Family Voices was founded on the principle of advocacy: parents as advocates, kids as advocates, professionals as advocates. Without the brave actions and courageous words of advocates around the globe, people from every walk of life experience greater trials and less progress. Individuals with special needs are no exception to that rule. It takes fervor and faith to step out and speak up. It takes drive and the will to hear “Yes!” And, it takes leaders, such as Melody Cooper, President of Self-Advocates of Indiana (SAI) to rally the troops and motivate others to do the same. “Self advocacy is important because it gives people with disabilities an opportunity to stand up for their rights and know what they want for their life as a person with a disability. It gives you the strength to know that you can make it.” states SAI’s 2011 annual report. These principles resonated loudly during my talk with Ms. Cooper. Melody Cooper first realized the need to be her own advocate when
Family Voices Indiana is a family-led organization that provides information, education, training, outreach, and peer support to families of children and youth with special health care needs and the professionals who serve them.