Ep 165: Empowering Voices in Developmental Disabilities with Dana Charlton

In this insightful episode of the Friends for Life podcast, hosts Tony and Paul engage in a meaningful conversation with Dana Charlton, the executive director of the Ohio Self-Determination Association (OSDA). The discussion centers around advocacy, policy, and empowerment in the field of developmental disabilities.

Key Points Discussed:

Dana Charlton’s Career Path: Dana shares her extensive experience, tracing her career from her start in 1973 with the state of Ohio to her current role at OSDA, highlighting her contributions to positive change in the field.

Project STIR Training: A significant portion of the conversation is dedicated to Project STIR (Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility), a leadership training initiative for people with disabilities. Dana explains the program’s impact on self-advocacy, problem-solving, and essential life skills.

The Mission of OSDA: Dana delves into the mission and activities of OSDA, emphasizing its role as a policy advocacy organization that strives to give more control and choice to people with disabilities and their families.

Self-Directed Services Concept: The podcast touches upon the concept of self-directed services, where individuals with disabilities can take charge of hiring and managing their support staff. Experiencing the

Synergy Conference: The hosts and Dana discuss the inclusive and barrier-free environment of the Synergy Conference, highlighting its significance in the developmental disabilities community.

Personal Stories and the Power of Connections: Throughout the episode, personal anecdotes are shared, reflecting on the impact of connections and experiences in shaping careers and perspectives in the developmental disabilities sector.

Clarifying Advocacy and Lobbying: Dana addresses misconceptions around lobbying, explaining how it involves advocating for better rights and support for people with disabilities in their context.

Conclusion: This episode offers a comprehensive look into the challenges and achievements in the field of developmental disabilities, with Dana Charlton providing valuable insights and experiences. It’s an essential listen for anyone interested in understanding and supporting the empowerment of individuals with disabilities. 

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