Organizer's Forum

Parents with Disabilities: May 17, 2016

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Organizer’s Forum: Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 – Topic: Parents with Disabilities

Tuesday, May 17th, 1-2 pm Eastern time, 12-1 Central time, 11-12 Mountain time, 10-11 am Pacific time

  • Call in number: 1-712-832-8310
  • Code: 125175#

On this call, we’ll talk about how people with disabilities are facing discrimination in the right to parent their children, or even to access reproductive healthcare to allow them to become a parent in the first place. In 32 states you can lose custody of your child solely on the basis of disability. The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services have issued guidance requiring states to take the ADA into account and legislative efforts on the state level are taking place around the country to add further support.

This call will educate participants on both the problem and potential solutions. The speakers will discuss how different parts of the disability community are being impacted and how we can organize to ensure the protection of these rights for all.


  • Rebecca Cokley, Executive Director of the National Council on Disability and mom to Jackson (5) and Kaya (2)
  • Melissa Riccobono, Representative, National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Blind Parent Initiative, and a blind mother of three children
  • Kara Ayers, co-founder of the Disabled Parenting Project, Associate Director of UC UCEDD, and a proud mother of 2
  • Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), father of a son who is headed off to college in the fall
  • Patrick Cokley, Disability Policy Engagement Manager for Anthem, previously at the Department of Labor, manages the Lead On update and parent of two kids, Jackson and Kaya

To get an idea of who joins our calls, if you are interested in joining on Tuesday, please fill out this quick form!

CART: The call will have real-time captioning (CART)! The website where you will be able to view the captioning is Username: forum. Password: forum. Thank you to the National Disability Leadership Alliance for sponsoring the captioning of this call.

** If you need additional accommodations to participate in the call, please let us know as soon as possible.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Organizer’s Forum has a call on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 1-2 pm EST (10-11 am PST).

NOTE: We have a listserv for discussion on these issues. It’s; please go to: and click “Join this group!” We also have our separate announcement-only listserv to allow everyone to easily get notices about the Organizer’s Forum, called Please email us to be added.

We also have a facebook page! We can use this is a way to continue conversation beyond the monthly calls. Please “like” Organizer’s Forum on facebook.!/pages/Organizers-Forum/228971863811531?sk=info


The Organizing Workgroup of the National Disability Leadership Alliance hosts these calls the third Tuesday of every month as a resource for disability organizers, in an effort toward building the organizing capacity of the disability community across the country. They generally follow the format of a Welcome followed by 2-3 experts in a given area speaking for a few minutes on their experiences, advice and challenges. The calls include a 20-30 minute question and answer period.

To ask questions via CART: Sign-in to the Chat function on the right side of the transcript and type your question. One of the call facilitators will read out any questions posted there.

Because we want to maximize the generously donated CART services, we will begin the call promptly at 1pm and end the call promptly at 2pm (eastern time). A few other reminders about call etiquette:

  • Say your name before each time you speak
  • Speak one at a time
  • Speak slowly and as clearly as possible

So you can mark your calendars now, Organizer’s Forums are held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. If you have suggestions for call topics or presenters for upcoming topics, please email them to or

Looking forward to talking with you all!

Jessica Lehman and Diane Coleman
Co-Chairs, National Organizing Workgroup