Where can you find facts and numbers for that grant you’re writing?

Our friends at RTC:Rurual, the Research and Training Center on Disabilities in Rural Communities, have released some important data. Check out Disability counts by county. The resulting table will include: population estimates and margins of error, disability rates, and rural-urban classification. You can also Download the full dataset for all counties in all states (zip format)

Click on the links below to explore more data about disability demographics across the United States: 

Disability by Census Region and Division

Disability by Gender

Disability by Age and County

Disability by Type and County

Disability by Race and Hispanic Origin

Disability and Veterans

Disability and Poverty

Disability and Employment

This work is part of the Geography of Disability Project.

Suggested Citation: Myers, A., Greiman, L., von Reichert, C., and Seekins, T. (July, 2016). Rural Matters: The Geography of Disability in Rural America. Missoula, MT: The University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities.

You may also find these sources useful:

American Fact Finder for economic as well as population information from the latest Census.

Survey of Income and Program Participation (also from the Census bureau).

IPUMS for review of economic, social and health figures over time.

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Systems change advocacy – six effective strategies

I was readying an article in Non-Profit Quarterly recently, an article about how to change an established system.  I was reminded of a few important principles around system change.

  1. We are not the only group in the world working for change. Economists look to change markers related to money — interest rates, wages, taxes — in order to change how the economy works. Other social justice entities look to change society and its perceptions and prejudices for much the same reason we do — in order to remove barriers and change attitudes. We can learn from each other in the IL movement. We can also learn from the world around us if we are paying attention.
  2. There is always a leverage point where you can apply pressure for change. Jay Forrester said of these leverage points, “People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I’ve done an analysis of a company, and I’ve figured out a leverage point. Then I’ve gone to the company and discovered that everyone is pushing it in the wrong direction!” Finding the right leverage points is key. As you approach any system change effort in your community, consider where you can apply pressure to get the change you want. Do you know and have a relationship with someone in power in the situation? Is this a time to enlist public support by getting on the news? Is there a legal aspect that can be explored? Do you have facts, figures, data that will apply the right leverage?
  3. Just because a method of pushing for change worked once, doesn’t mean it will be effective the next time. Continually assess whether your efforts are getting the results you intend. If not, step back and analyze why not. Then adjust your strategies to get a better response. This is something you should measure if you want peak effectiveness in your Systems Change advocacy efforts. Sometimes gathering the troops, circling the target with signs and shouts, is extremely effective. In other situations, the target for change becomes more and more entrenched. When that happens, it is time to see if other leverage points can get a different result.
  4. Measure the things you need to know. Donella Meadows wrote, “In 1986 the U.S. government required that every factory releasing hazardous air pollutants report those emissions publicly. Suddenly everyone could find out precisely what was coming out of the smokestacks in town. There was no law against those emissions, no fines, no determination of “safe” levels, just information. But by 1990 emissions dropped 40 percent. One chemical company that found itself on the Top Ten Polluters list reduced its emissions by 90 percent, just to ‘get off that list.’” Information can power change, if it is the right information and is put in front of those who need to change.” What information loops are in place to measure what concerns you? Use them.
  5. Pay attention to the rules.  Rules — laws, policies, or even unwritten social rules — can drive change. Change the rules and the system will be required to follow. Meadows also said, “If you want to understand the deepest malfunctions of systems, pay attention to the rules, and to who has power over them.” A review of the rules in a system fraught with barriers may very well tell you where that system is malfunctioning.
  6. Sometimes you need to break away from the old rules and start over. We have all seen those systems that are inflexible and difficult to change. Sometimes those systems need to go, and something new needs to take its place. “”Any system, biological, economic, or social, that scorns experimentation and wipes out the raw material of innovation is doomed over the long term on this highly variable planet. The intervention point here is obvious but unpopular. Encouraging diversity means losing control. Let a thousand flowers bloom and ANYTHING could happen! Who wants that?” – Donella Meadows

Independent Living Philosophy teaches us that we should have equal access in our communities, and each of us defines where access is compromised and where our systems advocacy efforts will be focused.  The point of system change advocacy is equality. It is change we work for every day.

