SALT at Mailman Center: Empowering adults with disabilities to take the first steps towards self-advocacy (FL UCEDD/LEND)

March 12, 2019

"Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world". This quote by Howard Zinn has always resonated with me because it's rooted in the principle that even if we start small, efforts can domino effect into something much greater. I am proud to be an Audiology extern at the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development because we believe in opportunities for ALL people, including those with disabilities.

At the Mailman Center, there is a pipeline approach to the various programs offered. The pipeline approach allows an individual to enter one of the programs based on where they are currently in their leadership journey. We realized that having a "one program fits all" approach doesn't work. Why? Because each individual is different and goals change over time! Currently, there are four tiers of the multi-tiered model.

The first tier is Project SALT. SALT stands for: Self Advocate Leadership Training, and its purpose is to provide a cohort of individuals with disabilities with the tools for success and independence in their own communities. The SALT program consists of 3 day intensive curriculum that engages transitioning adults with varying disabilities. Important topics discussed are: healthcare, employment and transportation. Attendees are taught about the laws and rights that protect them, communication skills, social media etiquette and the tips on resume writing. Why are these topics necessary? So that all people, including those with disabilities, can advocate for themselves and create a more inclusive community.

The 8th cohort of individuals will be selected in the upcoming months from a pool of applicants, and SALT will take place in Summer 2019.