Resources on advocacy, self-advocacy
and disability legislation/policy
Brain Injury Association of Montana Lists local support groups.
Disability Rights Montana (formerly Montana Advocacy Program) Federally-legislated non-profit administers eight Protection and Advocacy programs and one private program that advocate for the rights of Montanans with disabilities. Professional advocates and attorneys are on staff.
Living Well with a Disability Based at The University of Montana Rural Institute, this 8-week Health Promotion Workshop teaches tools that help people with disabilities continue to do the things they enjoy. Topics include goal setting, problem solving, optimistic thinking, avoiding depression, healthy communication, information seeking, nutrition, physical activity, advocacy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Montana Association for the Blind (MAB) – This statewide, nonprofit, self-help consumer organization works for the social and economic improvement of Montanans with visual impairments.
Montana Association for the Deaf (MAD) – This organization advocates for the social, legal, educational, and economic welfare of deaf Montanans.
The Montana Center for Inclusive Education (MCIE) The Montana Center for Inclusive Education is a unique public service unit of Montana State University Billings that operates a number of externally funded projects. The center serves the diverse population of Montana and provides continuing professional development opportunities for educators and direct service providers.
Montana Council on Developmental Disabilities Citizen-based advocacy group appointed by Montana’s Governor. The Council administers federal funds to help provide comprehensive services to persons with developmental disabilities; to help the state in appropriate planning activities; and to contract with public and private agencies to establish model programs, demonstrate innovative habilitation techniques and to train professional and paraprofessional personnel who provide services to persons with developmental disabilities.
Montana Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (“Deaf Center”) This division of the Montana Association of the Deaf is a nonprofit organization providing an array of services to deaf and hard of hearing Montanans.
Montana Fair Housing Full service, private, non-profit organization dedicated to the reduction and eradication of housing discrimination in Montana. Serves Montana housing providers and consumers and responds to inquiries and discriminatory housing complaints. Provides information and support to consumers and industry representatives, investigates allegations of housing discrimination, counsels victims of housing discrimination and assists them in filing federal and state complaints.
Montana Law Help Provides legal information and resources to low and moderate-income Montana residents. The site now offers “LiveHelp” which connects visitors to a legal specialist who can help them find online information and resources.
Montana Legal Services Association is part of the national Legal Services Corporation, a federally funded not-for-profit corporation which provides legal assistance to low-income clients with civil problems. Eligible clients do not need to pay for services, although court costs and related fees may still be the client’s responsibility.
Montana Long-term Care Ombudsman Program Long-term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Montana Mental Disabilities Board of Visitors Provides independent oversight of Montana’s residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities and mental health facilities for people with mental illnesses, and assures that their treatment is humane, consistent with established clinical and other professional standards, and meets the standards set by state law. Advocates for development of high-quality, effective, compassionate treatment services and protects the rights of people receiving services from Montana’s residential and mental health facilities.
Montana Statewide Independent Living Council (SILK) Jointly develops the State Plan for Independent Living with Montana Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living Centers. The Council also monitors, reviews, and evaluates the implementation of the State Plan.
Montana Youth Leadership Forum is a career and leadership training program for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors with disabilities. By serving as delegates from their communities at a 5-day intensive training, youth with disabilities cultivate leadership, citizenship, and social skills.
Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS.org) This University of Montana Rural Institute site describes the Social Security Work Incentive PASS, and has a searchable database of successful Plans and related resources.
Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids (PLUK) is a private, nonprofit organization formed in 1984 by Montana parents of children with disabilities and chronic illnesses to provide information, support, training and assistance useful to their children at home, school and as adults. PLUK serves families and individuals with disabilities of any age and at no cost.
Rocky Mountain Americans with Disabilities Act Leadership Network Provides assistance on ADA implementation.
Working for Equality and Economic Liberation (Helena) WEEL is a grassroots, economic and social justice organization made up of people experiencing poverty. WEEL members and their supporters use advocacy, action, and education to eradicate the myths, stereotypes, and stigmas that are harmful to low-income families. The priority is to ensure that those most affected by poverty are civically engaged and part of the democratic process from voting to policy creation and implementation.
Ability Magazine focuses on disability related issues
Accessing Safety Initiative helps organizations and communities meet the needs of women with disabilities & Deaf women who are victims or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, & stalking.
ADA Infonet Provides information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accessible education-based information technology.
ADAPT (American Disabled For Attendant Programs Today) Works to reverse the current and historical bias toward institutional facilities so that community based attendant services are the common option, and nursing homes are reserved as a last resort.