Donella Meadows is an ecologist and founder of the Donella Meadows Institute who died suddenly of meningitis on February 20, 2001. Meadows wrote extensively about economic systems and sustainability, and wrote and worked tirelessly on behalf of the Earth.

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7 Frequently Asked Questions about Youth Transition

Independent Living Services for Children and Youth with Disabilities (continued from May 2)
On April 14, 2017, Bob Williams, Director of Independent Living Administration, provided additional explanation regarding services by Centers to youth, related both to the more traditional IL services and to the new core service of transition, specifically to youth and young adults with disabilities as they transition to postsecondary life once they are no longer receiving a secondary education. The full text of the letter and guidance can be found on our website.  Here are seven questions addressed in that information.

  1. What are core transition services for “out-of-school youth”?
    Core transition services for out-of-school youth are found in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act), Sec. 7 (17)(E)(iii). This
    category covers services designed and provided by the CIL specifically to facilitate the successful transition of youth to post-secondary life. A CIL can also provide other core services that meet this aim.
  2. What does the phrase “out-of-school youth” mean?
    It refers to youth with significant disabilities ages 14 to 24 who have completed their secondary education or otherwise are no longer in a secondary education or special education program. Such youth include those enrolled in a GED or post-secondary education program (e.g., college, career development or related programs). (Note from Paula – I think this is an important clarification, and it is good to know that enrollment in a GED program is not considered part of secondary school.)
  3. Do students have to have had an individualized education program (IEP) for the CIL to provide core transition services for out-of-school youth?
    No, the criteria that must be met is eligibility for an IEP. The eligibility criteria for out-of-school youth to receive these services are set forth in the Act (as amended by WIOA) at Sec. 7(17) (E) (iii). Only youth “Who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school may be eligible to receive these services. (Emphasis added). However, it is permissible, and in many instances appropriate, to provide the same or similar services and assistance to both youth that are eligible for the new core services and those that are not eligible. (See Q4 and Q5.)
    Written documentation is not required, but rather, is based on self-report by the consumer and/or his/her guardian that he or she was eligible for an IEP. (Note from Paula – this clarification is extremely helpful. A youth can self-disclose that s/he was eligible for an IEP when they were attending school.)
  4. May CILs provide the same or similar services and assistance to secondary school students as they would to out-of-school youth who are eligible for new core services?
    Yes, this is permissible and in many instances appropriate to do. CILs that do this, however, must be sure to distinguish in their reporting between services provided to youth who are eligible to receive the new core service for youth and services provided to other youth who do not meet this definition and report accordingly. While the reporting requirements are different, ILA strongly encourages CILs to design and provide services and assistance that empower and strengthens the independence and self-determination of young people with significant disabilities in a coordinated, sequenced and seamless manner that builds lifelong success.
  5. May CILs provide core transition services for out-of-school youth to students who were not eligible for an IEP, such as those that had a Section 504 plan when they were in school?
    It is permissible, and in many instances appropriate, to provide the same or similar services and assistance to both youth that are eligible for the new core services and those that are not eligible. However, these would not be considered “core transition services” as created by WIOA.
    When this is done the CIL must be sure to distinguish in its reporting between services provided to youth who are eligible to receive the new core service for youth and services provided to other youth who do not meet this definition and report accordingly. It’s also important to note that students who were eligible for an IEP, but chose to be served under a 504 plan, would be considered eligible for the new core service for youth if the other criteria are met.
  6. What is the age range within which services can be provided for transition of youth core services?
    The Centers for Independent Living regulations at 45 CFR 1329.4 define “youth with a significant disability” to include the age range of 14-24. Transition of youth core services may be provided within this age range. General core transition services for out-of-school youth are available to individuals according to the CIL’s eligibility criteria.
  7. What are requirements for transition of youth for students with disabilities who were home-schooled or who attended private school or public charter schools?
    The criteria that must be met is eligibility for an IEP. As is the case with public school students, documentation is not required, but rather, is based on self-report by the consumer and/or his/her guardian that he or she was found eligible for an IEP.

