A new partnership between Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, TCDD, is creating a statewide presence to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, caregivers, partners and providers in communities throughout Texas.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19% of people in the U.S. and more than 5 million Texans have a disability, said Andy Crocker, AgriLife Extension statewide program specialist in gerontology and health, Amarillo.
“With Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s mission to help Texans better their lives, this partnership with TCDD will allow us to serve new audiences with our research-based, practical, applicable education,” Crocker said.
AgriLife Extension programs are delivered throughout the state by a network of local educators and volunteers. For instance, the Family and Community Health Unit focuses on topics such as child and adult health, nutrition, child care, financial management, passenger and community safety, and building strong families. The goal is to encourage lifelong health and well-being for every person, every family and every community.
The disability population in Texas is just as varied and diverse as the state they live in, said Beth Stalvey, Ph.D., TCDD executive director. Just like all Texans, people with disabilities are from diverse cultural backgrounds, live in concentrated urban centers or remote rural areas, and participate in community life in different ways. Because the state is diverse in so many ways, the experiences of people with disabilities and those who provide care are also diverse, which includes how they access support and services, information and resources.
By establishing five regional community outreach coordinators in conjunction with AgriLife Extension, TCDD gains the visibility, benefit and reputation of being active and engaged in understanding specific needs, identifying strategies to reduce barriers and networking to form new partnerships and support at the local level, she said.
Stalvey said the partnership focuses on multiple goals and objectives in TCDD’s 2017- 2021 state plan. This includes support of promising new practices, addressing linguistic and cultural barriers, and promoting leadership and advocacy training among self-advocates, families and other allies.
For more information, go to TCDD’s website: https://tcdd.texas.gov.
Through the application of science-based knowledge, AgriLife Extension creates high-quality, relevant continuing education that encourages lasting and effective change.