Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

inclusion. integration. independence.

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The Arkansas Alliance for Disability Advocacy / The Advocacy Project

The Council supports this advocacy initiative through our collaborative partnership with Disability Rights Arkansas. The Arkansas Alliance for Disability Advocacy (AADA) was formed in 2021 as an effort to centralize our educational and training outreach to disability advocates. From 2021-2023, the Alliance offered 3 programs: Community of Champions, Partners in Policymaking and Self-Advocate Network Development.

At the end of 2023, the project went through significant program staff changes. Revisions were also made to the project plan in response to input from the community. The educational programs offered by The Advocacy Project, beginning in 2024, are: Partners in Policymaking, Reaching My Own Greatness, How to be an Effective Advocate, How to be a Good Ally, and How to Support a Person with a Disability.

Find out more here

For more information about The Advocacy Project-
Call 501-291-0906

AADA / The Advocacy Project
Disability Rights Arkansas 
Little Rock, AR  72201

Partners in Policymaking (ongoing)

Partners in Policymaking is a national leadership and disability advocacy training program for individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members. This program offers participants monthly sessions, teaching disability history and sharing effective ways to develop relationships with elected officials to directly influence public policy impacting people with disabilities. Applicants must be self-advocates or family members of individuals with developmental disabilities. The application period usually runs from July to October. In addition to receiving training, participants who accept a place in the program are tasked with identifying a need and creating a personal advocacy project to improve their community, state, or country. There will be one cohort each year. Find out more about this program here.

Self-Advocate Network Development (as of 2024 this became part of The Advocacy Project)

SAND provided advocacy training and leadership development to people with disabilities across Arkansas. This program trained self-advocates to know & understand their rights and to help teach others. Participants gained an understanding of self-determination along with tools they could use in daily life. Together, SAND members created new self-advocacy groups and strengthened existing groups. The SAND project also worked to identify and educate advisors/allies across the state to help support individual advocates and local self-advocacy groups. 

This program has evolved over the past three years. As of 2024, it now offers these trainings:

  • Reaching My Own Greatness
  • How to be an Effective Advocate
  • How to be a Good Ally
  • How to Support a Person with a Disability

Click here to request one of these trainings either in-person or online (virtual).

Pie Day at the State Capitol

In 2024, it was decided that Pie Day will continue as a biennial event (held every other year, or once every two years), at the Arkansas State Capitol, beginning on or around 03/14/2025. The event will be on the same schedule as the Arkansas General Assembly Regular Legislative Session so that attendees have the opportunity to connect with their legislators when they are at the Capitol. The goal of Pie Day is to remind policymakers that:

  • all policy is disability policy
  • people with disabilities deserve “a piece of the pie” when legislators are planning use of public funds
  • people with disabilities and their families should be involved in the design of service systems

Community of Champions (ended in 2023)

Community of Champions educates youth with and without disabilities, parents, community members, and civic & legislative leaders on the need for disability advocacy and how to be active in creating positive change. Advocacy Takes Action! Community of Champions offers trainings on civic engagement and participation, supporting citizens in learning about voting and legislative advocacy. For youth in schools, the Champions Club was developed, offering tools to create a school club with a mission to aid students in fostering a more inclusive environment where acceptance is used to build genuine friendships between students with disabilities and without. This program also offers trainings on topics like self-determination and individualized education programs (IEPs). For several years, Champions also held an annual advocacy event at the State Capitol, called “Pie Day”, usually on or around March 14th. This program was streamlined and folded into The Advocacy Project as of 2024.