TCDD Extra: April 2024

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Welcome to the latest edition of TCDD Extra — a newsletter published every two months with a selection of recent disability news, resources, training, advocacy opportunities, and other information. This newsletter features TCDD-led initiatives as well as information from other disability organizations, government agencies, and news outlets.

In this edition:

  • training sprints for disability advocates;
  • workshop on creating inclusive summer camps;
  • new videos designed to educate and engage policymakers;
  • the Pathways to Adulthood online transition center;
  • and more.

Advocacy & Training Opportunities

New Training Sprints for Disability Advocates

TCDD Training Sprints offer ways for disability advocates to learn and take action on issues they care about within four weeks. The training features self-paced modules, live sessions, technical assistance, and networking. Sprints are perfect for self-advocates, family members, and community allies who want to advance their advocacy skills in a fast-paced environment.

Upcoming sprints include:

  • Inclusive Student Organizations: Trail BlaZers On Campus (Summer)
  • 89th Legislative Session Lift-Off: Practice Makes Policy Change (Fall)

To learn more and register, visit the Training Sprint webpage

Practical Skills to Support Workplace Preparation

TCDD and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (AgriLife) are offering a training course for educators and professionals who work with students with developmental disabilities (DD). Through the training, which is available for a $10 fee, participants can develop knowledge and skills to prepare students with DD to find meaningful employment as they transition from grade school into adult life. The training provides presentations, scripts, handouts, and activities as well as resources on resilience and managing anxiety, team skills, resume writing, professionalism, and interview skills.

The course is eligible for three hours of continuing professional education credits from the Texas Education Agency. Scholarships are available for educators and others who work directly with students with DD transitioning from grade school into adult life. Learn more and register for the training course.

Take the 2024 Disaster Resilience Survey

Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) is conducting a survey to learn more about how well Texans with disabilities are prepared for disasters and what additional resources or support they might need to be more prepared. The survey is for people with disabilities, those who support people with disabilities, and others connected to the disability community. This is an opportunity to provide information to DRTx that can help create new resources, develop community trainings, and educate emergency managers about the needs of people with disabilities. The survey is available in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. The deadline to complete the survey is May 13. Learn more on the DRTx website.

Events and Webinars

Making Summer Camps Inclusive for Disabilities  

TCDD and AgriLife will host an online workshop from 11 a.m. to noon CT on May 20 on making summer camps inclusive and accessible for youth with disabilities. Through the free workshop, camp coordinators and others interested in accessible youth camps can explore practical foundations of inclusive camp practices. Dr. Amanda Kloo, the director of inclusive recreation at the National Inclusion Project, will discuss program designs, participation considerations, and engagement strategies to meet the physical, social-emotional, intellectual, and wellness needs of every camper. If you’d like to attend, please register ahead of time. The workshop is the second of a two-part series. You can find a recording of the first workshop on the TCDD YouTube channel.

New & Updated Resources

New Videos Designed to Educate and Engage Policymakers

Metrocare Services published a series of videos that provide an overview of important DD-related issues. The videos cover disability history, the current disability landscape, state-supported living centers, inclusive environmental design, and the dynamics of intersectionality. Advocates can use the videos to educate their legislators, local decision-makers, and others. Metrocare Services created the videos as part of a TCDD-funded grant project to develop training programs and materials for elected leaders to deepen their understanding of people with disabilities and increase their engagement with the disability community.

Pathways to Adulthood Online Transition Center

Texas Parent to Parent (TxP2P) created an online transition center with resources, videos, and other information to help families of youth with DD with the transition into adult life. For youth with DD, the period between the end of grade school and adult life can be difficult to manage. Many families lack access to support for their children and rely on a patchwork of services that can be unreliable and include long waiting lists. TxP2P developed the online transition center through a TCDD-funded grant project to support families of youth with DD transitioning into adult life.


"Like all Texans, people with developmental disabilities have unique skills and perspectives, but they also face unique challenges. It is important to raise awareness about the disability experience in Texas and to understand how each person can lead the best life possible. Throughout our history, many of these Texans have done precisely that, touching lives, contributing to their communities, and making the Lone Star State a better place for us all."

— From Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s DD Awareness Month Proclamation, March 2024

Project Spotlights

Group photo of Rice University grant project leaders and students in a greenhouse at the Brookwood Community in Brookshire, Texas. The photo includes Dr. Luz Garcini, Kathryn Gonzalez, Ling DeBellis, Sabrina Cuauro Cuauro, Beni Nguyen, and Ricardo Robles. Behind the group is an assortment of poinsettias that were grown by members of the Brookwood Community.
Rice University grant project leaders and students met with members of the Brookwood Community and toured the community’s facilities in Brookshire, including a greenhouse with poinsettias grown by community members. The photo includes Dr. Luz Garcini, Kathryn Gonzalez, Ling DeBellis, Sabrina Cuauro Cuauro, Beni Nguyen, and Ricardo Robles.

Mental Health Support for Experiencing Grief and Loss

Rice University launched a TCDD-funded grant project last year that’s developing a toolkit with the help of a community partner network to support the mental health of people with DD experiencing grief and loss. Once developed, the toolkit will be available for people with DD, families, and health care providers.

In recent years, people with DD have faced enormous grief and loss. They’ve experienced one of the highest COVID-19 death rates compared to other groups as well as pandemic-related isolation and other unique risk factors. TCDD funding supports projects that develop tools and resources so people with DD can navigate grief and loss, which can overwhelm, traumatize, and leave long-lasting impacts on mental health.

Disability News & Information

NACDD Names New Executive Director

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) announced that Jill Jacobs will lead the association as its new executive director. NACDD is the national association for the 56 state councils on DD across the U.S. and its territories. TCDD is a member of the association. Jacobs was previously commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities under the U.S. Administration for Community Living. Jacobs — an alumna of Texas A&M University — has more than 25 years of experience in policy analysis, organization management, and public service at the local, state, and federal levels. Learn more on the NACDD website



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