The Special Needs Alliance (SNA) booth at The Arc's 2012 National Convention and International forum attracted attendees from around the world. Held in Washington, D.C., in late October, the conference was attended by individuals from more than 25 nations.
Discussion with family members from across the U.S. and with representatives from state and local Arc chapters often focused on legal resources in their communities. Self-advocates—some of whom were selling jewelry, calendars and other crafts at the "Market Place," set up at the national Arc's table—were among the many individuals who signed up to receive The Voice, SNA's newsletter. And international visitors compared notes with our attorneys about services in their respective nations.
"I was impressed by the programs available to people with special needs living in other parts of the world," remarks Elizabeth Gray, CELA, who practices in Fairfax, Virginia, and helped staff the booth. "They often had easier access to medical care and far fewer waits for community-based residences. We had visitors from as far away as China and New Zealand.
"There was a wonderful, positive feeling to the conference," she continues. "A 10-year-old from South America stopped by with her family, and she was obviously thrilled to be in our nation's capital. She showed me on her map the various places she'd visited in the city. It was a great opportunity to reach out to families around the globe who are as committed to social inclusion as we are."