Monthly Archives: July 2014

OK Individual and Family Support Principles

  • Guiding truths that shape the way individuals, families and service providers interact
  • Establish common ground upon which individuals, families, advocates and service providers operate
  • Form the basis for program policy and practice.

HONOR THEIR EXPERTISEand right to make choices that they know to be in their own best interest

RESPECT AND ACCEPT THEIR VALUESthat are based in personal preferences, cultural beliefs and life-ways

SUPPORT INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS that are safe, stable and long lasting

FOCUS ON THE ENTIRE FAMILY as it is defined by the family

PROMOTE FLEXIBLE SERVICE AND FUNDING supporting individual and family control over who, what, when, where and how supports are provided

AFFIRM LIFESPAN PLANNING AND SELF-DETERMINATION that encourages decision-making and planning for independence beginning within the family when children are young, following the individual throughout their life and including aging issues

ASSURE PARTNERSHIPS WHICH ACTIVELY INCLUDE INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIESin planning, development, implementation and evaluation of policies, practices and personal programs

PRACTICE OPEN COMMUNICATIONpromoting a clear understanding of all aspects of systems policy, procedure, practice and all other information regarding them

RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMMUNITY, where individuals and their families belong and realize their full potential

All people need enduring, stable family and community relationships. All families need support at times in their lives to maintain these lasting relationships.  Individual and family support must assist across the lifespan, supporting the child within the family and the individual reaching independence. This assistance builds on natural sources of support including extended families, friends, neighbors and community associations.  The way support is provided is a reflection of what we believe about individuals and families, a way of thinking about individuals and families and a way of engaging with individuals and families.

Developed by Members of the Oklahoma Family Support Council

Endorsed By These Organizations

Center for Learning and Leadership / UCEDD

Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma (DSACO)

Family Perspectives Committee of the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth

Mom’s Group, Tulsa Advocates for the Rights of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities

Norman Social Services Coordination Council

Oklahoma Adoption Coalition

Oklahoma Chapter – National Association of Social Workers

Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council

Oklahoma Family Network

Oklahoma Family Resource Coalition

Oklahoma Respite Resource Network

Oklahoma Olmstead Strategic Planning Committee

United Cerebral Palsy of Oklahoma

Woodward Chapter — People First


Asking Candidates Questions that Make a Difference

Excerpts from How to Ask Candidates Questions that Make a Difference:

By Fran Korten, 2012

Tips for spreading your ideas without getting the runaround:

[W]hen candidates show up at political and professional meetings, hold fundraisers, or are on the radio, we can ask questions that put forward policy ideas. And with the changed political environment, those ideas can be ones that just a few months ago might have seemed entirely out of bounds. These opportunities only work well if we craft our question carefully. Because we want to build momentum for new ideas, the audience for our question is not just the candidate, but also the others who hear our question.

Here are some dos and don’ts for asking questions that can help us all take advantage of this political moment.

  • Ask your question in a way that can be heard
  • Sound reasonable. You don’t want to raise hackles or just get written off. No need to say “Well, Wall Street executives will hate this idea, but….”
  • Be yourself. Bring in a relevant personal example that people can relate to. Mention something that happened to you, your relative, or friend, but keep your example short.
  • Use ordinary language. If you need to use an unfamiliar term (such as the Financial Transaction Tax, in my example below), explain it briefly. Don’t turn people off with jargon.
  • Be succinct. You don’t want people feeling you took too much air time. Best to keep your question under a minute. But don’t talk fast to squeeze in more. You want everyone to understand what you’re saying.
  • Use your question to move an idea forward
  • Put forward an idea rather than asking a general question. If you ask how the politician will create jobs—he/she will have a stock answer that you’ve probably heard before. Instead, ask his/her views about an idea you think will create jobs.
  • Frame your idea in terms of a goal most people want to reach (strong communities, fair elections, good schools). You want to interest the politician and the audience right off the bat.
  • Be sure your question is relevant to that politician’s level of decision-making. Thus, don’t ask a national politician something that’s handled at the state or local level or vice versa.
  • Mention the benefits of the idea you are putting forward. E.g. it generates revenue or improves the environment. But don’t exaggerate those benefits. You don’t want people to dismiss your idea because you made it sound like a silver bullet.
  • Ask the politician for his or her stand on the issue, but not in a way that can be answered yes or no. You want to open an exploration. Thus, don’t say “Would you vote for this?” Instead ask “What is your view about this?”

The dos and don’ts in action

Now let me apply these dos and don’ts to a few fresh ideas.

For a national candidate: “I think many of us are concerned that the government is having to cut back on important services like education and veterans benefits because we don’t have the money. I’ve heard one solution is something called a Financial Transaction Tax. As I understand it, it’s a small tax on trades on Wall Street. I read that if we taxed each trade just a quarter of one percent that could raise about $150 billion a year. What is your view on the Financial Transaction Tax?”

For a state candidate: “I’m really concerned about the number of people unemployed in our state. It’s been hard to watch my sister search for a job for over a year. I’ve heard it would help if our state had a state-owned bank. I’ve read that North Dakota has a state-owned bank—and it runs a budget surplus and has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. The state bank partners with community banks and together they’ve kept credit flowing to farmers and local businesses throughout this recession. What do you think about our state creating its own bank?”

For a county candidate: “I’m concerned our neighborhoods are deteriorating because of all the foreclosures. I read that in California, the auditors in one county checked the documents on a sample of foreclosures and found that the big majority had fraudulent elements. Their investigation has slowed down the foreclosures. What would you think about conducting such an audit in our county?”

Now it’s your turn. If you like this approach, think of an issue you care about. Do you have a positive solution you want to bring forth—especially one that might have traction in our current political environment? Can you express your idea in less than a minute? Can your Uncle John understand what you’re asking?

Once you have crafted some good questions, use one the next time you have a chance to question a politician. See what happens. Share your own dos and don’ts, examples, or experiences in the comments below.

Let’s use this political season to get some good ideas moving from talk to policy.

Original Source:

Disaster Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities

Both the American Red Cross and the Oklahoma State Department of Health maintain websites and printable docs on emergency management and disaster preparedness for persons with disabilities.  This reading is time well spent and we hope you will also share it with first responders in your community!

A “hot” topic in Oklahoma has been how to persons with mobility limitations access underground storm shelters and safely move through disaster areas.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities dedicated their quarterly magazine to the topic of disasters.

Service Animals

When discussing service animals, there is a great deal of misinformation!  We hope you’ll make use of resources like Partners’ graduate Janet Borden who works for High Aim Assistance Dogs as well as share tip sheets like these from the ADA National Network:  Each year, Janet, High Aim colleagues and working dogs visit our Partners class.  If you are a Partners graduate, you are eligible to attend this session — call Erin at 405.521.4967 or email her at


ABLE Tech Funding Manual

A Guide to Solving the Funding Puzzle and Receiving Assistive Technology in Oklahoma. Download the latest version here. We encourage you to spend time at the OK ABLE Tech site, share this resource in your community and let your legislators know how valuable it is!  If you are a Partners graduate, you are eligible to see our ABLE Tech presentation during class time.  Just let Erin know by calling her at 405.421.4967 or emailing her at