Press Releases

GCDD Emphasizes Importance of Political Engagement, Highlights Legislative Action Plan in Making a Difference Winter 2014

ATLANTA , GA – As the 2014 Georgia General Assembly convenes and the nation's midterm election season approaches, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities' (GCDD) winter edition of Making a Difference quarterly news magazine outlines GCDD's legislative priorities and covers how people with disabilities are engaging in the democratic process by voting in higher numbers to gain political power. 

Insight from local and national leaders, such as the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathy Martinez, shed light on ways to overcome and become a part of the democratic process through tips, suggestions and resources. 

Additionally, during the Georgia legislative session that began on Jan. 16, GCDD is focusing and strongly advocating Unlock the Waiting Lists!, a campaign that aims to "reduce and eventually eliminate the waiting lists for home- and community-based support for Georgians with disabilities."

While the legislative session is under way, an anticipated 2,000 Georgians will convene for GCDD's 16th annual Disability Day at the Georgia State Capitol on February 20, 2014 featuring a keynote address by Governor Nathan Deal. For more information, visit

In the "Expert Update," Mark Perriello, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), answers questions on why it is important that Americans with disabilities engage in the political process. Perriello discusses the progress that has been made in the disability community, and why more voter turnout can mean more progress and change for the better.

Perriello's discussion on significant political engagement aligns with the guest column commemorating one of the disability community's biggest legislative victories. The landmark US Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead Decision celebrates its 15th anniversary year with a four-part series covering the time before, during and after the Olmstead Decision and its effects on the community. The articles are written by Talley Wells, director of the Disability Integration Project at Atlanta Legal Aid Society.

This issue also features an inside look into the ASPIRE (Active Student Participation Inspires Real Engagement) program, an educational approach that is becoming popular across Georgia schools for students with disabilities. Through a grant funded by GCDD, the program is part of the student-led Individual Education Program (IEP) initiative that has students contribute content, "which allows them to become more involved and responsible for their education," says Cindy Saylor, GCDD Partnerships for Success coordinator and ASPIRE consultant.

GCDD’s next quarterly meeting will be held in Atlanta on April 17-18, 2014. All meetings are open to the public.

About Making a Difference:

Making a Difference is published by Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). Current and past issues can be accessed online at and hard copies can be requested by contacting the GCDD Office of Public Information. The magazine is available online in accessible PDF and large print format, as well as on audio by request.

Valerie Meadows Suber, Public Information Director
Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
404-657-2122 (office); 404-226-0343 (mobile)

Tags: GCDD, Georgia, Advocacy, Making a Difference, Atlanta, Developmental Disabilities