20, August 2010



Speak Up for a Barrier-Free Society

Paraquad offers advocacy programs to help shape public policy

Even with the passage in 1990 of the landmark federal law—the Americans with Disabilities Act—many barriers still exist in education, housing, transportation, employment, and health care for people with disabilities. That’s why advocacy is an integral part of Paraquad's programs and services. Paraquad is the largest provider of services to people with all types of disabilities in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The focus of Paraquad’s work is to help empower people with disabilities to increase their independence.

Paraquad staff actively advocate for independent living opportunities. For example:

  • Independent Living Specialists work with participants to achieve self-advocacy goals;
  • Participants and youth group members are involved in advocacy events in the community; and
  • Paraquad staff members organize grassroots networks and are members of advocacy coalitions.

The goal of these advocacy initiatives is to make our communities free of architectural, communication, and attitudinal barriers. When that is achieved, people with disabilities will be fully included in all aspects of community life.

Paraquad offers two programs for those interested in becoming involved in advocacy efforts:

1. MADEN is a free program to educate people with disabilities, their friends and families, organization employees, and other advocates about legislation and events that affect the disability community. Your participation is vital to furthering the Independent Living Movement and protecting services and supports for people with disabilities. When you join MADEN you will receive:

  1. Legislative updates on policies and programs that affect YOU
  2. Invitations to disability events in YOUR community
  3. Opportunities to make a difference in YOUR Missouri legislature, U.S. Congress, and the community

2. The Disability Coalition on Healthcare Reform comprises individual advocates and disability organizations who share the common mission to proactively improve and assure access to quality health care for Missourians with disabilities.

We believe that access to comprehensive health care is crucial to the independence, dignity, and equality of all people, including people with disabilities. The DCHR advocates for accessible health care that is affordable, located in the individual’s community, free of physical and communication barriers, and provided in a timely manner.

For more information about these programs, visit, contact Megan Burke ( or Kirsten Dunham (, or call 314-289-4200 (voice) or 314-289-4252 (TTY).