Our Year in Review

EOY 2021 Thank You

As 2021 ends, TCDD reflects on our partnerships with each of you and celebrates another year of advocacy, community capacity building, and systems improvements for people with developmental disabilities (DD). We thank you for your contributions in creating a more inclusive Texas.

Advocacy and Education

Through our partners, TCDD was able to expand its network of disability advocates across Texas to ensure individuals and families are at the table when important decisions are made. TCDD Leadership and Advocacy programs trained people with disabilities and their family members on the history of disability rights, current disability-related issues, and how to create policy change in their communities. TCDD also held Disability Policy Academies in 2021 to provide policy professionals and community advocates with a forum for an educational deep dive on specific disability-related topics. Some of this year’s academy topics included:

  • Public Input During the 87th Texas Legislature;
  • DD Experience in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Developing Responsive Public Policy; and
  • Plugging the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with DD.

In partnership with AgriLife Extension, TCDD Regional Coordinators led community conversations on topics such as breast cancer prevention, special education, health care transition services, and inclusive programming. Regional Coordinators also hosted eight disability employment awareness webinars including panels of employers, collaboration with AgriLife Extension faculty, Workforce Solutions, and self-advocates. Learn more about these educational series and connect with a Regional Coordinator in your area.

Capacity Building

Every year, the Council identifies gaps in our state’s system for people with DD and creates funding opportunities for grant projects to address these needs. In 2021, TCDD funded 48 grant projects across the state. These projects addressed areas such as health and wellness, community inclusion, employment support, aging, and sexual assault prevention. You can learn more about these projects and upcoming funding opportunities on the TCDD website.

TCDD also worked this year to expand information and resources related to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, TCDD worked with medical experts to develop a short series of informational videos that answer common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines specifically among individuals with DD. TCDD also helped initiate the Texas Partners for Inclusive Access, a partnership with over 25 other state agencies, university research centers, and community organizations across the state. These partners began their work on COVID-19 response and increasing access to trustworthy information and supports for vaccines and are planning future efforts related to other health care access needs among Texans with disabilities.

Policy and System Improvement

During the 87th Texas Legislature, TCDD provided testimony on nearly 50 bills that impact the lives of Texans with disabilities. TCDD also served as a resource providing regular updates on legislative hearings and related activity, and the TCDD Bill of the Week series with detailed information on noteworthy, disability-related bills. TCDD was pleased to see the passage of laws that improved our system in areas of education, health care, accessibility, and criminal justice. TCDD also provided written comments to state agencies for agency rulemaking as well as to the federal government regarding the expansion of home and community-based services and the barriers to voting experienced by people with disabilities.

Looking Ahead

TCDD looks forward to the opportunity to continue to work with you in 2022 to build on the progress made this past year, and implement the lessons learned in involving self-advocates, strengthening connections and supports, and reducing barriers so that all individuals with DD are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.