Advice for Teaching with a Chronic Illness: The STEPS guide helps teachers understand their rights under the American Disabilities Act, decide who at school to tell about their condition, and find ways to overcome the teaching challenges their specific condition presents. It also features powerful advice from a teacher who has lost her hair due to alopecia.
Advocating Change Together (ACT) Grassroots disability rights organization run by and for people with developmental and other disabilities. ACT helps people see themselves as part of a larger disability rights movement and make connections to other civil and human rights struggles.
Alliance for Health Reform A non-partisan, non-profit group that provides objective health-related information in a number of formats to journalists, elected officials and their staffs, and other shapers of public opinion.
American Association of People with Disabilities American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is dedicated to ensuring economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment for Americans with disabilities. The AAPD works in coalition with other disability organizations for the full implementation and enforcement of disability nondiscrimination laws.
- Justice For All. Defends and advances disability rights and programs in the Congress, and works with national and state organizations of people with disabilities to get the word out from Washington D.C. to the grassroots.
Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page, U.S. Department of Justice site provides publications, links to other Federal departments with ADA oversight, technical assistance, information & referral services, and news.
Association for the Rights of Citizens with Disabilities, The ARC Educates the public about the needs of this nation’s 6 million citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Autism National Committee is the only autism advocacy organization dedicated to “Social Justice for All Citizens with Autism” through a shared vision and a commitment to positive approaches. AUTCOM protects and advances the human rights and civil rights of all persons with autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and related differences of communication and behavior.
Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is a non-profit organization run by and for Autistic people to provide support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to change public perception and combat misinformation by educating communities about persons on the autism spectrum.
Barrier Breakers This for-profit business offers Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) writing, benefits counseling, and training services. It also sells posters, PASS kits, and vocational rehabilitation materials. The web site provides Action Alerts, links to other web sites, information and a Social Security chat room.
Beach Center on Disability Publishes books, manuals and other materials on self-determination. Self-determination is the concept that a person with a disability should have the opportunity to choose what happens to himself, to receive education that enables him or her to make a choice, to be supported in making/carrying out a choice, and (consistent with age of majority and competence/incompetence) to be assured that others will heed the choice.
Brain Injury Resource Center site is for those who want to learn about the effects of brain injury in daily life.
Center for an Accessible Society. Posts significant disability newsworthy items, arranged by topic and written in journalistic style. Links to background material, original source material, and topical experts. Weekly electronic newsletter.
Center for Medicare Advocacy. Helps individuals appeal Medicare benefit denials.
Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy: Provides public education, leadership development and training, technical assistance and information dissemination, and conducts action-research and analysis of public policy issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.
Clearinghouse for the Community Living Exchange Collaborative provides information and training and technical assistance to state and territorial recipients of Systems Change Grants for Community Living.
- Nursing Home to Community Program: A Discharge Planning Manual (PDF) Designed to orient long-term care providers to the nursing home discharge process. Defines roles of the key partners who are involved in returning residents to community living and documents a standard protocol for accessing and maximizing partner resources.
Congress.gov. Library of Congress site tracks the status of legislation and voting records of Congressional members.
Congress.Org. Links to elected officials, current issues and legislation, and media resources.
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Disability Right Office Provides technical assistance to people with disabilities, businesses, and government agencies on their rights and responsibilities to facilitate disability access in the foundations and frontiers of telecommunications.
Disability and Personal Rights Project Dedicated to the personal rights of children and adults with disabilities, with a mission to prevent abuse of people with disabilities and protect others from abuses that lead to disability.
Disability Data in National Surveys The federal government collects extensive disability survey and administrative data used by federal and state agencies for a variety of purposes. This report, from the Mathematica Policy Research Center for Studying Disability Policy, presents the findings from a review of the disability-related information and other key features of 40 existing national surveys sponsored by the federal government.
Disability Services at USA.GOV One-stop online access to disability-related resources, services, and information available throughout the Federal government.
Disability Law Resource Project Resource on the Americans with Disabilities Act, related laws, and making information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
Disability Matters with Joyce Bender One of the first international talk radio shows with real-time captioning. Focused on the employment and empowerment of people with disabilities, Disability Matters is on http://www.voiceamerica.com every Tuesday from 2:00pm – 3:00 pm Eastern Time.
Disability Rights Education Defense Fund National law and policy center which protects and advances the civil rights of people with disabilities through legislation, litigation, advocacy, technical assistance, and education and training of attorneys, advocates, persons with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities.
Disabled American Veterans provides free assistance to veterans in obtaining benefits and services earned through their military service. It is fully funded through its membership dues and public contributions. It is not a government agency and receives no government funds.
Easter Seals provides services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities.
