the advocacy monitor

Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Youth Issues & Education

CIL-NET Presents: A National Learning Collaborative on Youth Transition at Centers for Independent Living

Are you excited to develop a youth transition program at your Center for Independent Living (CIL), but need a little help to get there?

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETCIL-NET is offering an exciting new approach to support CILs that are ready to make a commitment to young people with disabilities!

Goal of the Collaborative: To develop and implement new or additional youth transition services at your CIL through the creation of a Program-Centered Plan focused on youth’s interests and needs and agency capacity.

What is a Learning Collaborative?

A learning collaborative is an interactive group process to improve programs and performance through progressive learning, action, and planning.

The National Learning Collaborative on Youth Transition at Centers for Independent Living is much more than training. From March to December of 2018, our facilitators will work with a dedicated group of CILs to support one another as they plan to create or expand their youth transition programs. It involves a commitment of time and resources to complete an actionable plan. Participants in the collaborative will learn alongside and support one another. A successful collaborative requires commitment, teamwork, and follow-through. Therefore, we are asking interested individuals to apply to participate. A maximum of 12 CILs will be selected for participation with a maximum of 2 individuals per CIL. Applicants must have the authority and the resources to participate fully and to be ready to go once the collaborative participants are selected. Applicants must be available and prepared to participate in all collaborative activities, including monthly group calls, planning work between calls, and an onsite meeting at the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (Allentown, PA) on April 4 and 5, 2018. Group and individual work between calls is estimated at 6-10 hours a month. Facilitation of the collaborative is provided by ILRU, NCIL, and Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) staff.  [Read more…]

Holding the Department of Education Accountable: The Importance of Guidance Documents

By Rachel Bass, NCIL Fall Policy Intern

As an individual with disabilities, I have experienced challenges during my educational career. I experienced many ups and downs, and there were tribulations that I needed to overcome.

Rachel Bass Signs I Love You in ASLIn some instances, I was refused reasonable accommodations, such as an aide for my physical needs, note takers, interpreters, and other support services. These types of services were crucial for my success in school. Because the school denied me full accessibility in the classroom, every night, I would spend hours with my mother tutoring me just to complete my homework. This went on for a couple of years before I realized that I had to stand up for myself. At the young age of nine, when I attended a meeting to go over my individualized educational plan, I had to learn to stand up for myself for the first time. I told them that I was not being treated equally and requested equal access to my education.

There was another occasion when I was in 10th grade: I had to have an aide to help with my personal needs due to my physical disability. She behaved unprofessionally, inappropriately, and aggressively towards me on a daily basis. She would constantly take advantage of both my disabilities. Also, she would intentionally embarrass me because of my disabilities. For example, she became very manipulating and constantly would come up to my nose, pointing her finger directly at my face, yelling, “Do you understand me, yes or no!” repeatedly until I replied “yes” because I did not hear or understand what she was saying at first due to my deafness. She did not have a lot of patience to work with me as a deaf individual. I felt so humiliated because I did not know why she was so angry with me. I had no idea what she wanted to convey to me. She also took it upon herself to decide how much physical help I needed, regardless of the doctor’s note that was given to the administrators from my physical therapist. My aide would constantly force me to take out my own books from my backpack, even though it was against the doctors’ and administrators’ orders and caused me physical pain.  [Read more…]

Sign-Up for NCIL’s Youth Transitions Email List

Are you struggling to find ways to incorporate youth transition into your Center’s programs? Have you found a set of youth transition practices that work well, that you would be willing to share with other Centers for Independent Living?

35th Anniversary Logo: NCIL – National Council on Independent Living. Celebrating 35 Years of Advocacy. Graphic features party candles.If you believe in the capacity of young people with disabilities and want to learn more about best practices, or if you would like to share your wisdom, then consider joining the NCIL Youth Transitions Coordinators Email List. You need not be a Youth Transitions Coordinator by title to join the list; anyone who works with or would like to learn more about working with youth is welcome.

Those who join the list will:

  • Be notified about upcoming calls to discuss youth transition best practices
  • Be able to network with others concerned with youth transition
  • Receive announcements regarding fruitful opportunities for youth, which can be disseminated as appropriate
  • Have a forum through which they can get their questions answered

Sign-Up for NCIL’s Youth Transitions Email List.

