Colorado LEND/UCEDD Fellow Policy Day

March 26, 2018

Colorado's JFK Partners LEND and UCEDD fellows and faculty visited the state capitol on Feb 28, 2018. JFK Partners collaborated with The Arc of Colorado and Alliance Colorado to host IDD Awareness Day 2018 with nearly 400 participants from each of the three agencies and invited guests from state agencies and the legislature. The day included tributes to IDD Awareness Day in the Senate from Senator Jim Smallwood and in the House from Representatives Lois Landgraf and Dave Young. Representative Dave Young recognized the JFK Partners Fellows from the House floor and they proudly waved hello to everyone. Many enjoyed a tour of the capitol and learned about the many traditions that have continued throughout the years. In preparation for their visit to the capitol, fellows selected topics to research to prepare a Policy Brief, letter to the editor, and a 27-9-3 elevator pitch.

Topics included: Suspension & Expulsion of children with IDD in schools, Inclusive Higher Education, Respite Care, Out of Home Placements for Children with Challenging Behaviors, Direct Support Professional reimbursement rate, and Newborn Hearing Screening. Fellows designed slogans to go on buttons that they wore to the capitol which created excitement about discussing their topics. A lunch was hosted by the three IDD Awareness Day sponsors where participants from each agency were represented at each table along with state agency and legislative guests. Speakers included the Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne; Shannon Sullivan, Parent; Donna Gunnison, Self-Advocate; and Rep. Bob Rankin. Fellows reported learning that JFK Partners is more than just a training program and that community networking is important to their work. Many of the fellows are in pediatric practice, so reported that this opportunity gave them future perspective to see what they're working toward in helping children grow into the adult world. Our visit to the state capitol was an amazing opportunity for our fellows and faculty to network with community members, celebrate what has been accomplished, and learn what still needs to be done.