Serving Southwest Colorado's children

and adults with disabilities and

their families since 1985. 

​Community Connections Blog

A New Way to Build Community - 4.9.24
Warm weather, barbecues, playing in the local rivers and lakes, hiking, biking, and launching a new way to build community!  Read More...


Learning From Change - 2.7.24
I love the saying, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” These days, it seems like the opportunities to “grow” are endless.  Read More...


How the Civil Rights Movement Set the Stage for Disability Rights - 1.10.24
On Monday, we will celebrate the life and work of one of the most well-known and influential leaders of the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of a group of leaders of the Black civil rights movement of the 1960s that set the stage for how we work for civil rights today. The civil rights movement also served as the foundation and inspiration for other movements, including the disability rights movement.  Read More...


Colorado Pay Gaps Extend to Non-State Employees - 12.5.23

I follow the state budget very closely. Perhaps it doesn’t sound like as fun as many things I could be doing—skiing, hiking, rafting, getting a root canal—but when you run a nonprofit, charitable agency that relies on over $5 million a year in state funds, you learn to find state fiscal politics interesting. Read More...


​Colorado Pay Gaps Extend to Non-State Employees - 12.5.23
I follow the state budget very closely. Perhaps it doesn’t sound like as fun as many things I could be doing—skiing, hiking, rafting, getting a root canal—but when you run a nonprofit, charitable agency that relies on over $5 million a year in state funds, you learn to find state fiscal politics interesting. Read More...


The Evolution of Community Connections - 11.11.23
We all evolve and grow. This is true both for people and organizations. The evolution of an organization is complicated. By their very nature, organizations tend toward inertia. Major changes take a concerted effort from staff, volunteers, customers, members, and any leadership of the organization. Sometimes evolution results from external pressures. Sometimes it comes from within. Often it is a mix of both. 
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Celebrate Case Management Appreciation Week - 10.13.23
Each year, our nation celebrates the second week of October as Case Manager Appreciation Week. If you are like most people, you might be a little vague about what exactly a case manager does. Case managers show up in a variety of settings.  Read More...


National Disability Provider Crisis Impacts Local Services - 9.6.23
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a statewide gathering of disability service providers where we explored the Colorado and national trends impacting the support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live successfully in their communities. The theme was resounding: we need workers. Read More...


Consider How You Can Be An Ally - 8.12.23
​As a professional in the disabilities field and an advocate for inclusion and belonging, I tend to scroll for news related to disabilities. Often, I come across situations that give me chills—and not in a good way.  Read More...



Independence and Disability Rights - 7.3.23
​This week had many of us reflecting on independence, particularly the independence of our nation. July is also disability pride month, and independence has been both a rallying cry and a point of disagreement in the disability community.  Read More...



Pride Month Should Also Celebrate People in the LGBTQ+ Community With Disabilities - 6.10.23

​Both communities face barriers to inclusion, but when you combine having a disability with being in the LGBTQ+ community, those barriers are significantly compounded.  Read More...


Family Caregivers Are An Important Support for People with Disabilities - 5.13.23
​In an age of widespread staffing shortages, family caregivers can be the alternative to long waiting lists and lack of essential support. But this isn’t a solution for everyone. Read More...



Think the Americans with Disabilities Act is Working? Think Again. - 04.03.23
The Americans with Disabilities Act made important promises to Americans about accessibility, but we’re going to have to work harder to fulfill those promises.  

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Honoring the Life and Legacy of Judy Heumann - 03.07.23
On Saturday, March 4th, we lost a major champion for disability rights. Advocate, rabble-rouser, and long-time disability rights hero Judy Heumann died at age 75. Heumann had been fighting for her rights as a person with a disability since childhood.  Read More...


The End of the Public Health Emergency - 02.11.23
It’s official. The Biden Administration has announced the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023. It may not be the absolute end of COVID in our lives, but it is the end of the coordinated federal response... But for seniors and people with disabilities, the PHE provided some essential protections. Read More...


We Should Demand Representation of People with Disabilities in the Entertainment Industry - 01.14.23
Think of a movie or television program you have seen that features a character with a disability. Just pick the first one that comes to mind. Once you have selected, consider whether that disabled character was played by a disabled actor. Read More...


Consider the Needs of People with Disabilities During the Holidays - 12.10.22
As nostalgic and delightful as the holiday season is, it can provoke problems for people for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, there are things that people with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and friends and family members without disabilities can do to make the holiday season more enjoyable for us all.  Read More...


Disabled Civil Rights Activist Lois Curtis Dies at 55 - 11.12.22
As a young woman, Lois Curtis was imprisoned. Curtis was not a criminal. She hadn’t even been accused of a crime. The only thing Curtis had done was be born with a disability in a society that did not value her rights. Read More...


Let's Talk About Invisible Disabilities - 8.13.22
An invisible disability is not a Marvel Universe superhero power, although many people with invisible disabilities feel pretty unseen by the rest of the population. It is a term used to describe the millions of people with disabilities that are not readily apparent to others. Read More...


Disability Symbol Identifier Program Comes to Colorado - 7.5.22

A new program in Colorado may help people with disabilities and their caregivers get more appropriate responses from first responders. The Disability Symbol Identifier program allows Coloradoans with disabilities to add a signifier to their driver’s license, state-issued ID, and/or vehicle registration to alert first responders that the person has a disability that might impair their ability to communicate or affect their interactions. Read More...


