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Welcoming diversity.

People with disabilities live in all types of communities and settings, and come from a variety of cultures. More and more, the disability movement is reflecting this diversity, as well as finding ways to help traditionally unserved and underserved families get services for their children. Many communities, both urban and rural, already face tremendous challenges such as poverty, illiteracy illiteracy, inability to meet a certain minimum criterion of reading and writing skill. Definition of Illiteracy

The exact nature of the criterion varies, so that illiteracy must be defined in each case before the term can be used in a meaningful
 and crime. Though it can be difficult to make inroads inroads
Noun, pl

make inroads into to start affecting or reducing: my gambling has made great inroads into my savings

inroads npl to make inroads into [+
 into these communities, the disability movement recognizes their importance and has made it a goal to welcome the strengths, gifts and differences people from these communities can offer.

PTIs reach out

In 1990, a revision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
This article or section is currently being developed or reviewed.
Some statements may be disputed, incorrect, , biased or otherwise objectionable.
 (IDEA) instituted a requirement that the boards of all Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) include parents and professionals who are members of minority groups. PTls--funded by the Division of Personnel Preparation, Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education--help parents to understand their children's specific needs, communicate more effectively with professionals, participate in the educational planning process and obtain information about relevant programs, services and resources. In addition, the revised version Revised Version
A British and American revision of the King James Version of the Bible, completed in 1885.

Revised Version
 of the IDEA provided funding for "experimental projects," in which PTIs would work with parents in traditionally underserved or unserved communities, both urban and rural.

Experimental projects have allowed PTls to develop community networks, create training materials that reflect positive, multicultural images of people with disabilities and their families, and train professionals on issues of cultural diversity. Experimental projects also offer workshops and one-on-one support to help parents participate in the development of appropriate Individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize  
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.

2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.

 Education Plans (IEPs) for their children.

South Central Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  and New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded  are two areas in which experimental projects are underway. In South Central, Loving Your Disabled Child (LYDC LYDC Loving Your Disabled Child , 4715 Crenshaw cren·shaw   also cran·shaw
A variety of winter melon (Cucumis melo var. inodorus) having a greenish-yellow rind and sweet, usually salmon-pink flesh.

[Origin unknown.]
 Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043; 213/299-2925) offers educational workshops, dramatic presentations, a family resource library and parent support group meetings. LYDC also provides telephone support in times of crisis, and gets parents involved in training other parents to be peer counselors. The Pyramid Parent Training Project in New Orleans (3132 Napoleon Ave., New Orleans, LA 70125; 504/895-5970) uses a holistic approach holistic approach A term used in alternative health for a philosophical approach to health care, in which the entire Pt is evaluated and treated. See Alternative medicine, Holistic medicine.  to helping families with special needs; they develop individualized service plans for these families and refer them to other useful resources. Raising parents, awareness of their rights regarding special education is another prime focus of Pyramid Parent Training's efforts. In each of these cities, experimental projects are helping to counter the neglect that the communities have traditionally had to endure.

In the spring of 1995, representatives from 16 experimental projects created Grassroots, a national, multicultural consortium of community parent resource centers. The consortium aims to promote leadership development within underserved communities. Grassroots publishes Tapestry, a newsletter highlighting the activities and winning strategies of community organizations throughout the country.

PTIs have also taken steps to increase diversity in their own offices by expanding boards of directors, hiring new staff members and recruiting new volunteers. Some PTIs have established satellite offices in urban neighborhoods, Native American communities and reservations, and rural and remote areas. They have translated and created resource materials to address the languages and cultures of dozens of groups. They have joined forces with coalitions, advocacy groups and community service agencies to mobilize resources and expand and coordinate services. Here are just a few of the projects that have reached more than 150,000 parents in over 50 culturally diverse communities throughout the country:

North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures

Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop.
 moves ahead

North Carolina's Exceptional Children's Assistance Center (ECAC ECAC Eastern College Athletic Conference
ECAC European Civil Aviation Conference
ECAC Exceptional Children's Assistance Center (Davidson, NC, USA)
ECAC Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center
ECAC Estimated Cost At Completion
, P.O. Box 16, Davidson, NC 28036; 800/962-6817; 704/892-1321; 704/892-5028, fax) is forging partnerships with other service organizations such as the Sickle Cell Disease sickle cell disease or sickle cell anemia, inherited disorder of the blood in which the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin pigment in erythrocytes (red blood cells) is abnormal.  Association of Piedmont Piedmont, region, Italy
Piedmont (pēd`mŏnt), Ital. Piemonte, region (1991 pop. 4,302,565), 9,807 sq mi (25,400 sq km), NW Italy, bordering on France in the west and on Switzerland in the north.
 (SCDAP, 1102 E. Market St., Greensboro, NC 27420-0964; 800/733-8297; 910/274-1507; 910/275-7984, fax). ECAC staff members are excited about participating with the SCDAP in monthly teleconference discussions involving parents and professionals from across the state.

