The nearly 5 million Americans with developmental disabilities represent a vast diversity of backgrounds, experiences and cultures. This is why the DD Act specifically calls for the services and supports it provides to be delivered “… in a manner that is responsive to the beliefs, interpersonal styles, attitudes, language, and behaviors of individuals who are receiving the services …”
More than half of the 2011 Texas population, (55.2%), was of a race other than non-Hispanic white, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That makes Texas one of five “minority-majority” states in the country. People with developmental disabilities from minority communities are typically unserved and underserved and can face unique barriers to full inclusion and to participation in the development of services and supports delivered in the manner described in the DD Act. For this reason, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) has prioritized Council’s efforts to reduce disproportionalities and disparities across all state plan activities.
The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to reducing disproportionalities and disparities in our state. We know that true systems change begins with all of us as Council members. To date, TCDD has worked to improve outreach and inclusion among the unserved and underserved through examples such as:
- Culturally appropriate community-based services and supports grant projects.
- Outreach and Development grants.
- Stipends to support translation services.
- State Plan objective (1.8) to implement at least three projects to address specific needs of individuals with developmental disabilities who identify with a specific minority culture.
- State Plan objective (2.3) to collaborate with community based organizations to reduce linguistic and cultural barriers among people who are Spanish-speaking.
- State Plan objective (3.4) to support self-advocates and family members to participate in culturally diverse leadership coalitions.
- Presentations from experts to provide information about diversity and disproportionality.
- Participation in Undoing Racism training with Council members, staff, grantees, and partners.
In our recent Undoing Racism training, facilitators and participants discussed the importance of regular and consistent dialogue as an organization to identify action steps we can take to reduce disparities in our own policies and practices. To achieve this goal, we are including Disproportionalities and Disparities as a regular item on our Council and Committee meeting agendas.
- What is our role in changing systems to address disproportionalities and disparities among Texans with disabilities?
- How can we increase our understanding (e.g., data collection and research) of the disproportionalities and disparities that exist for Texans with disabilities?
- How can we change the way we do business as a Committee/Council to connect and include ALL Texans with disabilities who are unserved and underserved?
- Policy analysis