The Truth Comes From Us: Supporting Workers with Developmental Disabilities

Inclusion is a birthright and work is a human right. Every American has the right to work in their community without any kind of discrimination. People with disabilities can work and handle a job. We know what we are doing. We know how to speak up and speak out for ourselves.

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) is a self advocacy organization. Founded in 1990, we have been working hard for the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in our communities throughout the 50 states for 26 years. Our non-profit advocacy organization is run by a board of 16 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities representing nine regions of the country.

Information for this paper was gathered by a team of four SABE board members and three people from state self-advocacy organizations. We reviewed policy statements and presentations written by SABE members during the past five years. We also talked to:

• current and former SABE board members from all regions of the United States; 
•peer leaders representing the New England states and New York during a regional meeting in May 2015;
• at least 45 self-advocates from all over Vermont during a statewide meeting in June 2015.

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities shared their perspectives based on their personal experience receiving support to work. Once the SABE team reviewed the information, we identified several themes from what self-advocates shared.

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