Please Note: If you have additional questions, please contact your state project officer or the CIL training and technical assistance center at www.ilru.org. Specific training is also available at http://www.ilru.org/topics/youth-transition.

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Who are the Youth in Youth Transition?

Independent Living Services for Children and Youth with Disabilities
On April 14, 2017, Bob Williams, Director of Independent Living Administration, provided additional explanation regarding services by Centers to youth, related both to the more traditional IL services and to the new core service of transition, specifically to youth and young adults with disabilities as they transition to postsecondary life once they are no longer receiving a secondary education. The full text of the letter and guidance can be found on our website.  Here are some key points.

  • Centers for Independent Living (CILs) must provide independent living (IL) core services to individuals with a significant disability, regardless of age, income or disability type. This includes services to children and youth with disabilities. Recent changes to the law and regulations have not changed this general requirement.
  • In the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) Congress added new IL core services that target specific populations. This includes a focus on youth who are out of school. The text of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Sec. 7 (17) (E) says that centers are to:
    (iii) Facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school, to postsecondary life.
  • WIOA defines youth with a disability to mean “an individual with a disability who is not younger than 14 years of age; and is not older than 24 years of age.” ACL adopted this definition in the final IL regulation. This differs from the definitions that others might choose, including NCIL who defines a youth as someone through age 26.
  • IL services are available to pre-school children, youth who are in school, and youth who are out of school. To help understand the full spectrum of services available, it is essential to recognize the distinction between the core transition services for out-of-school youth with significant disabilities and other IL services provided to pre-school children and youth who are still in school.
    You will need to determine how the service provided to a youth with a disability should be captured and reported on the annual performance report. A service provided to a child or youth with disabilities too young for or enrolled in a secondary education program would NOT be captured and reported as a new youth-in-transition core service. The service would be captured and reported as another IL service. A service provided to a youth with disabilities who is no longer in a secondary school and satisfies other regulatory criteria, may be captured and reported as a new core service. The FAQ sheet includes a chart to better clarify how youth should be counted when reporting their services.
  • The Act remains unchanged in IL services CILs may offer pre-school and youth in school. Services include: “training to develop skills … (that) promote self-awareness and esteem, develop advocacy and self-empowerment skills, and explore career options” and other “services to children”. (Section 7 (18)(B)(xvi) and (xvii).
    WIOA adds new core services to the Act that include: “Facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school, to postsecondary life.

We will examine this further in the next post to this blog.

 

Help! Our Center is in a rut!

Request: Our Center is in a rut. We need some ideas to energize our future.

As you know, our CIL has been stuck in a rut for quite a few years and we are trying to shake things up and get back to our IL roots.  A large part of the problem as I see it is that we’ve become hyper-focused on providing durable medical equipment and home modifications while forgoing almost all of our core service obligations. We’ve been working through our strategic plan from last year and it’s time to make some major changes.  I am meeting with our IL Specialists next week and I have chosen to highlight three strategies to break us out of this rut.  1) We need to change our standard procedure of meeting consumers in their homes and instead encourage meeting at our centers.  I think we have unintentionally perpetuated isolation and segregation.  I realize there will be times that home visits are necessary but I want that to be the exception only when the situation truly warrants it.  2)  I want to increase opportunities to get people connected which means focusing on peer/group services instead of always working with consumers 1:1.   3) I want to redesign our intake process to move away from a “needs assessment.”  We are viewing consumers strictly as people to be served and missing so many opportunities to bring bright, capable people with disabilities to our center to help us carry out our mission.

Reply:  I think you are definitely taking a thoughtful approach to building the disability community in your corner of the world. I sometimes encourage that exact approach — stop seeing yourselves as service providers and instead see yourselves as the locus for the disability community to gather and grow and take on their power. Peer support is a vital part of this, and you may want to consider some one-on-one support in addition to groups. Your three emphases are good but I would like to suggest a few more (which may be methods more than areas of emphasis).