If you have any questions, please contact Hindley Williams, Youth Transitions Fellow, at

Disability Mentoring Initiative Request for Proposals

Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc. (PYD), a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization with national impact, requests proposals from non-profit organizations to become a collaborator within the Disability Mentoring Initiative (DMI). One or two new collaborators will be chosen to participate in DMI for a period of one year and nine months (January 1, 2018-September 30, 2019) and will receive training and support.  [Read more…]

Upcoming Webinar on Assessing Youth/Young Adult Voice in Agency-Level Decision Making

Source: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, October 24, 2017; 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern; 10:00-11:00 a.m. Pacific
  • Register online

Increasingly, agencies and organizations that serve youth and young adults are seeking to partner with young people as they work to make their services more engaging and responsive. However, agencies often lack information about best practices for involving young people in these efforts. This webinar will describe the development and validation of the Youth/Young Adult Voice at the Agency Level (Y-VAL) assessment. The Y-VAL is intended to serve both as a guide to best practices and as a measure of the extent to which an agency is meaningfully supporting young people’s involvement in advising and decision making.

National Disability Mentoring Coalition Toolkit and Resources

Source: National Disability Mentoring Coalition

The National Disability Mentoring Coalition has co-launched the USDA Disability Mentoring Toolkit and published a new White Paper. Additionally, NDMC encourages you to view their webinar on Critical Mentoring, which aims to change how you approach mentoring and discovery of root causes.

Ability Center of Greater Toledo Launches Next Steps Summer Program

Source: 13abc Action News

Local students living with disabilities say Ability Center program is life-changing

The Ability Center of Greater Toledo has all kinds of programs to help people living with disabilities. One of them is called the Next Steps Summer Program. It’s designed to help prepare students for college and the workplace, and the program has had a big impact on the students who are part of it.

The students are living on campus at The University of Toledo as part of the program. They are also working at several organizations and companies around the community. The students say this has been a life-changing experience.

Mallory Tarr is the Marketing Coordinator at The Ability Center,”The goal is to prepare them for the next step after high school whether that be post-secondary training or going to college. Whatever it is they want to do, we want to give them the tools and the steps to get there.” Read the full story at 13abc Action News.

Deadline Extended: 2017 Youth Transitions Fellowship – Apply By May 29!

The HSC Foundation, in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), is now accepting applications for a paid fellowship position with the organizations’ disability youth transition and collaboration work. This fellowship is ideal for a person with a disability who has an interest in youth career transitions and employment solutions. The fellowship starts in June 2017, and continues for 12 months. Under the supervision of NCIL’s Operations Director, the Youth Transitions Fellow (YTF) will gain exposure to youth programs serving people with disabilities and will have the opportunity to facilitate collaboration among internship, fellowship, and apprenticeship programs based in the Greater Washington, DC area.

Preferred Skills and Qualifications:

  • Ability to facilitate collaboration among large groups
  • Ability to work with people in all levels of an organization, including young people with a variety of disabilities
  • Strong communication skills and strong organizational skills
  • Creative and innovative personality
  • Familiarity with technology and social networking tools
  • Strong interest in youth transition for people with disabilities and organizing.


College graduate 26-or-younger who self-identifies as an individual with any type of disability is invited to apply. You will not be required to disclose your specific disability; however, your application for this program will signify that you consider yourself a person with a disability. Please Note: This fellowship is specifically for people with disabilities.  [Read more…]

NCIL Applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision Strengthening Standards for Students with Disabilities

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided in favor of a student with a disability in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. Last week’s decision sets a more rigorous standard for special education services, stating that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) demands educational programs to be “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingIDEA requires that disabled students be provided a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Reinforced by the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court Rowley decision, the requirement for students with disabilities has been that schools provide for educational benefit “merely more than de minimis,” or just above insignificant. This low threshold for FAPE has resulted in weak standards for students with disabilities for decades, including Individualized Education Program (IEP) accommodation denials.

This decision sets a standard that is “more demanding than ‘merely more than de minimis,'” stating that while each student’s goals may differ, “every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.” Maureen Hollowell, NCIL’s Education Subcommittee Chair, said, “for years students with disabilities have been held back from making academic progress because of a very low standard established by schools and the courts. Today the U.S. Supreme Court gave a new generation of children opportunities, IF we empower students and families to use this new standard.”

YO! Disabled and Proud Blog Seeks 2017 Submissions!

Are you interested in writing for YO! Blog?

YO! Disabled and Proud is looking for contributors to share their experiences on several topics viewed through the lens of disability for our blog such as: Leadership & Empowerment, Anti-Bullying, Disability History and Education, Healthcare and Fighting the Medical Model, and Intersectional Issues.

The only requirements are that writers identify as a person with a disability and are between the ages of 16 and 28.

Check out the topics they’re seeking submissions for, as well as the Guidelines for YO! Blog Guest Writers at