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Trainings and Presentations

The Council works to inform and educate individuals with disabilities, families, professionals in the disability field, advocacy groups, policymakers and the general public on various topics related to disability, completely free of charge. Most of our presentations and trainings can be adapted for any audience size or length of time.

In addition to the topics listed below, we can also always present basic information about the Council, our programs and our role in TN to any group, event or audience as our schedules allow.

For more information about scheduling a presentation from the Council on one of the topics below or about any of the Council’s initiatives or programs, contact Communications Director Emma Shouse Garton at emma.shouse@tn.gov or 615.253.5368, or fill out the "Training Request Form" above.

Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute

Partners in Policymaking is the Council’s free leadership and advocacy training program for adults with disabilities and family members of persons with disabilities. Since being established in TN in 1993, more than 500 Tennesseans have graduated from the Partners program. Many of these trained graduates have gone on to advocate at the local and state level for disability issues, serve on committees, boards and task forces, and spearhead initiatives that promote the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Supported Decision-Making

Supported Decision Making is about helping people with disabilities make as many decisions about their own lives as possible. Conservatorship allows someone else to make decisions for you. Right now, many Tennesseans do not know there are other options for help in making decisions. The Council is working to educate Tennesseans with disabilities, their families and professionals who support them about less restrictive alternatives like supported decision making. Staff can provide practical trainings about how to develop supported decision making strategies and practices to help a person make more of their own choices.

LifeCourse Tools / Supporting Families Community of Practice

The Supporting Families Community of Practice is a national initiative focused on developing best policies and practices to support families, including family members with a disability, across the lifespan. Tennessee is one of the original states in this national learning community, which now includes 17+ states. The guiding principles of this initiative are known as the LifeCourse Framework; the “LifeCourse Toolkit” was developed by families for families using the LifeCourse framework to help family members of all abilities and ages develop a vision for a good life. LifeCourse tools provide a way for individuals with disabilities, families, and professionals in a person’s life (teachers, employers, support staff, etc.) to discuss, brainstorm and have productive conversations about goals, current needs, life transitions and needed supports for the future. Council staff can provide presentations about this national initiative and its core principles, as well as interactive trainings about using the LifeCourse Toolkit

Disability and Public Policy

Council staff can deliver presentations about current public policy issues that impact Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the basics of state and federal legislative processes, or how the disability policy landscape impacts individuals and families. 

Disability Awareness & Sensitivity

Council staff can provide presentations about disability awareness and disability etiquette or sensitivity. This interactive session strives to break down barriers to community inclusion by presenting the best and most appropriate ways to communicate with persons with disabilities.

Learning to Speak Up for Yourself

This interactive training provides strategies for how individuals with disabilities can become empowered to speak up and advocate on their own behalf, and addresses some of the challenges to doing so.

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

In this interactive presentation, Council staff offer ways to turn negative situations into positive advocacy and other constructive outcomes, specifically focusing on additional challenges faced by families and individuals that experience disability.

Providing Support That Truly Supports

The Council knows that the people who are responsible for providing supports to persons with disabilities – either as a paid professional or a family caregiver – are generally well-meaning and care deeply about the people they help, and try to deliver assistance that is person-centered. We also know that sometimes there are challenges to being as supportive as possible, that sometimes the boundaries between provider and person being served get muddled, and that old, ingrained habits can interfere with best practices. In this presentation, Council staff hope to show how individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be supported without taking away their independence, their sense of self and their ability to make choices and have control over their lives.

Youth Readiness Days

The Council presents an interactive training program for high school students with disabilities to help them think about their educational, employment and independent living plans after leaving high school. The training includes topics around advocating for yourself and independent living, as well as an introduction to community services and resources. Council staff is available to present these free one-day trainings at the request of local school systems.

Supported Decision-Making

Supported Decision Making is about helping people with disabilities make as many decisions about their own lives as possible. Conservatorship allows someone else to make decisions for you. Right now, many Tennesseans do not know there are other options for help in making decisions. The Council is working to educate Tennesseans with disabilities, their families and professionals who support them about less restrictive alternatives like supported decision making. Council staff can deliver practical trainings for how youth can begin to practice decision making skills.

Learning to Speak Up for Yourself

This interactive training provides strategies for how individuals with disabilities can become empowered to speak up and advocate on their own behalf, and addresses some of the challenges to doing so.

Supported Decision-Making

Supported Decision Making is about helping people with disabilities make as many decisions about their own lives as possible. Conservatorship allows someone else to make decisions for you. Right now, many Tennesseans do not know there are other options for help in making decisions. The Council is working to educate Tennesseans with disabilities, their families and professionals who support them about less restrictive alternatives like supported decision making. Council staff can deliver presentations on how Tennessee is working to establish supported decision-making as an option for individuals with disabilities, and provide an overview of practical tools for how to use supported decision-making to support someone in making their own choices.

LifeCourse Tools / Supporting Families Community of Practice

The Supporting Families Community of Practice is a national initiative focused on developing best policies and practices to support families, including family members with a disability, across the lifespan. Tennessee is one of the original states in this national learning community, which now includes 17+ states. The guiding principles of this initiative are known as the LifeCourse Framework; the “LifeCourse Toolkit” was developed by families for families using the LifeCourse framework to help family members of all abilities and ages develop a vision for a good life. LifeCourse tools provide a way for individuals with disabilities, families, and professionals in a person’s life (teachers, employers, support staff, etc.) to discuss, brainstorm and have productive conversations about goals, current needs, life transitions and needed supports for the future. Council staff can provide presentations about this national initiative and its core principles, as well as interactive trainings about using the LifeCourse Toolkit

Disability Awareness & Sensitivity

Council staff can provide presentations about disability awareness and disability etiquette or sensitivity. This interactive session strives to break down barriers to community inclusion by presenting the best and most appropriate ways to communicate with persons with disabilities.

Disability and Public Policy

Council staff can deliver presentations about current public policy issues that impact Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the basics of state and federal legislative processes, or how the disability policy landscape impacts individuals and families. 

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

In this interactive presentation, Council staff offer ways to turn negative situations into positive advocacy and other constructive outcomes, specifically focusing on additional challenges faced by those who work with families and individuals that experience disability.

Providing Support That Truly Supports

The Council knows that the people who are responsible for providing supports to persons with disabilities – either as a paid professional or a family caregiver – are generally well-meaning and care deeply about the people they help, and try to deliver assistance that is person-centered. We also know that sometimes there are challenges to being as supportive as possible, that sometimes the boundaries between provider and person being served get muddled, and that old, ingrained habits can interfere with best practices. In this presentation, Council staff hope to show how individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be supported without taking away their independence, their sense of self and their ability to make choices and have control over their lives.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Council Partners in Policymaking Director Ned Andrew Solomon has been trained as a presenter for the “Building Strong Brains: Tennessee’s ACEs Initiative”, coordinated through the TN Commission on Children and Youth. “ACEs” stands for “Adverse Childhood Experiences”. It refers to events that occur in childhood (such as physical, sexual or psychological abuse; physical and emotional neglect; exposure to violence; or parental divorce) that can have a tremendous impact on lifelong health and opportunity. Council staff is available to provide the complete 3-hour training or an abbreviated presentation on “Building Strong Brains” and ACEs.

Council staff poses with staff from the Dept. of Children's Services in Jackson TN after a disability sensitivity training event