on her children (and everyone else that knows her) is no easy feat. To her and all mothers that has or is currently navigating this world, thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and will do in the future!
For parents with disabilities or parents who have a child with a disability, a new child can have you doubting yourself, your abilities, or how you can successfully navigate this next huge stage of your (and your family’s) lives. This month, I want to highlight some resources that can help parents with disabilities, as well as parents of a child with a disability. Supporting families with disabilities early on in their journeys can be incredibly helpful in promoting empowerment, contribute towards independent living and lifelong successes, and help individuals and families become more confident and knowledgeable whenever life presents a new obstacle or challenge.

For Parents of a Child with Disabilities:  
If We Knew Then
Hosted by parents of a child with Down syndrome, Liam. “When Liam was born we didn’t know very much about Down syndrome and most of the information we did have didn’t seem very hopeful and positive. This podcast aims to share honest and useful conversations about supports, therapies, education and society as it pertains to Down syndrome advocacy and parenting.”
Navigating Life as We Know It
“Navigating Live as we Know It” seeks to build an educational and entertaining way to help the people around those with disabilities better find the way to live their best, most self-determined life possible, and how to manage the challenges of the systems. Podcast episodes discuss disability financial planning, advocacy advice, life and career planning, and more.

As writer Heather Morgan aptly states, becoming a parent of a child with a disability is “a fantastic journey — one you never asked for, signed up for, or (probably) trained for.” Heather provides fantastic advice on some of the things she wishes “hadn’t taken me quite so long to learn as a parent.”

For Parents with Disabilities:

Unexceptional Moms

In the Unexceptional Moms Podcast, parents Ellen Stumbo and Erin Loraine discuss challenges and successes of being a parent with a disability, as well as raising a child with a disability. Episodes cover a variety of topics such as traveling with children with disabilities, addressing mental health needs, and “embracing our limits” as parents with disabilities.

While that podcast may have been tongue-in-cheekily titled “unexceptional moms,” Alaina Leary is very definitive in her belief of just how “exceptional” moms with disabilities are and can be. As a woman raised by a mother with a disability, Alaina shares with Good Housekeeping Magazine how “despite the challenges, kids raised by one or more disabled parents often benefit immensely from the experience.”

Are you a new parent and have a disability? Allie Schmidt and countless other parents have been there and know how daunting life can seem. In this article, Allie and 40 other mothers share their advice, lessons, and encouragement for new parents that have a chronic illness or disability. 


FREE Zoom Series on Financial Planning for People
with Disabilities

Do you wish you were better at saving money? Do you find it difficult to afford services, supports, or other disability-related expenses? Have you or your family talked about how you will pay for support services as you get older?

HELP IS HERE! The Center for Independent Living Options is excited to announce a FREE, 4-part webinar series presented by Synergy Wealth Solutions on financial planning basics for people with disabilities!

The finance professionals at Synergy Wealth Solutions have worked with many clients with disabilities over the years to help them get financially organized and learn how to save money and plan for paying for future expenses. Now YOU have the opportunity to learn from the experts, FOR FREE!

Please view the attached flyer for details on the presentations. To register for one or more of the webinars, please email Patrick Ober, Disability Rights and Advocacy Specialist. You do not want to miss this amazing opportunity to improve your money management NOW and plan for your future!

Recent Legislative and Policy Issues for Disability Advocates to Follow

One of the major bills being debated in the Ohio legislature this year is if and how voting procedures should be changed. This past month, House Bill 294, known as the “Election Modernization and Security Act,” was introduced by one its lead sponsors, representative Bill Seitz of Cincinnati. The bill contains provisions that could both make some aspects of the voting process easier for people with disabilities (allow for online absentee ballot requests, information submitted to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles can automatically register a person vote), as well as make voting more difficult (roll back the absentee ballot request period, place limitations on the use of ballot drop boxes, remove a day of early voting).
 
This past April, Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the Inclusive Employer Toolkit, designed by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). This toolkit can help employers recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities, as well as foster an inclusive workplace. Recruitment and retention are challenges for many businesses, and individuals with disabilities are a brimming talent pool that is often overlooked and underutilized by countless companies and businesses. The Inclusive Employer Toolkit is a fantastic guide to creating an inclusive workplace and empowering people with disabilities to have a successful professional life!

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