Transitioning to adulthood is a challenge for many young people. This challenge is further heightened for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) as they move from children to adult services. Studies show that individuals with ID are more likely to have poorer post school outcomes relative to their peers without disabilities. Recently, the Tower Foundation provided funding to the Center for Self-Advocacy, a grassroots organization focused on supporting individuals with ID .
The program supports young people (14-26 years old) as they transition and maintain adulthood through peer-facilitated workshops that enhance decision-making skills, self-confidence, and sense of self-work. There are currently 28 individuals attending the workshops. Center for Self-Advocacy is also providing social support groups as a way for participants to have fun and learn skills that help them with the day-to-day challenges of living in the community with a ID. Furthermore, the social groups provide a format for participants to come together in a non-therapeutic environment.
Center for Self-Advocacy believes that individuals with disabilities have a lot to offer to the community. The organization engages families and shares lived experiences that help them understand that their son/daughter can lead a more full and independent life. “These young people are the next generation of self-advocates,” says Samuel Mattle, Center for Self-Advocacy Executive Director.