Iowa Advocacy Connection | 2019, Issue 1

Issue 21, 2/13/2019

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Articles in This Issue:

Autism Society of Iowa



On November 13, 1978, the Iowa Charter with the National Society for Autistic Children was signed, and a grassroots support group for those with autism started in Iowa. This group was developed by parents who wanted to create a better life for their children through education, services and support in their communities and in Iowa.  

The National Society for Autistic Children became the Autism Society of America, and it is the largest grassroots organization within the autism community. In 2018, the Autism Society of Iowa was selected as the affiliate of the year.

The Autism Society of Iowa operates with an executive director, associate director and a volunteer board of 24 people who are self-advocates, family members and professionals. We are a self-funded group, relying on fundraising and donations to support our projects and events.

Our largest events are our conferences. We host a state educational conference, which combines a national keynote speaker with breakout sessions from speakers within Iowa. Each year we co-host an Autism and Employment Conference with the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council. This conference focuses on topics specific to assisting those with autism find and maintain employment. We also host safety and medical research conferences in partnership with the University of Iowa Autism Center.

The Autism Society of Iowa recognizes the need for families and those with autism to meet and network. To facilitate this opportunity, we host initiatives throughout the state, such as Splash for Autism events, walks, workshops and tables at resource fairs.

During the legislative session, we host the Autism Advocacy and Acceptance Day at the Iowa state Capitol. We provide shirts to show unity for those with autism, host a rally and assist with advocating for those with autism. Additionally, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council offers advocacy training during our event.

We also give scholarships to families in need to attend our conference, purchase safety equipment or gain assistance with programming. We award college scholarships to those who have autism and are pursuing a postgraduate program, and to students who are entering a field of study to assist those with autism.

We publish information on autism through our website,, with our monthly newsletter that goes out by email to over 2400 people and on Facebook and Twitter. Our executive director sits on the autism panel developed by the Iowa Legislature. This panel created a booklet for caregivers who have a newly diagnosed child, which we distribute.

The Autism Society of Iowa celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2018, and we will continue to advocate, support and provide information for those with autism, their families and their communities in the years ahead.

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2019 March Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and ID Action needs your voice to help us raise awareness. You have an opportunity to make an impact in your community and state. March is the perfect time to get involved, take action and become a self-advocate. Here are a few things you can do:

Join the campaign: Throughout March we will send one email a week that will highlight an area of community involvement, such as employment, volunteerism, school and recreation. The emails will include statistics, quotes and facts related to developmental disabilities and provide resources to share. You can forward these emails to your network and post on your social media channels to encourage participation. You can also use Facebook and Twitter to post a photo, video or story that shows how people with and without developmental disabilities are impacting communities around the nation.

Communicate: Sending an email, calling your legislator or elected official or writing to the editor of your newspaper can have a huge impact. The only way to increase awareness in your community or with your elected officials is by letting your voice be heard! 

Share your story: Your story is a powerful tool! When you share your story you have the opportunity to make a difference. Visit the ID Action website to hear the stories of Iowans throughout the state and how they are impacting their communities. If you want to share your story with us, please contact us at


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2019 infoNET

Are you signed up to receive our public policy publication? If not, now is a great time. The 2019 legislative session is underway and a lot is happening. infoNET is Iowa’s disability policy resource and will help you stay informed on important legislation affecting Iowans with disabilities. You also don’t want to miss out on all the great resource available on the infoNET website.  When you visit you will find the following:

  • Legislative Guide – This guide is a listing of all of the current Iowa legislators and includes their background information, contact information and their committee assignments.
  • Advocacy Toolkit – This toolkit will get you ready to take action.
  • 2019 Public Policy Priorities – The DD Council has established their 2019 legislative priorities to ensure that all children and adults in Iowa with developmental disabilities have access to high-quality services and supports that promote a life in the community.
  • 2019 Bill Tracker – The bill tracker is updated daily and will keep you informed on the issues being discussed and where they are in the process.


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2019 Make Your Mark! Conference


This conference will help those who want to be more involved get started and those who are already active to continue to develop their skills. We are looking for presenters and are interested in reviewing presentation proposals that focus on developing leadership skills to increase civic and political participation among Iowans with disabilities. Click the link below for more information and to find our application. The deadline to submit a presentation is March 4, 2019. 

Find more information by visiting the ID Action website.

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State Sweep

State Sweep

Iowans with Disabilities in Action is hitting the road and will visit all 99 counties in Iowa over the next two years. We plan to visit communities throughout Iowa to increase our awareness of how we can best support Iowans with disabilities and their allies to achieve their goals. Ultimately, we want to get to know you and you to get to know us.

We hope to make the most of each visit by talking with Iowans with disabilities, their families, community organizations, partners, elected officials and members of the community.

Why invite us to your community?

Iowans with Disabilities in Action is focused on moving people from taking notice to taking action. To be able to better encourage and support Iowans, we need to have a better understanding of what the needs are in communities throughout Iowa. Ask us to visit, and share the great things about your community along with the challenges.

How can we help?

Over the last 16 years, Iowans with Disabilities in Action has developed a wide variety of resources and information to help move Iowans into action. These resources are free and available to anyone who is interested. We continually develop and create new resources based on the needs of Iowans. We want to know what the needs are in your community — invite us and share.

Our goal with the State Sweep campaign is to build better relationships with statewide community partners; increase awareness of Iowans with Disabilities in Action; build ongoing, lasting relationships with individuals with disabilities and gain a better understanding of the needs of those we meet.

How can we accomplish those goals? We have put together a few ideas to get us started:

Individual one-on-one meetings — Share with us a day in your life. Show us where you live, learn, work and play. Tell us what it means for you to live your life with a disability in your community.

Partner meetings — Providers, nonprofits, community organizations, let's chat about how we can better work together.

Community events — Let's bring members of the community together for a conversation.

Media meetings — We would like to build a relationship with the media outlets in your community.

If you have other ideas, we'd love to hear them. Visit our Contact page today to schedule a visit to your community!


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2019 Local Capitol Days

Iowans with Disabilities in Action will provide eight Capitol Day grants up to $500 each for advocacy training and support to local advocacy groups who are interested in visiting the Iowa state Capitol, learning about the legislative process and meeting with their legislators to advocate for their issues.

Eligibility and applying for Capitol Day grants

The following are the requirements for your group to be eligible to apply for an Iowans with Disabilities in Action Capitol Day grant:

  • Your group must consist of at least 10 people with a disability (no more than 20)
  • Your group must advocate for disability-related issues

Grant recipient requirements

As an Iowans with Disabilities in Action Capitol Day grant recipient, your group must:

  • Schedule a Capitol Day on either Tuesday or Wednesday in the months of January through April
  • Participate in an advocacy training at the beginning of the Capitol Day
  • Set appointments with your legislators (Iowans with Disabilities in Action can assist)
  • Provide a written recap of your Capitol Day within two weeks of your visit, including any follow-up communication with legislators

Optional activities

While at the Capitol you may also want to participate in the following:

  • Watch a floor debate
  • Attend a committee meeting
  • Meet with other state agencies
  • Meet with Iowans with Disabilities in Action or Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council staff

To apply for an Iowans with Disabilities in Action Capitol Day grant, please fill out the grant application. Call 866-432-2846 or email us at with any questions. Grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible groups.

Iowans with Disabilities in Action Capitol Day grants cannot be used to attend other organizations’ lobby days.

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