Sharing Personal Experience & Knowledge
The skill and self-confidence to communicate a message to another person or larger audience is a powerful tool. SPEAK is a training program for people with developmental disabilities who want to add their voice to decisions about their own lives as well as the things that happen in their schools and communities. The desire to add important first-person voices to the public discussion about the wants and needs of people with developmental disabilities is accomplished through training, practice, and supported speaking opportunities. "SPEAKers" focus on real issues that matter. And, family members, teachers, community leaders and many others hear their voices in a way they have not seen or heard before. SPEAK offers people with disabilities the unique chance to develop new skills and confidence that allows them to grow in self-advocacy as well as community issues and public policy.
Inspired by the speaking and advocacy progress by Peer Leader Ricky Broussard, Project SPEAK was initiated through a grant from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities. Over four years, Imagine Enterprises recruited, trained, and supported over 50 self-advocates with diverse disabilities, backgrounds, and interests to make presentations at local and statewide meetings, conferences, trainings, legislative hearings, and other venues. Audiences included local school boards, local and regional transition conferences, regional education centers, state professional and advocacy organizations and national conferences. Imagine staff and consultants are completing a curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom as well as a guidebook for on-campus extracurricular SPEAK Club.