Orange Resident Selected for Texas Partners in Policymaking Program Alyson Parish to Participate in Advanced Disability Advocacy Training


Last updated 10/1/2019 at Noon

Alyson Parish of Orange was selected for Texas Partners in Policymaking, a statewide leadership training program designed to impact disability-related policies in Texas.

Texas Partners in Policymaking is an advanced leadership development training program for self-advocates and parents of children with developmental disabilities (DD). Graduates from the program will become partners with policymakers in Texas and work to improve the lives of people with DD.

Over the course of the nine-month program, participants will attend training sessions in Austin and San Antonio. During the trainings, state and national experts will cover topics such as disability history, inclusive education, the Texas Legislature, and more. Ultimately, graduates will work to influence policy and change systems so more people with DD are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. Some graduates might go on to become policymakers themselves.

Alyson Parish lives in Orange and was chosen from a statewide pool of applicants.

As the parent of a child with a disability, Parish applied for Texas Partners in Policymaking because she wants to make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families.

Inspired by the various, unique situations she has faced raising her child, Parish feels the current barriers – created in-part by system structure, limited services, and a lack of access to resources – and protections for both children and adults with disabilities can be drastically improved.

Through proper public awareness, education, and advocacy, the current situation for people with disabilities in Texas can be improved.

Parish plans to use what she learns in the program so she can act as a catalyst for policy and systems change, while simultaneously maintaining best practices beneficial to all members of society, as well as all levels of government.

“Disability does not discriminate in any form or fashion,” said Parish. “No person is immune to the possibility of being personally affected at any moment in life by disability – sometimes abruptly and without warning due to various factors or situations out of our control. Once one understands there are simply some situations we may encounter in life that we cannot control, we can then appreciate that we do have the ability to control how we react to the situations we encounter in life, embracing new ideas for positive transformation and change.”

A total of 33 participants from across the state were selected for the 2020 class of Texas Partners in Policymaking. Participants will join a network that includes 675 graduates in Texas and more than 27,000 graduates worldwide. The 2020 class will graduate in May 2020.

Texas Partners in Policymaking is funded by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD). The mission of TCDD is to create change so that all people with disabilities are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.

About the program: Established in 1987, numerous Partners in Policymaking™ programs have been conducted in the United States and around the globe, resulting in more than 27,000 graduates worldwide who are creating positive change in their communities.


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