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Partners in Policymaking®
Changing Lives. Changing Policies.

Since the Partners program was created in Minnesota in 1987, more than 27,000 self advocates and parents of children with developmental disabilities have graduated nationally and internationally. They comprise a network of trained advocates and leaders, working in partnership with their elected officials to positively change the way people with disabilities live, work, and are educated; and enjoy the benefits of being actively involved in their communities.

On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this book traces the history of the Partners program. Through a collection of stories and testimonials, Partners graduates share the impact of the program on their lives as well as the many ways that the ADA has resulted in their greater inclusion and integration into the community and society at large.

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It's My Choice

The 2017 edition of It’s My Choice has been updated and is now available.  The content reflects 21st Century language and thinking about services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities; and the format is designed for easier navigation and to improve usability.  The concept and principles of person centered planning are interwoven throughout.  The Person Centered Plan is one of the first checklists.

This updated edition is also interactive. Each of the guides and checklists can be completed online, saved, updated, and downloaded and printed out. These can be used to help individuals, who need and use services, prepare for their planning meetings, as a point of reference so they can be more actively involved during their meetings, and to encourage opportunities for them to express their personal life goals.

Previous editions and formats are still available and can be downloaded at the links. (August 2017)

2017 Edition Print Version available (enter quantity and complete form below):

2017 Edition PDF Version  
2012 Edition Text Version
2012 Edition Spanish Text Version PDF
2012 Spanish Text Version (Word Doc)

Download an audio version of the original edition (mp3)


Making Your Case (Updated Edition)

A booklet that offers techniques and insights for effective communication skills in the legislative process and how to positively influence public policy at all levels of government – writing letters; talking with legislators/public officials via phone, email, and visits; and presenting testimony. The roles and responsibilities of legislative staff, and various approaches for "making your case" are provided. A glossary of terms is included. Items specific to the Minnesota legislative process are noted. (July 1994, revised February 2001)
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Minnesota Workbook: "Feeling Safe, Being Safe" (MN Personal Safety Materials), "Feeling Safe, Being Safe" Magnet

This worksheet and magnet will help you make a plan and support you during an emergency. It will help you think about: Important people to call. Being safe at home. A safe place to go. Complete all the pages in the worksheet. Put it in your emergency kit. The magnet will show important information about you. Fill it in using information from your worksheet. You can use a pen or marker. Put it on your refrigerator.

Worksheet PDF Version   Magnet PDF Version

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A New Way of Thinking: More Than Twenty Years Later

In 1987, the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities introduced A New Way of Thinking, a publication that spoke about the what we had learned about the abilities of people with developmental disabilities and how they can be best supported in the community. What we learned then changed out thinking and the actions that needed to be taken to move systems, services, and funding into a new dimension.

A New Way of Thinking, More Than Twenty Years Later traces the progress that has been made during that time and the significant changes that have occurred, and sets out what we need to do together in order to forge a new reality. (2009)

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A New Way of Thinking

This document reviews the history of service changes for people with developmental disabilities and provides the context for a new policy perspective. Quality services are responsive to basic and individual needs, and recognize that, first and foremost, people with developmental disabilities are people with abilities. They are more alike than different from people without disabilities. New ways of thinking about how, when, and with whom people with developmental disabilities learn, live, and work are discussed. New service and funding strategies, and examples of alternatives to traditional approaches are included. (January 1987)

No Longer Available in Print. PDF Version   Text Version


Stories of Leadership

Twenty stories of personal transformation as a result of the impact of the Partners in Policymaking® program; brief stories and portrait photographs are featured in this book. (August 2002)

No Longer Available in Print. PDF Version   Text Version   Spanish Version


Friends: A Manual for Connecting Persons with Disabilities and Community Members

A guide for supporting people with developmental disabilities to establish relationships with people without disabilities. Based on the premise that relationships are probably the most important aspect of our lives, Friends provides concrete suggestions about relationship building – ways to help people get better connected, maximizing opportunities for connections to happen, and helping to broaden and deepen personal networks. (1990)

No Longer Available in Print. PDF Version   Text Version

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It's Never Too Early, It's Never Too Late
A Booklet About Personal Futures Planning

A guidebook that introduces personal futures planning for individuals with disabilities, their families, and advocates. Futures planning is discussed as an ongoing problem solving process that focuses on the person with disabilities – his/her desires and interests, opportunities to develop personal relationships and take on positive roles in community life, increase control over his/her own life, and learn skills to achieve these goals. (1988) No Longer Available in Print. PDF Version   Text version


Minnesotans Speak Out!

In 1992, the Minnesota Department of Human Services appointed a study group to review the structure under which developmental disabilities are provided and the related costs. Town meetings were held to hear what Minnesotans thought. Six themes were identified about the strengths and issues of Minnesota's service delivery system, and the results summarized in the first edition of Minnesotans Speak Out! The 1997 edition asked people about the relevance of those same themes five years later, what has changed, and comments about specific issues related to each of those themes. (January 1998)
No Longer Available in Print.   PDF Version   Text Version


Making Futures Happen

A workbook designed for facilitators of the personal futures planning process and written to compliment It's Never Too Early, It's Never Too Late. The basic values and approaches to personal futures planning and strategies for developing and implementing plans are provided. Facilitator skills and capacities necessary for an effective planning process are discussed – creating and evaluating information and finding new directions for action, tools for conducting productive meetings, and ideas for maintaining a long term commitment to the change process. (1998)
No Longer Available in Print.   PDF Version   Text Version

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Shifting Patterns

A briefing booklet that presents the key concepts of self determination and empowerment processes – freedom of choice, control over various aspects of one's life, full community participation, dignity, responsibility, and opportunity. A shift in the beliefs and attitudes about individuals, services, professionals, and community are highlighted through Partners in Policymaking®, parents as Case Managers, Personal Futures Planning, Vouchers, Youth Leadership, People First, and Career Vision. (October 1992)

No longer available in print. PDF Version   Text Version   Spanish Version

Download Audio File (mp3)


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