Express Yourself! Self-determination tool from the UIC National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability. Users can pinpoint areas of their lives (such as money or relationships) where they’d like to have more control and decision-making power, and then learn how to get started by using action-planning and web-based resources. Areas covered in this self-assessment include finances, housing, transportation, employment, community integration, medical treatment, and mental health care.
Families USA The voice for health care consumers
Family and Advocates Partnership for Education Informs and educates families and advocates about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 and promising practices.
Federal Register. Published every business day by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is a legal newspaper containing Federal agency regulations; proposed rules and notices; and Executive orders, proclamations and other Presidential documents. It informs citizens of their rights and obligations and provides access to a wide range of Federal benefits and opportunities for funding.
FindLaw Online legal guides to housing, autos, injuries, money, family, aging & health, work, immigration, education and crime. Provides Find a Lawyer service and information on lawyers and court procedures. Database of law cases and codes, legal subjects, U.S. Federal resources, state resources, and reference resources. Questions and answers can be posted on Community Message Board.
GovExec.com Provides a variety of daily and weekly newsletters and articles on federal government issues.
Health Grades Medicare data on medical services by state. State-of-the-art, interactive Web-based tool helps individuals understand what quality health care is and how to get it. Allows users to compare and rate the quality of healthcare they are receiving with national treatment guidelines. Provides up-to-date information on improving self-care skills to better manage an illness or stay healthy.
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Non-profit, private operating foundation focusing on major health care issues facing the nation. The Foundation is an independent voice and source of facts and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the general public.
Independence through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition raises awareness and builds support for policies that will enhance access to assistive devices, technologies and related services for people with disabilities and chronic conditions. The Coalition is consumer-led and has over seventy member organizations, including disability organizations, aging organizations, other consumer groups, labor organizations, voluntary health associations, and non-profit provider associations.
Institute on Disability Based at the University of New Hampshire. Offers leadership training for individuals with disabilities and their family members.
Judge David Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Legal advocacy for the civil rights and human dignity of people with mental disability.
Kansas Personal Assistance Supports and Services (K-PASS) Self-Direction Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Assist Individuals in Self-Direction Provides information and tools that people with disabilities need to hire personal assistants and manage their PA supports and services. The toolkit includes job descriptions, training information, emergency back-up plans and other useful resources.
Law Enforcement Handbook for Victims with a Disability Published by the Department of Justice to train law enforcement officers in helping crime victims with disabilities, including Alzheimer’s Disease, mental illness, mental retardation, blindness/visual impairments, and/or deafness/hearing impairments.
Law, Health Policy & Disability Center Located at the University of Iowa. Provides information and resources on employment policy, civil rights, asset development and tax policy, technology, Medicaid Buy-In and Work Incentives.
Mindfreedom Support Coalition International Unites 100 grassroots groups and thousands of members to campaign for human rights of people diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities.
- Making Your Case is a 3-hour, self-directed Internet-based learning program for people with developmental disabilities, family members, and concerned citizens. Teaches how to communicate with public officials by effectively telling your personal story, writing a letter, providing testimony, and communicating in positive ways.
- Parallels in Time, Parts 1 and 2 is packed with hundreds of photos, videos and documents associated with the important societal and legislative milestones from 1950 through 2005. Sections include A Place To Call Home, Definitions and Perspectives on Disability, A Place To Learn, Real Work, and more.
National Alliance on Mental Illness To subscribe to “E-News” alerts on legislative/policy issues affecting individuals with mental illness, choose “Inform Yourself”. Then click on “About Public Policy”. Then select “Current Policy News and Alerts”.
National Coalition of Mental Health Consumers/Survivor Organizations National coalition ensures that consumers play a major role in the development and implementation of health and mental health care and social policies at the state and national levels.
National Committee on Quality Assurance. NCQA is an independent, non-profit organization which evaluates and reports on the quality of the nation’s managed care organizations. It provides information useful when deciding which health plan to choose for individual, family, or employee coverage.
National Conference of State Legislators. Links to legislative and other issues faced by state legislatures.
National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth is a youth-led resource, information, and training center for youth and emerging leaders with developmental disabilities, housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership and funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.
National Council on Disability Independent federal agency makes recommendations to the President and Congress to enhance the quality of life for all Americans with disabilities and their families. NCD is composed of 15 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
National Disability Rights Network is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities.
National Health Law Program. Publishes An Advocate’s Guide to the Medicaid Program and other resources.
National Indian Parent Information Center provides information on disability issues (especially the special education process) for Native family members who have children with disabilities and the professionals who work with them. The Center provides workshops on and off reservations to Tribes, Nations and Clans on disability laws and parent leadership. Services for families are at no cost to family members.
