I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
One thing that we are constantly hearing about is how our Legislators are not listening to what their constituents are telling them. That they only are listening to the big money lobbyist. Well, I can tell you that there are times when our Legislators are listening to their constituents.
I had the opportunity to meet with Representative Gwen Moore in her office, along with her staff and some fellow self-advocates and advocates, sharing our thoughts on the proposed implementation of the Health and Human Services (HHS) rule on “integrated settings.” As I have written before, this is not a new rule and we are not looking at closing “sheltered workshops”. What we are looking at is a paradigm shift in how we are looking at employment options for individuals with disabilities. Individuals today want to work and be a part of their community.
I had the opportunity to speak at the Milwaukee County Supervisors listening session on Monday night. Here is what I spoke about.
I find it pretty ironic that in the month of October, Disability Employment Awareness Month, there appears to be a group of individuals who do not believe that individuals with disabilities have the ability to work at competitive wage jobs in the community. I received a message on Thursday stating that there some Legislators who are asking that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to reconsider their definition of home and community-based settings under the Medicaid Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. I get the impression that there are facilities within the State that do not want to look at their business model and change with the times. As with any business, in order to remain competitive, you must be willing to adapt to changes.
Dating back to 1945, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/)