The Oklahoma Self-Advocacy Network (OKSAN) is committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities and to building effective partnerships to help them fully participate in all aspects of their communities.
The Oklahoma Self-Advocacy Network is a collaborative effort to strengthen the self-advocacy movement in Oklahoma and to increase the inclusion and independence of people with disabilities. Together, the Center for Learning and Leadership (CLL), the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council (ODDC), the Oklahoma Disability Law Center (ODLC), the DHS Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) and Oklahoma People First (OKPF) are committing staff, funding and other supports to ensure the success of this project. The CLL provides stipends to self-advocates to attend the meetings, travel assistance, and staff to assist in meeting facilitation and coordination of the collaborative partnership.
Commissioner Sharon Lewis, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, convened five regional self-advocacy summits across the country. The summit in Kansas City was held in April of 2011 and included participants from Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The summit team included representatives from Oklahoma People First, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the National Youth Leadership Network, the Center for Learning and Leadership, the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council, the Oklahoma Disability Law Center and Oklahoma DHS Developmental Disabilities Services.
In her opening comments in Kansas City, Commissioner Lewis said, "Self-advocacy has been a cornerstone of the developmental disabilities movement in the United States, starting over 35 years ago with the original People First organizing efforts. The Developmental Disabilities Act makes clear the importance of the voice, influence and power of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and expects that the network that it authorizes – the State Developmental Disabilities Councils (SDDCs), the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) and the Protection and Advocacy Agencies (P&As) – will encourage and support the involvement of self-advocates."
The Oklahoma summit team appointed Nancy Ward, SABE, and Dee Banta (OKPF), as co-chairs for the project. Rose Ann Percival, CLL, also provides assistance. OKSAN recently agreed that two self-advocates would serve as co-chairs with Brian Smith serving as advisor to OKSAN.
The team decided to continue the work from the summit and formed the Oklahoma Self-Advocacy Network. The team has continued to meet and has started to develop a plan to accomplish the project's mission. OKSAN adopted a mission statement, partner values, and a set of ground rules. The Oklahoma Self-Advocacy Network was selected to host the SABE National Conference in October 2014.
Some activities of the Oklahoma Self-Advocacy Network include:
Building an infrastructure to assure the success and stability of OKSAN
Identifying new partners
Developing new strategies to reach out to other disability organizations
Researching how to get rid of the "R" Word in policy and statutes
New partners that have come to the table include the Oklahoma Family Network (OFN), individual self-advocates, family representatives caring for a person with a disability, Traumatic Brain Injury Raiders (TBI Raiders), and Oklahoma People First advisors and board members.
For more information, please contact:
Brian H. Smith
Self-Advocacy Partners Coordinator
(405) 271-4500 Ext., 41035 or e-mail Brian-Smith@ouhsc.edu