When I visit centers, I think it is helpful to clearly be a center, with that wonderful disability history displayed so everyone who comes in can soak it up.Readers, if your CIL or SILC is visually tied to the Movement, post described photos in the comments so we can see what that looks like.

Buy some posters and art that show the disability experience. You may have artists in your area and could have a contest as part of your re-imaging, or you can get them from elsewhere in the movement.  I have some favorites. This first is tricky — it is a poem by Laura Hershey called You Get Proud by Practicing. She has passed away and I am not sure who is still distributing it. I found a photo of it and there is still a site for LauraHershey.com and the text version is available, but I haven’t found where to purchase the actual poster, which is framable. You can find some other  posters and other Disability rights products on line.   You will also want to check out Tom Olin’s photographs on the ADA Legacy page.

If you ever get to Atlantis in Denver, CO or to the Silicon Valley ILC in San Jose, CA, both those centers have a dramatic visual impact with the history  (and interpreters who will give descriptions)  as an integrel part of the environment. I am sure there are many more. (If you are reading this and your center is one of those, send me a photo and we’ll post some examples.)

A google search will find you more. I used “disability rights posters”. To do this right you need to frame the posters or other art nicely, and consider lighting some of them if you can. You want people with disabilities to look around and say, “Hey, I’m home!” This isn’t a quick fix. As you think about this you will see other possibilities — some free year to year from disability related organizations, others as you visit the booths at national conferences.

The second thing you can consider is how to involve youth. Those centers that have an active, after-school youth peer support group are typically strong and fun centers. Youth bring a kind of energy and excitement with them to your buildings. Sometimes schools will help pay for this. Sometimes someone like Kiwanis or Rotary that encourage youth will help pay for things like food that your grants can’t pay for.

The last aspect you may want to think about is how bringing people into your center will lead to systems advocacy. This can be controversial but frankly, if all people do when they come to your center is talk to each other in “group” you won’t grow that audience. They need to know their own power and go out and make a difference somehow.

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An Anniversary of Note…40 years!

The picket sign that Ken carriedIt almost slipped by me, the important anniversary of the sit-ins that are described in this  post by advocate Ken Stein of DREDF in Berkely.  He gives links to video about this important day.

April 5, 1977, was the beginning date of the occupation of the offices of Health, Education and Welfare in San Francisco. Our brothers and sisters stayed for 26 days and  before they would depart, demanded to read the new regulations that provided Section 504 of the Rehab Act, which granted equal rights to all persons with disabilities to access federally funded programs and services.

The sit-ins happened in other cities, but the longest was in San Francisco. Looking back, I am amazed at the coordination of these protests at a time that pre-dated the internet. Do you know what a “telephone tree” was? National leaders had key folks they could call to alert about what was happening nationally, and then those regional leaders would call their local leaders, and the local leaders would call their list of contacts to get the word out.

This was the beginning of our understanding as a movement that access was directly connected to disability rights. This law required access for federally funded organizations, later interpreted to apply to state and local entities funded with federal dollars. We finaly refused to be grateful for what little access we could scrape  together, and to demand equal access because that access is a key component of equal rights. In 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, this right to  equal access was expanded to include access to all public spaces and services.

When I provide training in this history I often ask if the students feel that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been fully implemented/ Typically they answer, “No.” Unfortunately, the American’s with Disabilities Act (passed  26 years later) has not been fully implemented, either. As advocates let’s take a page from the playbook from 40 years ago, and demand and keep demanding equality in treatment, services, and access.

(Text of poster: All people with disabilities…the Federal Government is trying to STEAL our Civil Rights. Demonstrate! to Demand signing of 504 Regulations. Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973 was developed by congress to protect the rights of all persons with disabilities in any program receiving federal funds. For four years we have waited for the regulations to be signed. We can wait no longer! Our rights to education, jobs, accessible buildings, day care, medical services, housing, transportation, etc., are being willfully withheld by the Carter administration. Who should join us? All persons with disabilities and supporters of disabled rights. Tuesday, April 5 all day from 10 AM, rally at noon. HEW Office, 50 Fulton Street, San Francisco, United Nations Plaza, (Off BART Civic Center). 504 Emergency Coalition,  2539 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley 94704 Phone Kitty or Jonathon: Days 841-3790 Nights 428-2286. Interpreter for persons who are Deaf will be provided.)

