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Idaho Parents Unlimited, Inc. (IPUL) is a statewide organization which houses the Idaho Parent Training andparents@ipulidaho.org http://www.ipulidaho.org 4619 Emerald, Ste. E, Boise, Idaho 83706 TEL: 208-342- 5884, 800-242- 4785 TDD & FAX: 208 -342-1408 " id="pdf-obj-0-2" src="pdf-obj-0-2.jpg">

Idaho Parents Unlimited, Inc. (IPUL) is a statewide organization which houses the Idaho Parent Training and Information Center, the Family to Family Health Information Center, Idaho Family Voices, and VSA Idaho, the State Organization on Arts and Disability.

The Parent Training and Information Center ensures that parents of children ages birth to 26 years with disabilities receive training and information on their rights, responsibilities, and protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in order to develop the skills necessary to cooperatively and effectively participate in planning and decision making relating to early intervention, educational, and transitional services.

As the State Family Voices Affiliate and the Family to Family Health Information Center, IPUL assists families in making informed choices about health care and becoming effective advocates on behalf of their children by providing training, information and resources to families of children with special health care needs.

The mission of VSA Idaho is to empower and engage people with disabilities in the creative process through opportunities which are fully inclusive, educational and participatory. VSA Idaho creates opportunities by providing professional training and workshops, developing state initiated projects and implementing successful national programs. VSA Idaho in cooperation with funding through various sources such as the State Department of Education and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts provide opportunities for artists to work alongside teachers in special education classrooms throughout the state.

As an agency that is focused on inclusion and opportunities for individuals and families of children with disabilities, accessibility is inherent to the work we do. The programs at Idaho Parents Unlimited fulfill a mission to educate, empower, support and advocate for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Contact Us:

Main Office:

Additional regional staff in the northern

4619 Emerald, Ste. E Boise, Idaho 83702

and eastern parts of the state can be reached by contacting the main office.

208-342- 5884 or 1- 800-242-(IPUL) |

http://www.ipulidaho.org

4619 Emerald, Ste. E, Boise, Idaho 83706 TEL: 208-342- 5884, 800-242- 4785 TDD & FAX: 208 -342-1408

National Family Advocacy and Support Training Project (FAST)

Telling Your Personal Story

Most of us think of story telling as a casual act. Because this is the case, we often tell stories in a spontaneous way that may not be organized. This works well in many instances, but not for the purpose of advocacy. To encourage systems change, personal stories need to be told in a much more structured way. The story we tell key decision makers must clearly communicate a purpose, and at the same time, include memorable details that keep the listener’s interest long after the story is told.

Legislators and other public officials often hear thousands of stories every day. That’s why it’s important to move your personal story to the front of their mind by making it efficient and effective.

Components of an Efficient Story

An efficient story is one that is well organized. The speaker quickly makes key points and uses memorable, but short examples to reinforce each point. Think of your story as a segment on the 10 o’clock television news. On a news program, important stories are given no more than three minutes. In this brief amount of time, a news reporter must communicate the key facts, use examples to support those facts, and keep the viewer sufficiently interested in the story. In summary, an efficient story should:

Have a clear purpose

Be well organized

Be told in a way that respects the time of the listener (no longer than three to five minutes)

Be told only in the amount of time necessary to make the point

Suggest a solution to the problem

Components of an Effective Story

An effective story has elements that are not easily forgotten. It communicates key points and uses examples that make an emotional connection with the listener and are easy to understand. An effective story should:

Have understandable key points

Have good examples to reinforce the points

Engage the listener so they feel personally involved in

the story Suggest a remedy to the problems related in the story

From the Storyteller’s Perspective

Your story is important because your personal experience is valuable for shaping effective legislation or other changes in systems. When talking to your legislator or other public official, it is important to point out why you think your personal story is important, and then provide ways that the official can help you and others. Always offer to assist the decision makers in collecting more information or participate in ongoing meetings to create effective legislation or plans. If they ask questions you are unable to answer, always tell them that you will find an answer and call them as soon as possible. Don’t try to “make up” an answer. Lastly, be sure to thank them for taking the time to hear your story.

From the Legislator’s or Public Official’s Perspective

The legislator, legislative aide, or other decision maker may have some knowledge about your issue, but will probably need additional information. This person may also wish to help, but might not know how to help. Some officials may wonder why your issue is important to them and question what the result will be from their efforts.

We Can Work Together

In the end, it is important to let the public official or legislator know that you are willing to work with him or her to help solve the problem. If you are both committed to working together, you can persuade others of the issue’s value. It’s also good to remember that resources for solutions may be limited, but it is still well worth the time to make sure the legislation or proposed plan for change is the most effective it can be. Lastly, a complete solution to the problem may not be achieved all at once; a continuing commitment to work together may be needed to properly address the issue.

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000 | 888.428-0822 | PACER@PACER.org | PACER.org fastfamilysupport.org

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000

Telling Our Story Exercise

After forming a group, tell your stories to each other and critique them. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • 1. Did the storyteller indicate that he was talking about his own experience or about a friend or family member?

  • 2. Did the storyteller give enough background information?

  • 3. Was the story focused? Did the storyteller communicate specific points? What were those specific points?

  • 4. Did the storyteller use good examples to support the points and were they based on personal experience?

