The Maryland Down syndrome Advocacy Coalition (MDAC) is a partnership of various active Down syndrome organizations across the state, advocating on the behalf of individuals with Down syndrome and their families. MDAC takes the position that all rights, privileges, and opportunities enjoyed by other Maryland residents should be available to individuals with Down syndrome. In keeping with that position, MDAC pursues the passage and implementation of laws, regulations, and policies aimed at improving meaningful access to education, facilitating independent lives through self-determination, and encouraging innovative programs and best practices among service providers. By drawing on the expertise, leadership, and experiences of its members, MDAC is able to provide a comprehensive view of key issues impacting the Down syndrome community.
MDAC seeks to improve the quality of life for all individuals with Down syndrome, regardless of age, by improving and expanding opportunities at the community and state level. While its principal focus is on issues involving Down syndrome, MDAC believes that all opportunities which could benefit individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities must be realized. These opportunities should be available to all individuals not only during infancy, but throughout elementary, secondary and post-secondary schooling and adulthood.
To achieve this goal, MDAC:
- Recommends the state-wide implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational framework that requires curriculum, including goals, instructional materials, teaching methods, and assessments, to be designed to provide meaningful access by the widest range of learners.
- Favors expansion of the availability of, and access to, meaningful post-secondary learning programs for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
- Supports the development and full implementation of policies in the State of Maryland that promote self-determination, such as “Money follows the person.”
- Encourages improved and expanded employment training and opportunities and an end to the waiting list for services from the DDA.
MDAC believes that Maryland should aspire to be the leading State in the recognition of the value and contributions of individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, in the classroom, the workforce and as a part of the broader community. With much of the groundwork already in place, Maryland has the opportunity to set the standard across the country by expanding its efforts to encourage and promote positive change in the lives of all individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families.