On Wednesday, January 23rd, the CBTP students participated in a self- advocacy/self-determination program at the Martin Professional Development Center. The purpose of the program was to raise the students’ awareness of how important it is to become a self-advocate and what self-determination encompasses. This was also a pre-activity leading up to another event, a trip to Legislative Plaza for Disability Day on the Hill Wednesday, January 30th.
During the first half of the event, the students heard from three self-advocates who shared their experiences in how they have navigated the world, especially the world of work, as an individual with a disability. Mr. Frank Meeuwis, Mr. Scott Finney, both employed by the Arc of Tennessee and Mr. Kevin Burke, a recent graduate from Big Picture School who is employed by the Holiday Inn at Vanderbilt, spoke about their journeys.
The second half consisted of a hands on activity conducted by Step, Inc. (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents), entitled “The Dream Builder” game.
The students were able to identify through pictures, what they wanted their lives to look like after high school and how these desires and goals could be incorporated into their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
The program seemed to be a huge success based on the students’ applause and the big smiles on their faces.