Does it matter what I call you?

I recently discovered a feminist speech by an actor I admire, Dr. Mayim Bialik, also known as Dr. Amy Farrah-Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. It is an awesome speech, delivered with a touch of humor. She even brings in a little science, with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (a theory developed by Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf that states that the structure of a language determines or greatly influences the modes of thought and behavior characteristic of the culture in which it is spoken.) View her captioned video here, then let’s apply what she says to people with disabilities.

We talk about intersectionality between the Disability Rights Movement and other rights movements in our culture, including Civil Rights for people of all ethnicities, the Women’s Movement, the LGBTQ Movement, and others. Sometimes we go beyond rights and talk about justice. We can learn from people who represent one of these other points of view — and often, we ourselves belong to more than one group of people for whom rights, respect and value are in question by others in society. We can relate. And we can learn from each other.

Bialik said, “We have to stop calling women ‘girls’. Why? Because it matters what we call people. Language matters. Words have meaning. And the way we use words changes the way we frame things in our mind….Words have an impact on our sub-conscious.”

Here are some of Bialik’s observations about language and respect, mixed in with some of my own.

  • How can you tell the difference between a girl and a woman? If she has a high school diploma, a child, a degree, a loan or a mortgage, you can be pretty certain she’s a woman. Calling her a girl is not just disrespectful, it is demeaning and implies she is less than an adult. People with disabilities are often treated as children, too. We need to stop calling women, girls and adults with disabilities, kids.
  • Bialik gives a number of examples of ways to  interrupt demeaning language that are somewhat polite, and delivered with a smile, if you want to take that approach to advocating for adult and respectful language.
  • Sometimes the disrespectful language has an unintended but negative impact on the treatment of individuals. I was with a friend of mine in a restaurant when someone came up to him, noted his wheelchair, and asked if he “got out” often. I wasn’t sure whether she meant out of a hospital (post-injury maybe?) or out into the public, but when she patted him on the head I was pretty sure it was the latter. (He directs a large, effective center, btw.)
  • Some demeaning language is disability specific, and while most of us are sensitive to language about our own disability, we may not be as good at respectful language around other disabilities. I am afraid I have heard people who are part of the disability rights/independent living movement call others retarded or crazy. If you have a mental health disability, or a developmental disability, you may have even more to say about respectful language and I hope you will comment here.
  • Remember that the way things are is not the way they must be. Let’s not take on the biases and judgments about others that have been in place since historical times when women — and people with disabilities — weren’t even allowed into the public sphere.

As Dr. Bialik says, it is up to us to change this narrative. Our active advocacy for the respect and value for all people is a key part of our independent living philosophy.

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What is your CIL’s Environment?

Today’s New Century Blog (you should subscribe if you haven’t) cited a number of references on creating an environment of innovation. I began to think about how very different centers can be from each other in their actual offices and locations, and how the setting emerges from the mission and shapes future innovation.

Over the past 38 years I have visited quite a few Centers. Their locations varied, from the Executive Director’s house to store-front office space to large social spaces for the disability community to gather together and do their work. Here are some things to think about related to your Center’s location.

