Litigation has its limitations. It directly effects one person’s conflict with another. This month, we are focusing on the different ways that DIG is impacting and raising awareness in the community as a whole. Our goal is to catalyze systemic change – and this month, we are providing testing accommodations, domestic violence services for the Deaf, transition services to ensure community-based living, police related safety for persons with autism spectrum disorders, and ordinances to secure emergency care for service animals.
For over 43 years, Broward Children’s Center, Inc. has been a haven for children and young adults with disabilities in Pompano Beach, Florida. Founded in 1971, the program serves children with varied disabilities from all walks of life, which include autism, disabilities from birth, accidents, shaken baby syndrome, lightning strikes and other traumatic events which may have occurred in their lives. Programs and services include three developmental preschools, a Children’s Comprehensive Care Center, two Group Homes, a Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Center, Home Health, a Center for Innovative Technology, Nutrition Program and Respite Services for families.
“Why?” is the most common question asked when I said that I was going to change my practice into a non-profit disability rights advocacy center. My reasons are each and every person with a disability that I have represented over the past eighteen years. With every single person, the issue was not about money, but about the dignity of being a human being, and having the same ability to enjoy life as any other person. Even when I was not successful, I was always able to give my clients the power and dignity to fight for their equality and humanity.
This is a new era where people with disabilities eschew labels and demand their rights. Those who are Deaf or who have vision impairments demand equal access to information, those with depression and anxiety demand emotional support animals, those with disabilities demand the right to have their own families
and make their own decisions regarding independent living, and those with learning disabilities demand testing and course accommodations. Disability Independence Group or DIG is an invitation for persons with disabilities to declare their independence from antiquated notions of a second class existence.
Disability Independence Group will be a center where people with disabilities can learn how to enforce their rights and a training center for future lawyers to learn how to enforce the rights of persons with disabilities. It will advocate for a definition of diversity and integration that includes persons with disabilities. DIG will be a hub for the growing internationalization of disability
rights in Central and South America. We have a big job and big dreams.