National Organization on Disability expands the participation and contribution of America’s 54 million citizens with disabilities in all aspects of life. N.O.D. raises disability awareness through the following programs: National EmployAbility Partnership; Community Partnership Program (helping communities become disability-friendly); Accessible America Award; National Partnership Program; CEO Council; Emergency Preparedness Initiative; N.O.D./Harris Surveys; Religion and Disability Program; World Committee on Disability; FDR International Disability Award; Start on Success (paid internships for high school students with disabilities); and the FDR Wheelchair Statue Campaign.
National Patient Advocate Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to policy and legislative reform at the state and federal levels that improves access to, and reimbursement for, evolving therapies, therapeutic agents, and devices.
- Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.
National Rehabilitation Information Center Resources for employment, advocacy, benefits and financial assistance, education, technology, and more.
National Spinal Cord Injury Association. On-line Resource Center provides an overview of spinal cord injury and disease, lists support resources, and updates visitors on research studies, political action initiatives and news stories.
National Technical Assistance Center for Voting and Cognitive Access helps protection and advocacy systems, election officials and people with disabilities make voting accessible for citizens with cognitive disabilities and visual disabilities.
National Youth Leadership Network, sponsored by US Department of Education, National Council on Disability, Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities, Social Security Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and US Department of Labor.
Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc. An Internet legal reference on employment, health care and benefits.
Not Dead Yet Opposes the assisted suicide and euthanasia movement, and advocates for appropriate services to support individuals with disability, chronic and terminal illness.
Partners in Policymaking Innovative, competency-based leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities.
Paralyzed Veterans of America. Provides resources for professionals and for people with paralysis, including “Living with SCI” area, sports and recreation resources, research and education and national advocacy.
Patient Rights and Responsibilities booklet published by Project MED (PDF format) (Medication EDucation for Consumers) at the Nisonger Center. Booklets are available in English and Spanish, and are designed for children, adolescents, and people with mental retardation, autism, reading difficulties, and/or severe mental illness. Each booklet costs $1.50, plus shipping and handling. Ordering information and sample pages are on the web site.
Polio Survivors Association Based in California, PSA works with other organizations and agencies to promote public policies that encourage home care for people with disabilities.Dedicated to education, advocacy, and support — provides educational material to those polio survivors who are experiencing the late effects of poliomyelitis and works closely with physicians and local polio support groups.
Ragged Edge This magazine focuses on disability and advocacy issues.
Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health (PDF format) Describes stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness, how to counter this behavior, and what resources are available. Provides literature, speakers and information.
Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) ensures that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends; and to learn from their mistakes.
Sibling Support Project is a national effort dedicated to the life-long concerns of brothers and sisters of people who have special health, developmental, or mental health concerns.
Social Security Disability Secrets Offers tips, secrets and advice on how to win Social Security Disability or SSI benefits.
Spina Bifida Association of America Addresses the specific needs of infants, children and adults with spina bifida, their families, and professionals who serve them. As the national representative of over 70 chapters, provides information and referral services, publishes materials, funds research, provides training, and conducts individual and systems advocacy.
TASH The Association of People with Severe Handicaps is an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm.
United Spinal Association is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans to improve the quality of life of Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders. Membership is free and open to all individuals with spinal cord injuries and diseases.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights. Describes an individual’s educational rights under U.S. law and provides many resources for minority students and students with disabilities.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. Has information on the New Freedom Initiatives.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act Questions and Answers
- Guide to Disability Rights Law. Booklet describing ten federal disability rights laws that prohibit discrimination and establish the rights of people with disabilities to live a life of independence and dignity in the mainstream of America. Provides information on where to turn for help from the federal government in protecting your civil rights.
Vote 411 was launched by the League of Women Voters Education Fund in October of 2006, VOTE411.org is a “one-stop-shop” for election related information. It provides nonpartisan information to the public with both general and state-specific information on the following aspects of the election process: Absentee ballot information; Ballot measure information (where applicable); Early voting options (where applicable); Election dates; Factual data on candidates in various federal, state and local races; General information on such topics as how to watch debates with a critical eye; ID requirements; Polling place locations; Registration deadlines; Voter qualifications; Voter registration forms, and Voting machines.
World Association of People with Disabilities Advances the interests of people with disabilities on the national, state, local and individual levels. Chat room, resources, speakers’ bureau, free e-mail.
Wrightslaw Information and training about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
- Wrightslaw Game Plan: Smart IEPs Tutorials and checklists to help parents and teachers write effective Individualized Education Programs