  • 5. Did the storyteller have suggestions for solving the problem?

  • 6. Was the storyteller sufficiently convincing? If you were a legislator or public official would you want to help resolve this person’s issue? Why?

  • 7. In a few weeks, what will you remember about this story?

National Family Advocacy and Support Training Project (FAST)

Tips for Meetings

 

Scheduling

On Meeting Day

   

Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.

Introduce yourself. If you are there as a group, the

Schedule two to four weeks in advance, and try to be flexible. To schedule your meeting:

Call the person directly (school board member,

 

spokesperson introduces him or herself first and then the others in the group.

 

city council member, doctor’s office, insurance commissioner, etc), or,

 

Before the meeting, try to connect with the legislator or

 

staff member with some pleasant small talk.

Ask them

if they have children or how long the staff member has

Call the legislative assistant for a state legislator, or, Call the scheduler for a federal legislator.

You will most likely have to provide a written request, too, with

worked for the legislator, etc. You may want to write down the staff person’s name for future reference.

the following information:

 

Present your issue and personal story.

your identity (name, address, contact information)

Answer any questions. If you don’t have the answer, let

purpose of the meeting

them know that you don’t know the answer, but will get

names of others who will be attending with you

 

them an answer within a specified time period.

 

Ask them specifically what their position is on an issue.

Planning

Be respectful and thank them, even if they don’t support

Decide if you will attend as an individual or as a group.

 

your issue.

Decide on one or two issues you wish to address and link them to personal stories.

Leave your contact information and any material you’ve prepared for the meeting.

If you attend as a group, who will be the spokesperson?

On the day before the meeting, confirm your

After the Meeting

Will someone be a note taker? Who will provide supporting personal stories?

Send a “thank you” note within three days of the meeting.

Plan for the meeting to be no more than 15 minutes.

 
 

Follow-up with any answers to questions.

Prepare fact sheets and personal stories to leave at the

 
 

Ask yourself or your group:

meeting (be sure your name and contact information is

What went well?

on every piece).

What didn’t go well?

Practice, practice, practice! Make sure your presentation

is less than 15 minutes long.

How could I develop this relationship?

Have directions to the meeting and know where to park.

What would I do differently in future visits?

If a person with a disability is attending, determine where the building’s handicapped access is located.

appointment. Schedules sometimes change. Calling will save you a trip and provide an opportunity to re- schedule.

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000 | 888.428-0822 | PACER@PACER.org | PACER.org fastfamilysupport.org

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000

National Family Advocacy and Support Training Project (FAST)

Tips for Calling

Write what you want to say and keep it to a maximum of two minutes.

Include what action you support and link that to your experience. For example, “I support the ‘xyz’ bill about bullying. My 8-year-old daughter has a disability and she was bullied in school. It was devastating to her.”

Practice reading what you wrote before you call.

Find out who to call. (Look on the Internet, ask at a library, look in the phone book, ask staff at your Parent Center.)

Be aware of timing. Calls to legislators are often best when there is a specific bill that is going to be acted on quickly and legislators need input from the public. (The best way to be aware of timing is to be a part of an action alert list or a legislative action network. Alerts are usually sent by e-mail. )

Identify yourself and ask to speak to the appropriate person.

• Deliver your message. You may be asked to leave your message on a voice mail.

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000 | 888.428-0822 | PACER@PACER.org | PACER.org fastfamilysupport.org

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000

National Family Advocacy and Support Training Project (FAST)

Tips for Giving Your Testimony

Sign up to testify. Contact your school district, city government or city council, county office, or state or federal legislator to assist you in signing up to testify at a public hearing.

Prepare a written statement linking your personal story to your issue of concern.

The statement should be only five minutes long. Practice it out loud with a timer to be sure!

Find one or two pictures of your child to show; a picture frame can be placed on the testimony table.

Provide copies of your written testimony for committee members. Ask to have it distributed after your testimony and be sure your contact information is on it. Most committees have 15 to 20 members.

Be prepared to answer questions, but it’s okay to say “I don’t know.” Tell them you will follow up and find answers for them.

• Thank them!

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000 | 888.428-0822 | PACER@PACER.org | PACER.org fastfamilysupport.org

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000

National Family Advocacy and Support Training Project (FAST)

Tips for Writing Letters, Faxes, and E-mails

Include the date and your contact information at top.

On an e-mail, write a few words in the subject line to summarize your issue.

Personalize your message with photo of your child if you can.

Include only one issue.

Keep the message to less than one page.

Let them know in the first paragraph of no more than six to eight sentences:

--who you are --why you are writing --what you want them to do

• Write a brief personal story (no more than 250 words) in the second paragraph.

NOTE: While letters are still the preferred method of written communication, security at the federal level has made sending a letter through the Capitol postal service a three- to four-week process. If a letter needs to arrive in a short period of time, we highly recommend faxing your letter.

Addressing Members of U. S. Congress:

To Your Senator:

The Honorable (full name) (Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

To Your Representative:

The Honorable (full name) (Room #) (Name) House Office Building United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

Include the above addresses in e-mail messages as well as those sent through the Postal Service.

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000 | 888.428-0822 | PACER@PACER.org | PACER.org fastfamilysupport.org

FAST is a project of PACER Center | 8161 Normandale Blvd. | Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.838.9000