By Victoria Orozco
The event !SOY MI VOZ! was organizaed by FEPAPDEM in Quito, Ecuador on 19-21 November, 2015.
Self-advocates from the region came together to raise awareness about iissues important to people wih intellectual disabilities and to highlight their skills through recognition of their good practices.
It was gratifying to see how the self-advocacy movement is growing stronger in Latin America, although resistance to change was perceived and rooted cultural beliefs among some of the parents attending were observed.
Increasingly, organisations and families believe in their children and sharing good practices creates a favorable scenario for this to continue happening.
Self-Advocates spoke about a strong sport participation in their lives, which is obviously very important for improving the quality of life. However this must not be the only option.
Strong criticisms were made to employment. The mandatory 4% quota imposed to business means in some cases they simply pay the person with disability without actually giving them a job. In other cases they employ the mother of the person with disability as the beneficiary.
In Ecuador there is a predominance of special schools, few children with disabilities have the chance to finish seondary school education. None of the panelists had completed secondary school.