New Early Intervention Evaluation System for Colorado Begins July 1 - 6.11.22
Being a new parent is hard. Babies don’t come with an instruction manual, unless you count Dr. Spock’s notorious Baby and Child Care book from the 1940’s. Kids also don’t come with a personal coach, ready to guide you in all the nuances of supporting your child’s development. Or do they? Read More...


​Supreme Court Limits Recourse in Discrimination Cases - 5.14.22
One upcoming Supreme Court decision is dominating our headlines. But another recent case is looming large in the minds of people with disabilities, because it curtails the already limited recourse that people with disabilities have when they’ve faced discrimination. Read More...


​A Shift From Autism Awareness To Autism Acceptance  - 4.8.22
For most people on the autism spectrum, understanding the causes of autism and the intricacies of diagnosis do nothing to improve their lives. Nor does passive “awareness” of autism. What we need is true understanding and a commitment to breaking down barriers and empowering autistic people. Read More...​​​


We Can Do Better By Women With Disabilities  - 3.11.22
The fact that more women than men experience disability may come as a surprise. Media depictions of disability have not centered on the lives and experiences of women. In fact, some cultural critics have suggested that our popular ideas of ideal womanhood leave no room for disability. Read More...


Black History Month: Celebrating the Work of Black Disabled

Activists  - 2.11.22

Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sojournor Truth, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, James Baldwin and Nelson Mandela are all well known for their contributions to the struggle for racial justice. They are just a few of numerous civil rights leaders worth knowing. Read More...


Push for Profound Autism Diagnosis Steers Focus Away from More Important Conversations - 1.7.22

What’s in a label? Humans have been labeling things essentially as long as we’ve had language. Labeling aids our memory and helps us categorize based on similarities and differences and avoid things that might be dangerous to us. When we start labeling people, these benefits can have some less benign consequences. Read More...


Build Back Better Supports Important Funding for the Disabled - 11.12.21

It can be hard to get excited about anything going on in Washington these days. Most of what we witness seems like a train wreck; it’s best to look away from the carnage. But there are some important activities taking place in D.C. that are critical to people with disabilities. Read More...

 

Keys Employers Can Use to Make a Positive Workplace  - 10.8.21
October is a busy month for awareness. In October, we are asked to honor everything from the whimsical (Bat Appreciation and National Cookie Month) to such serious topics as Breast Cancer Awareness, LGBTQ+ History and Tackling Hunger. Read More...


It’s Important for All of Us to Educate Ourselves About Disability

Issues - 9.21.21

​When we speak of people with disabilities, we (present company included) often speak as though they are a single monolith. We do this because it more easily allows us to speak in broad strokes about issues that are commonly faced by a group of people who, in all other ways, are unique individuals. Read More...


Marching to Commemorate the Americans with Disabilities Act - 8.17.21

The skies opened, and the heavens shook with thunder. The gutters along Main Avenue in Durango flooded with overwhelming torrents of water. For some, it was a welcome summer afternoon monsoon in Southwest Colorado. For about 30 marchers gathered to mark the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26th, it was painfully ironic. “You can have this day,” the universe seems to say, “But we’re not going to make it easy.”  Read  More...


Challenging Historical Perceptions of Inclusion - 7.28.21

Thirty-one years the American with Disabilities Act was adopted, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities still do not have equal rights in the United States. While we have made some progress as a society, prejudices persist. Jeff Newman, Director of Community Integration at Community Connections, is on a mission to change that mindset. Read More...

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Is There Such a Thing as a "Normal" Brain? - 7.7.21

Is any single person “normal?” Is there one type of brain that represents the vast breadth of human experiences, backgrounds, and differences? The concept of a normative standard for human brains has come under scrutiny in recent years. Research and the life experience of Neurodivergent adults suggest that the differences in neurological makeup, such as those we have come to associate with the Autism spectrum, are natural variations found within the human population. This concept, termed “Neurodiversity,” rejects the notion that Autism and other neurological conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, and tics are disabilities that should be fixed or cured. Rather, they are simply a part of the normal human condition. Read More...

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We Often Do Not See Ableism - 5.8.22

I imagine that if you are reading this column, you probably consider yourself a kind, caring person who would never insult people with disabilities. Yet I guarantee you have. Ableism is so pervasive in our society that even kind, caring people like yourselves have been guilty of ableist comments and attitudes. And as kind, caring people, I know you want to learn how to avoid such offenses. Read More...


​The World Could Use More People Like Edith Prentiss - 4.9.21

The world lost a leader last month. Outside her home community of New York City, the loss of her flame was hardly noticed. Yet she and disability advocates across the nation have had and continue to have impacts far beyond their recognition. Read More...


The Old Normal Only Worked For Some People - 2.12.21

As the new vaccines begin to surge into the arms of our friends, families and neighbors, many of us are starting to envision what life after COVID-19 may look like. The pandemic has changed us, and some of those changes look like they might be permanent. Some might even be positive.  Read More...


It's Time to Reframe Our Perception of Disability - 1.8.21

I once had a dance teacher who swore that some of the most innovative dance moves were created by dancers with injuries that prevented them from doing a move correctly. What they created to adapt for their bodies was even better than the original. Read More...