History of SALN

What is Self-Advocacy?

Self-advocacy is when people with developmental disabilities make decisions, speak for themselves, and accept greater responsibilities as citizens. When Idahoans with developmental disabilities are not visible in our communities, our communities do not benefit from our many talents. Proven practice around the country has shown that the best way to become engaged as citizens is by running our own organization and supporting our self-advocacy.

What is SALN?

The Idaho Self-Advocate Leadership Network (SALN) has local organizations (chapters) where we come together in a supportive environment, to build relationships, mentor each other, learn new skills, gain new experiences and have a good time. We have SALN chapters in Moscow, Nampa, Boise, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls. We are working to form SALN chapters in other communities as well.

In areas where we have SALN chapters, self-advocates are serving the community in many ways such as on local advisory boards. Self-advocates in these communities also vote in greater numbers. We build relationships that show other community leaders that they can call on us to share our ideas, experiences, and talents. Companies and public agencies often want input from people with disabilities on issues such as education, transportation, housing, and work force development. They can turn to SALN to find some excellent leaders willing to serve and provide valuable insight and skills.

Idaho SALN members posing for a group photo at the 2013 Disability Advocacy Day conference.

What SALN Means to Members

How SALN Was Created

SALN traces its beginnings to 2001 when the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities started holding training on self-advocacy throughout Idaho. A lot of work went into building SALN. By 2009 we were organized, had our own 501(c)(3) status, and started chapters in several local communities.

Tom Ball, Boise and Joe Raiden, Moscow, at the Disability Advocacy Day booth at the 2013 conference.

Since SALN has taken a leadership role in Idaho, many other organizations have become allies that support but do not control our activities. In addition to the Idaho Council on Developmental Disablities, they include DisAbility Rights Idaho, the University of Idaho’s Center on Disability and Human Development (CDHD), Idaho’s independent living centers, and the State Independent Living Council (SILC), as well as many other agencies that are involved through the Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities (CID).

View an Informational Flyer on Idaho SALNPDF