ECAC has also started two new parent groups--Across All Cultures and Minority Involvement for Exceptional Children. Across AU Cultures is a support group comprised of parents from different backgrounds who work to educate others about cultural differences. Minority Involvement for Exceptional Children is a support group for African-American parents who are often in the minority at support group meetings for specific disabilities. In addition, ECAC has created Faces, a newsletter for Spanish-speaking families. Parent training materials have also been translated into Spanish

Advocacy on the Alaskan airwaves airwaves
Noun, pl

Informal radio waves used in radio and television broadcasting

Alaska's Parents As Resources Engaged in Networking and Training Statewide (PARENTS, 540 W. International Airport Rd., Ste. 200, Anchorage, AK 99518; 800/478-7678; 907/563-2246; 907/563-2257, fax;, e-mail) is pumping on-going plans for including diverse and underserved groups in training sessions--especially rural, Native American families American Family is a photographic artwork exhibition by Renée Cox. See also
  • An American Family, a 1973 documentary broadcast on PBS
  • , a 2002-2004 PBS drama starring Edward James Olmos and Constance Marie.
. PARENTS has been reaching these families by translating written materials into oral Native American languages Native American languages, languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.  and then disseminating the information via radio broadcasts that can be received in rural parts of the state.

PARENTS has also reached many families through collaboration with local school districts and human services agencies. Upon requests from school boards, staff members have conducted parent training sessions and served as family advocates during the EP process. These efforts have produced concrete results--a recent statewide conference was attended by a number of parents from traditionally underserved communities.

Diversity in Minnesota

In Minneapolis, staff members at PACER Center (4826 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55417-1098; 800/537-2237 or 612/8272966, voice/TTY; 612/827-3065, fax;, e-mail) are also reaching out to parents of diverse cultures. For example, staff members from Southeast Asian backgrounds have held six workshops, developed a videotape for professionals and translated training materials into Southeast Asian languages Southeast Asian languages, family of languages, sometimes also called Austroasiatic, spoken in SE Asia by about 80 million people. According to one school of thought, it has three subfamilies: the Mon-Khmer languages, the Munda languages, and the Annamese-Muong , and an African-American staff member leads a support group for African-American patents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), formerly called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, a chronic, neurologically based syndrome characterized by any or all of three types of behavior: hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity.  (ADHD Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Definition

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder characterized by distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, and the inability to remain focused on tasks or
). PACER has also developed culturally-appropriate resource materials for Native American families on issues including fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol effects (FAS/FAE). A Native American parent advocate is now working with families in the Detroit Lakes area and other communities. Finally, PACER is working with local families to assist in developing programs and resource materials for the Hispanic community.

Empowering parents in Mississippi

In Mississippi, Empower, a new program of Parent Partners (3111 N. State St, Jackson, MS 39216; 800/366-5707; 601/366 5707; 601/362-7361, fax) serves families in the rural, impoverished Mississippi delta This article is about the geographic region of the U.S. state of Mississippi. For other uses, see Mississippi Delta (disambiguation).

The Mississippi Delta is the distinct northwest section of the state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo
 region. Empower works with smallgroups of parents, providing information about disabilities, helping families find useful services and offering parent-to-parent matching.

Parent Partners, with the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, co-sponsored a training conference that attracted more than 300 participants--well over half were members of minority groups. In addition Parent Partners now provides more effective assistance to individual families by using resource materials reflecting the cultural diversity of families served.

Satellite offices span New Jersey

In New Jersey, satellite offices of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN, 516 North Ave. E., Westfield,NJ 07090-1446; 800/654-7726 or 908/654-7726, voice/TTY; 908/654-7880, fax) are reaching underserved communities. Offices in Newark and Paterson serve Hispanic and African-American parents primarily. Bilingual staff members and resource materials are available to Spanish-speaking families.

SPAN's main office also has many resources for parents from diverse ethnic backgrounds. As part of a collaborative relationship with the New Jersey Department of Health, SPAN staff members work part-time in statewide health department offices providing parent-to-parent support for families whose children have recently been diagnosed with a disability. They help these families find support groups and obtain appropriate educational assistance and other services. SPAN also works with local organizations, such as Head Start and teen pregnancy centers, to publicize pub·li·cize  
tr.v. pub·li·cized, pub·li·ciz·ing, pub·li·ciz·es
To give publicity to.

publicize or -cise

[-cizing, -cized]
 available services. These outreach efforts have been successful; SPAN served 7,000 clients last year, and 25 percent were members of minority groups.

The effort is just beginning...

Though these efforts have succeeded in increasing services to families from aD backgrounds and communities, the PTIs acknowledge that much more remains to be done.
COPYRIGHT 1996 EP Global Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Networking
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Apr 1, 1996
Previous Article:The Face of Inclusion.
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