A quality Partners in Policymaking program is built on critical values relating to the inherent worth of people with disabilities. These values must be the underlying thread woven throughout every aspect of the training program; Partners is all about how to achieve a vision that reflects these Core Values.
- People with disabilities are not “the handicapped” or “the disabled.” Using “People First Language” is a must.
- People with disabilities need real friendships, not just relationships with paid staff.
- People with disabilities are entitled to the full meaning of the right to free speech. The ability to communicate, in whatever form, must be available to every person with a disability.
- People with disabilities must be able to enjoy full mobility and accessibility that allows active participation in community life.
- People with disabilities must be assured continuity in their lives through families and neighborhood connections.
- People with disabilities must be treated with respect and dignity.
- People with disabilities must have the freedom to choose how they want to live their lives and receive the support they need.
- People with disabilities must be able to exercise choice and control in all areas of their lives.
- People with disabilities must be able to live in homes of their choice and choose the supports they need.
- People with disabilities must be able to enjoy the benefits of true productivity through employment and/or contributions as members of their communities.
These values represent the foundation of Partners in Policymaking. We know, however, that these values are still not present in the lives of too many children and adults with developmental disabilities. We also know that as a result of the best practices training of Partners, these values have become the norm for thousands of Partners graduates around the world. In turn, graduates are using their influence to help others learn “what’s possible.”
While the Core Values haven’t changed since 1987, best practices have changed and will continue to do so. This is as it should be, as we learn more, as we push the envelope, as technology changes, and as laws and policies evolve. And the speakers chosen for Partners training session need to represent leading-edge thinking