Youth Leadership Toolkit

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Youth Leadership Toolkit


Independent Living Research Utilization

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President Obama states that, "We must build a world free of unnecessary barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination.... policies must be developed, attitudes must be shaped, and buildings and organizations must be designed to ensure that everyone has a chance to get the education they need and live independently as full citizens in their communities" (White House, 2008). He further explains that one of the most important measures of any society is how well it enables each person to live up to his or her potential, and that providing the needed supports and services for individuals with disabilities to succeed goes to the heart of our nation's future (Disability Nation, 2008). President Obama's comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with disabilities includes providing the educational opportunities they need to succeed, ending discrimination and promoting equal opportunity, increasing the employment rate of workers with disabilities, and supporting independent, community-based living (Obama, 2009). The inclusion and meaningful participation of youth with disabilities in educational, employment, social, community and leadership activities is vital to their future success and achievement of their life goals.

The involvement of youth and young adults with disabilities is also a vital component of effective service provision. There has been a concerted effort to include parents in medical care decisions, administration of services, and establishment of policies. Inclusion of both parents and young adults at all levels is an important step toward supporting the growth and independence of youth, and to ensure that services are as effective as possible.