  • Is your office space part of your image, marketing and branding? How visible are you and does your space reflect your mission? Are your name and signage clear and do they communicate to the larger community? If not, is it time to review your name, logo and location in relation to your mission? Is your space accessible to people of any disability? Or are you mostly invisible, hidden away in a back corner out of sight? (Dare I ask if this is an echo of society putting people with disabilities out of sight for so many years?)
  • Does the arrangement of your space — offices, open cubicles, meeting spaces, break areas — give your staff and consumers a chance to interact for peer support, and also to talk about ideas for reaching the disability community in your area? Innovation often emerges from the natural conversations as you address whatever came up that day. Encourage these conversations both for peer support and for the growth of the Center.
  • Are you able to take good ideas from discussion to action? In her November 30 blog article, Three Strategies for Creating a Culture of Everyday, Everywhere Experimentation Polly LaBarre said,”Take a page from the art of improv, where players act in order to discover what comes next. It’s ready, fire, aim—the small experiments of responding to fellow players’ leads, going out on a limb, recovering from a flub, picking up on an unformed idea, are what create the scene. At Stanford’s Institute of Design, known as the d. school, they call this “do to think.” In other words, get your solution out of the isolation of your head or your team room and into a context where you can start learning from the real world.”
  • If you are emphasizing a community based model, how does your space fit that model? Some Centers are intentionally office spaces where staff can touch base, but much of their work is done in the community, in the homes with people seeking their independent lifestyle.  If you are using this kind of model there are some things to consider. Are your staff able to access homes or are many of them inaccessible? Are conversations with consumers confidential or do they always take place in front of family at home or in front of the community at Starbucks? How does peer support take place? How do you mobilize the disability community, and where can you bring them together?

I am working with two centers, which will remain nameless, that are in the process of moving in opposite directions in this decision about space. One has opted for smaller space and home based services, leaving a larger office setting. The other is adding meeting spaces and bringing staff back into locations and spaces where the disability community can meet with them.  For both, this change in spaces is the next logical step as they implement their mission. Both are thoughtful and intentional about these decisions.

That is the bottom line — to be thoughtful ad intentional about your location, the structure of your offices, the potential for growth or collaborations.

Social Media and Your Center

People often tout Social Media as the primary way to connect with consumers, funders and other stakeholders in your Center. Here are a few examples of social media and how you might use them:

Your own website: Most centers maintain a website with basic information about your center and its services. Often this includes key staff and contact information. More and more, before they pick up a phone to talk with you, people check you out on line. Make sure your website is clear about who you are and what you do. Make sure it is accessible. Make sure that you are communicating your message to the disability community around you. Put the address on business cards, stationery and brochures to help people find you. Some centers also use their site as a Portal to Board or Staff information.

Facebook: An online social media and social networking service.  You can create one or more pages for your Center to carry on a conversation with consumers that is either general or focuses on specific elements of your services. You may want a separate page for youth, for example, and feature a calendar of their events along with posts that youths with disabilities are interested in. People can like, share and follow your page to see your posts in their feed.

LinkedIn: A professional network. You choose/invite your contacts and can post professional articles or communicate with your contacts individually. LinkedIn has offices in 30 cities around the world. LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories.

Snapchat: An image messaging and multimedia mobile application. One of the principal concepts of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible. A center using this service would need to examine the accessibility of any images used.

Twitter: An online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, “tweets,” restricted to 140 characters. Registered users can post tweets, links and images. You collect followers who receive your tweets, and may choose to follow or retweet the posts of others.

A WordPress, My Space or other blog: A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page. You are reading a blog maintained by Paula McElwee as part of the IL-Net project for technical assistance. Blogs are typically written by an individual and are somewhat editorial in nature.

You Tube: A video posting site where you can upload short videos about specific topics. These should be captioned for accessibility. Some Centers post about accessibility, independent living skills, history and philosophy of Independent Living and other how-to or historical videos for the field. Some interview people and post the peer support videos of individual experiences.

Google +: This brand-specific option combines your own page about your CIL with videos, invitation lists, calendars, Google describes this as  “a social layer across all of Google’s services”.

Flickr: A popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, and effectively an online community, the service is widely used by photo researchers and by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media.

Pinterest: A photo sharing site where you post your own images or re-post others, using topical boards to categorize them. These images should be described for accessibility.

Soundcloud: A post for podcasts, other audio files. You will want to assure you can caption, or also post a transcription.

Don’t just assign your Facebook page to a youth and let that person do their thing. You want a cohesive message, and that means someone needs to assure that all social media is appropriate. This may, at times, mean editing out a comment that is counter to your mission. Whatever social media you decide to use, make sure that it is:

  • Secure
  • Approved
  • Accessible
  • Provides a consistent message
  • Active and up to date

Thanks to Wikipedia for many of these descriptions.

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