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Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities


​Empowerment through Self-Advocacy

CCDD empowers Self-Advocates with training, awareness activities, and networking. By empowering persons with developmental disabilities and their families to both advocate for themselves and seek long-term solutions through systems change, CCDD creates an environment of self-sufficiency, self-determination, inclusion, and acceptance.

Current Self Advocate Initiatives

Yes! In Kentucky

The YES! program focuses on self-awareness, self-determination, and self-advocacy to enable a successful transition to adult life for individuals with disabilities. The program is founded on the belief that you know yourself the best and by knowing who you are, your likes want, and need, you can set yourself up for success after you leave school. In the Louisville area, YES! consists of a community group and the YES! school program. 

The YES! Community Group seeks to empower individuals (ages 14 and up) with disabilities to become independent, active members of their community through acceptance, education, and advocacy. YES strives to create a space in which all individuals with disabilities are given the freedom to explore themselves and their community, as well as opportunities for community engagement, volunteering, and leadership. Through interactive participation, the YES group educates individuals on the skills needed to help take charge of their life, gain independence, advocate for themselves and successfully participate in school, employment, recreation, and other community activities. The YES Community Group meets monthly and covers a different theme each month.

The In-school YES! Program is a self-advocacy program for students with disabilities in high school designed to help prepare them for post-school life. Each school-based YES group meets for one hour once per month for seven of the nine months of the school year. During the course of those seven sessions, the groups cover the following topics:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Determination
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Social Skills
  • Personal Relationships
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Workplace Behaviors, Problems, and Responsibilities
  • Financial Literacy
  • Other topics that may be raised by participants
The power and uniqueness of the YES! program in the schools lie in its use of peer mentors with disabilities to assist other individuals with disabilities in developing the skills and insights they need to pursue employment. The peer mentors share their experiences, struggles, accomplishments, and dreams with program participants. They offer advice and support to participants. They augment and support the youth transition coordinator in presenting the YES! curriculum. Most important of all, they serve as on-going positive role models as the students prepare for life after school and pursue successful employment. 

More information on the Yes! In Kentucky - Click Here

Kentucky Partners in Policymaking 

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The goal of Kentucky Partners in Policymaking (KPIP) is to accomplish productive partnerships between the people needing and utilizing services and those who form public policy. KPIP was founded on the belief that the most significant and lasting public policy decisions came from the efforts of those most affected by them, working together with public officials and policy experts. KPIP educates participants about present issues and best practices and teaches them about local, state and federal levels legislative processes of policymaking. The program sessions cover and are dedicated to specific topics presented by nationally known experts in their fields. Topics include History of Disabilities & Services, Inclusive Education, Kentucky’s Legislative Process, Social Engagement, Community Organizing, and Systems Change Advocacy.

More information on the KPIP Program - Click Here

Exceptional Family Magazine

"Exceptional Family Ky," is a free statewide magazine that made its debut February 1, 2009, in time for the 874K Conference in Frankfort. This reader-friendly publication has one mission --Empowerment. This magazine offers compelling, first-person accounts by the true experts in the field -- the people experiencing these issues on the front lines. The magazine features stories that appeal to both self-advocates and family members. A statewide resource guide is published in every magazine. 

Click the cover below to view the magazine online. If you have story ideas, would like to be included in the resource guide, or would like to subscribe to the magazine please contact: 

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If you are interested in future events, please contact Nicole Maher- or 502-226-0784