March is national developmental disability awareness month. To support the cause, Kathie Snow, author of Disability is Natural, will be giving a talk in Sitka on Tuesday, 3/5/2013 at Keet Gooshi Heen from 6 to 8 pm.
The Alaska Autism Resource Center in Anchorage collaborated with the Sitka School District and the Center for Community to bring the nationally renowned speaker to Sitka.
Snow has a son who was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that’s caused by injuries or abnormalities in the brain, usually as a baby grows in the womb. For the past 20 years, she has given presentations across the U.S. and Canada that teach parents how to raise independent, healthy kids with disabilities.
Cary Reid is the assistant executive director of the Center for Community in Sitka. She says the nonprofit supports people who are affected by disabilities across Alaska.
“It gives power back,” said Reid. “It gives choice. It gives control back to the families. Back to the children, back to the adults and individuals who have disabilities. And it’s really giving the person the tools and assistance to help them live, and allowing them the freedom to dictate what they want to do with their lives to the best of their abilities rather than just focusing on the fact that they’re disabled and making it a limited access situation.”
The Center for Community provides a variety of services for people affected by disabilities. They help people get jobs in the community and teach people how to interact in social situations. They even provide respite to caregivers. Most of the programs are funded by grants from the state.
Alaska state law defines disability as: A person who has a severe chronic disability attributable to a mental or physical impairment that occurs before the age of 22 and is likely to continue indefinitely.
Reid encourages people living with a disability or those providing care for someone with a disability to call the Center for Community at 747.6960, ext. 18. If you don’t qualify for the services the nonprofit provides, they will refer you to another agency.