Acceptance into MN Disability Advocacy Training

Selected from a pool of statewide applicants, criminal justice/political science/pre-law student Amanda Schermerhorn has been accepted into the eight-month Minnesota Partners in Policymaking® leadership training.

Participants include adults with disabilities and parents raising children with developmental disabilities.  Schermerhorn is the mother to four children. Her youngest child, Richard, has autism. He is nonverbal and cognitively delayed.  He requires constant supervision and assistance, and it is difficult to have time for all the services that he needs. Due to district wide staffing problems, coupled with his diagnosis, he is only able to attend school for three hours each day. Although his Individualized Education Program (IEP) requires one-to-one care, it is not always possible for Richard to receive this. Schermerhorn is clearly concerned with the lack of resources and services in Minnesota’s rural areas. Schermerhorn has received a political science scholarship for her studies at Moorhead State University and will graduate in 2023.  She is taking the Partners in Policymaking course to become a better advocate for her son.

The program was created by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. “The goal is to develop leaders statewide to partner with school systems, medical and business communities so all individuals with disabilities are supported as they become self-confident, independent and contributing citizens across the state,” said Dr. Colleen Wieck, Executive Director of the Governor’s Council.

The Governor’s Council introduced the program in 1987, and, through expansion to other states and countries, Partners has trained 1,131 individuals in Minnesota and more than 29,000 people worldwide.