COLA Newsletter, February 2008

March 5, 2008

From COCA's Co-chairs...

The Council on Community Advocacy, COCA, is one of the AUCD councils. Gordon Richins and Susan Yuan are the co-chairs of COCA. Gordon represents individuals with disabilities and Susan represents family members. The co-chairs are also members of the AUCD Board of Directors. We are the only council that has two voting members on the Board. This allows COCA to have a strong advocacy voice within the greater UCEDD network.

Susan Yuan and Gordon Richins are available to answer any questions that you might have about COCA, the Steering Committee, the listserv, AUCD, etc.

COCA has several conference calls during the year, which the full COCA membership is asked to participate in. COCA Conference call dates that ALL COCA members should call in for during 2008 are: 2/21/08, 5/15/08, 8/21/08, all at 2 p.m. EST. The toll free call in number will be sent out a few days before the call. COCA encourages UCEDD's to contact their COCA representative or CAC member to remind them to join these COCA calls.

After the full COCA membership calls there will be an electronic newsletter sent out, the COCA News. The theme or topic area for each COCA bulletin will be chosen prior to publication and sent out through the COCA listserv and posted on the AUCD COCA webpage. COCA members are encouraged to submit articles for the COCA News about their CAC, UCEDD or any relevant information for the council membership. The articles can be sent directly to Sharon Hauss (

From Laura C. Walker...

Since AUCD distributed the CAC Orientation Curriculum to the network in 2007, many UCEDDs and CACs have utilized the resource and the feedback has been very positive. One aspect of the curriculum many have found helpful is the flexibility of use. CACs across the country are in various stages of transition and the curriculum can be adapted for a particular advisory committee's unique needs. Unexpected uses of the curriculum have emerged as well. One UCEDD has used it to educate funders about UCEDDs and the AUCD network. A few states have started using the curriculum to educate self-advocates in their state about UCEDDs and the other programs of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. The curriculum is available in English, plain text, and Spanish. The University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City UCEDDs are conducting a joint training with our CACs in May using the curriculum. To access the resources at AUCD's website, click here.

From SABE to COCA...

Thanks to COCA and AUCD for inviting us to attend your conference. We were glad to be able to speak to self-advocates, parents, board members and leadership at the meeting. SABE looks forward to being able to partner and work together on the inclusion agenda for all people with disabilities.

From Angela Martin...

There will be an International Self-Determination Conference in Detroit this coming May. The dates of the conference are May 27-29.

Please visit the conference website for information about the conference speakers, topics, and registration materials.

Conference Registration and Exhibitor Applications are now being accepted. Please join us in Detroit!

From Karen Irick...

The South Carolina UCEDD, Center for Disability Resources Library, in Columbia, South Carolina, is now happy to offer our materials nationwide! Anyone in the fifty states may now check out items.

  • Reference librarians are available from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Requests are accepted by mail, by email to, by telephone 803.733.1501, or on a walk-in basis.
  • Books may be borrowed for a month. Videos may be borrowed for two weeks.
  • Materials can be mailed to your home or office.
  • Postage-paid return mailers are available for materials sent to South Carolina families. And all South Carolina residents may continue borrowing multiple items at one time.
  • A courier is available to bring items to the Center for Disability Resources Monday through Friday.
  • Residents of states other than South Carolina may check out one item at a time, and are responsible for return postage.

From Matthew Gianino, at UNH...

Introducing ABLE NH

Over the past year, with leadership from the NHUCED staff and CAC members, disability advocates and family members from across New Hampshire have come together to create an independent advocacy organization. Advocates Building Lasting Equality in New Hampshire (ABLE NH) is the result of a planning committee made up of advocates, parents, service providers, Consumer Advisory Council members and support from the Institute on Disability (IOD), Developmental Disabilities Council, the Disabilities Rights Center, and other groups and organization which strive to serve individuals with disabilities. Advocates Building Lasting Equality NH has recently achieved 501(c)3 non-profit status and will be an affiliate of the ARC of the United States.

Advocates Building Lasting Equality NH advocates for human and civil rights, as well as the full participation of all children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of community, life, and society. Together with a growing network of members and affiliated chapters, ABLE NH desires to improve systems of supports and services, connect families, inspire communities, and influence public policy.

With the recent approval of the by-laws by the board of directors, ABLE NH looks to begin the serious work of building a strategic plan and implementing committees to fulfill its missions. Board officers include Stacey Brooks (IOD Consumer Advisory Council member), chair; Sarah Aiken, vice chair; Mary Schuh (NHUCED Member), secretary; and Carol Stamatakis, treasurer. Other members include Jan Larsen, Martha-Jean Madison, Adrienne Mallinson, Laura Miller, Linda Steir, Heather Thalheimer, Pat Vincent-Piet (CAC Member), and Janet Williamson (NHUCED Member).

From Susan Yuan...

After spending most of the past year helping the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion at the University of Vermont prepare for its 5-year grant submission, the CAC, under the leadership of David LaCroix and Sharon Henault, is now turning to our internal functioning, We are in the process of adopting by-laws for our operations, and are grateful to those other CACs in the network who have shared their by-laws with us. We are also trying new procedures to make sure that every voice is heard. Rather than operate as a large group all the time, we are attempting to break into small stakeholder groups to discuss every issue requiring input or decision-making. Each group then shares its perspective with the entire group. This is proving more successful at involving quieter members, and reduces the chance of unintended domination by more vocal participants. It also guarantees that the perspective of each stakeholder group will be equally represented in the discussion.

From Steve Brown...

Aloha. For those of you coming to, or interested in, the 2008 Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities in Honolulu, HI in April 2008 many topic brochures are now available.

You can find the brochure for the Independent Living strand here.

Many other informational items about the Conference are available here.