In addition to direct assistance provided to people with disabilities, the Dayle McIntosh Center (DMC) offers services targeted to the community. The purpose of these services is to increase community options for independent living, promote a culture of acceptance and inclusion, and eliminate barriers to equal access.
The following is a brief overview of DMC community involvement:
As individuals with disabilities and subject experts on disability topics, center staff is prepared to provide technical assistance through a variety of methods. DMC service providers represent the interests and concerns of the disability constituency on advisory committees, task forces, and governing boards. Employees offer consultation on laws, regulations, and accessibility standards and make recommendations to ensure compliance. Center representatives conduct training on specific topics related to disability in order to enhance knowledge and skills of participants. Advice is provided by DMC staff regarding methods of accommodating individuals with disabilities in the classroom and on the job.
DMC Representatives conduct presentations to increase disability awareness throughout the community. For example, elementary school students learn about what it is like to be blind or to use a wheelchair. Staff members provide courses in deaf culture and basic sign language. College classes are informed about the history, philosophy, and service delivery methodology of the Independent Living Movement. Law enforcement officers are provided with demonstrations of how to appropriately interact with individuals having specific disabilities.
Educational opportunities are also coordinated for members of the disability community. Participants learn about topics such as voter access, health care screenings, work incentives, renter’s rights, and other matters relevant to independent living. Center staff may provide the training or arrange for an expert from the community to conduct presentations.
Dayle McIntosh Center staff engages in outreach activities such as agency and health fairs, special events, community forums, and media interviews. The purpose of this involvement is to inform targeted populations of assistance available through DMC and to connect with different segments of the population.
Collaboration and Networking
A priority of the Center is to maximize resources and avoid needless duplication of effort. Collaboration allows DMC program coordinators to partner with other organizations in order to expand the scope of assistance available to people with disabilities. Through networking, various entities in the community, come together to share ideas and address issues of mutual concern. DMC employees are members of several coalitions and working groups and provide disability representation through such involvement.
The purpose of systems advocacy is to bring about positive change that will benefit the disability community. Such change may include amended public policies, revisions in operational procedures, passage of legislation, and improvements in standards and regulations. Methods employed include conducting needs assessments, organizing the disability community for action, implementing strategies such as letter-writing, e-mail, and telephone campaigns, testifying at public hearings, developing position papers, using social media as a platform, meeting with legislators and public officials, submitting fact sheets and recommendations for needed change, and soliciting support from other groups with similar interests.