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Austin resident accepted into statewide advocacy skills and leadership training program

Austin resident Kellie Schmidt has been accepted from a statewide pool of applicants into the eight-month Minnesota Partners in Policymaking leadership training, which starts in the fall.

Kellie Schmidt

Participants include adults with disabilities and parents raising children with developmental disabilities. Schmidt’s daughter has autism, a sensory integration disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that results in a heightened sensitivity to lights, sounds, food, clothing, and new situations. Her daughter is challenged as she enters the school setting and community activities.

By attending Partners, Schmidt hopes to gain more information about services, therapy options and sensory toys to aid in her daughter’s development. “I refuse to let my baby girl fall behind before someone will help her,” Schmidt said.

Partners in Policymaking was created by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.

“The goal is to develop leaders statewide to partner with school systems, medical and business communities so all individuals with disabilities are supported as they become self-confident, independent and contributing citizens across the state,” said Dr. Colleen Wieck, executive director of the Governor’s Council.

The Governor’s Council introduced the program in 1987, and, through expansion to other states and countries, Partners has trained more than 27,000 people worldwide.