Southwest Technical Assistance Center

Southwest Institute for Families and Children (SWI) was awarded one of three Self Advocacy Technical Assistance Grants from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  SWI will work with four states, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas to strengthen the self advocacy movement.

The four states are similar geographically and in demographics. The populations for each state are concentrated within a few major cities surrounded by vast rural areas.  With most of the population residing in the cities, funding and resources are allocated to the cities leaving little to no resources for the rural areas with sparse populations.  There is a significant difference between the needs of people with disabilities living in the cities and for those in the rural areas.  The four states have a large and diverse population. The majority of the population consists of white Caucasians with large minority populations of Latin and Native American.

An advisory committee was formed and is comprised of self advocates and supports from the four states who will work together to strengthen the relationship and partnerships between self advocates and their local communities, as well as the DD partner organizations.

Each state will complete surveys, post video blogs, lead webinars, and create and implement a state plan with strategies to increase leadership development, education, outreach, and peer-to-peer mentoring.  Individual survey will determine the topics that the project will focus on this year.

Please fill out a survey if you would like to support this effort.


Project Objectives and activities

O1: To develop the capacity of participating Southwest states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas) to provide peer-to-peer advocacy and mentoring

O2:  To identify resources and provide opportunities for training and leadership development

O3:  To provide education and outreach to local self advocacy groups and their communities



  • Advisory committee will meet on a regular basis
  • Complete Individual and Self Advocacy group Needs and Assessment Survey
  • Self advocates will lead Webinars on important topics of the four states
  • Each state will create Video Blogs about import issues
  • Develop a state plan to work together on common disability issues within their states
  • Share information with the other five Self Advocacy Technical Assistance Centers
    • Self Advocates Becoming Empowered’s Southern Collaborative: Our Community Standing Strong (OCSS)
    • Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s Pacific Alliance on Disability Self Advocacy (Pacific Alliance)
    • North East Advocates Together (NEAT)
    • The Curators of the University of Missouri’s Heartland Self-Advocacy Resource Network (Heartland)
    • Washington state DD Council’s Equal Partners Interstate Congress (EPIC)