June 2018, Vol. 4, No. 4
RAISE The Standard Newsletter
Raising the Standard for Young Adults with Disabilities
Technical Assistance and Resources for RSA-funded
Parent Training and Information Centers

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

- Frederick Douglass, Civil Rights Leader

Independence Day is just around the corner. In addition to the hotdogs and fireworks, it is a chance to reflect on the roots of our fragile democracy. As Americans, “we the people” all have a right AND a responsibility, to be part of it.

This issue of RAISE The Standard is focused on the transition to civic engagement for youth with disabilities.
We love this fun video featuring young voters talking about the important role of voting and civic engagement in the transition to adulthood.


1 in 5 Americans has a disability. That makes people with disabilities the LARGEST minority group in America – that is, if they are recognized as a minority group. CLICK HERE to watch this short video about disability issues that might affect YOU:

“The Fight For Disability Rights, and Why We Are Not Done Yet”

Judith Heumann has been on the forefront of efforts to advance the human rights of people with disabilities. In this TEDx presentation, she describes the disability rights movement, and lays out the work still to be done as people with disabilities continue to fight for full participation in American life.

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The First Step to Civic Engagement

The Council on Developmental Disabilities has an online course called Partners in Policymaking. Many state councils also host or provide this course live, all at no charge.

Also offered in Spanish, the goal of Partners in Policymaking is to educate participants to be active partners with those who make policy. They will become partners in policymaking. The idea is to develop partnerships that are based on positive relationships. In today’s political climate of radical change, Partners graduates must work harder than ever to prevent the loss of basic rights for people with disabilities. Partners graduates can change the future by influencing public policy today.

The conversion of the Partners program to an e-learning site gives Partners participants the opportunity to supplement their learning; Partners graduates can refresh their skills and stay current on best practices; and others can increase their knowledge and understanding of best practices in the disability field, and learn how to communicate effectively with their elected officials. You will also find five other online courses.

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Six Steps to Telling Your Story

Lets say you have decided you want to reach out to lawmakers to advocate for change. What do you do?

When communicating with lawmakers and decision-makers, constituents need to get personal. What does that mean?

Here are six simple steps to help you tell your story to lawmakers and policy makers in a way that connects it to the issues that matter to you:

  1. Give your name and address.
  2. If you live in the legislator’s district, also say that you live in the district so they know you are a constituent.
  3. Describe the issue or problem, or provide a bill number (if there is a bill that addresses your issue or problem).
  4. Explain how this issue affects or impacts you and your family (be brief).
  5. If there is a bill that talks about your issue or problem, ask for the legislator to do something - support or oppose the bill.
  6.  Say thank you.


Still need more advice and guidance? We love the self-directed nature of #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan online movement activating and engaging people with disabilities on policies and practices important to the disability community. Here you will find documents, resources, and updates on #CripTheVote activities.

The #CripTheVote movement is grounded in online conversations encouraging individual and collective action in the face of inequality, ableism, and oppression in all forms.

Follow them using the hashtag #CripTheVote on Facebook, and Twitter, on the CripTheVote website, and at the Disability Visibility Project here.
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Rooted in Rights

We love Rooted in Rights, a website that invites people with disabilities to share their stories and learn more about issues affecting the community of people who identify as having a disability (More on the idea of identity and pride in our next issue – stay tuned!)

Rooted in Rights produces videos and social media campaigns exclusively on disability rights issues. Their filmmakers, writers, designers, and communicators produce videos from locations around the world. Their social media sites and website are platforms for people with disabilities, self-advocates and their friends, families and allies to learn, connect and organize for change.

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As part of transition planning, hands-on learning can be important. If you or a student you work with is civic-minded and wants to get involved in a political campaign, there are ways to help: 

Get involved in voter registration. This nonpartisan activity helps to encourage people to get more engaged with their civic duties and rights.

Get involved in "Get Out The Vote" (GOTV) Campaigns. Many registered voters never show up at the polls, so advocacy groups are often looking for volunteers to help get people to the polls.

Get behind an issue or a candidate. Ready for more? Candidates are always looking for volunteers to help them reach voters. Not sure about a candidate, but passionate about an issue, for example, health care or Medicaid? You can volunteer to work on an "issue campaign." Here are some activitities typically conducted by volunteers.

  • Canvassing
  • Phone Banks
  • Campaign Events
  • Administrative Task/Office Work

An important right of passage to adulthood is voting. With the 2018 midterms upon us, it is a good idea to ask young people if THEY are registered to vote.

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June 25, 2018
RAISE Summit 2018
Lake Buena Vista, FL
This event is offered at no charge. To register,

June 26-28, 2018
APSE Conference
Lake Buena Vista, FL

July 16-20, 2018
Association on Higher Education and Disability
(AHEAD) 2018 Conference
Albuquerque, NM

July 23-26, 2018
Annual Conference on Independent Living:
Mobilize, Resistance Through Action
Washington, DC

August 27-30, 2018
National Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Conference
Baltimore, MD
Collaboration • Empowerment • Capacity-building

RAISE The Standard enewsletter identifies and shares resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.
Executive Editor:
Peg Kinsell
Visit our Website:
RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the Technical Assistance provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.
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RAISE is funded by the US Department of Education to provide technical assistance to, and coordination of, the 7 PTI centers (RSA-PTIs). It represents collaboration between the nation's two Parent Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) and the seven Regional PTACs.