Being a teacher isn’t just about teaching children. Teachers also need to be advocates for their students. Advocacy organizations are good resources for teachers to keep up to date on current policy issues. Additionally, being a member of an advocacy group can allow an educator to join with others who have similar interests.
- ADAPT: ADAPT organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action to ensure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities. It is most relevant to adults with disabilities. However, keeping up with what ADAPT is advocating for is a good way to keep up to date on important disability legislation and issues. There are state chapters.
- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: AAIDD promotes policies, research, effective practices and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It does not directly focus on transition, but they do have publications and trainings on transition topics. There is also an AAIDD Education Interest Network.
- American Association of People with Disabilities: AAPD is a disability rights organization that promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. There are not state-level chapters.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: NAMI is an advocacy organization that seeks to raise awareness and provide support and education regarding mental illness. As such, it is not a transition-specific organization, but it does have support groups for teens and young adults as well as their families. NAMI will also provide trainings or presentations to schools. Many communities have local NAMI groups.
- TASH: TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs. TASH itself is not a transition-specific organization, but it does advocate for transition outcomes and has committees devoted to transition outcomes (i.e., Community Living Committee and Employment Committee). There are state chapters.
- The ARC: The ARC is community-based organization that advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. It is an excellent organization to recommend to family members. Although The ARC is not a transition-focused organization, many of the issues it advocates for are relevant to transition (e.g., Medicaid, Social Security). Because of this, it is a good organization to follow on social media as a way to keep up with what is happening with policy at the national and state levels. There are state and county-level chapters.
What are you waiting for? Get involved and ADVOCATE for your students and profession.