Most would agree with the observation that youth with disabilities too often lack the opportunities develop the important social and emotional skills that are increasingly being recognized as essential to be successful in the work place as well as in pursuit of higher education. There are multiple ways for youth to learn such skills including growing youth advocacy groups seeking voice in program decision making. Yet, unfortunately such efforts are small and often sporadically supported. They merit a "going to scale" effort. In order to promote scale both funding and the development of an infrastructure is needed. The federal government should help states build the capacity in their communities, based on research of promising practices.
A reality is that no one piece of federal legislation has an adequate focus/charge to develop the capacity needed to ensure opportunities exist in school, extended learning settings such as after school and summer experiences are made available.
A beginning step to grow such capacity would be to have key pieces of federal legislation (e.g. WIA (titles 2 and 4), IDEA, DD, and others identified by federal officials to include in the allowable activities language that supports cross agency funding to seed programs that specifically supports youth leadership development programs for the full range youth with disabilities.
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