Lazarus Testifies Before U.S. Helsinki Commission

Sun Oct 14 2018
Sheryl Lazarus testifies before the U.S. Helsinki Commission on September 24, 2018. Photo courtesy: U.S. Helsinki Commission.

On September 24, ICI's Sheryl Lazarus testified in Washington, DC before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, at a briefing titled, "A Truly Inclusive Society: Encouraging the Ability in Disability." Lazarus, director of ICI's TIES Center, was part of a panel of speakers exploring best practices developed federally and locally to empower and integrate individuals with intellectual disabilities, and the legal changes that will enable individuals with intellectual disabilities to reach their full potential.

"Research has shown us the path to successfully educating all students, including those with the most significant cognitive disabilities," Lazarus told the Commission during her testimony. "The U.S. has taken some steps in that direction, but we need to have the commitment to make sustainable inclusion happen for all students. To improve outcomes for kids, the behavior of adults needs to change. There needs to be a shared responsibility across educators for the success of all students with all students being held to high expectations. Together, we can create a future that supports the learning of all students in inclusive settings, which will lead to a future with communities where all individuals are valued members." The full transcript of Lazarus' testimony is available here, PDF and the video of the full panel's comments can be found here.

The panel was moderated by Allison H. Parker, General Counsel for the commission, and the other witnesses included Sara Hart Weir, President and CEO, National Down Syndrome Society; Kayla McKeon, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy, National Down Syndrome Society; John Cronin, Co-Founder, John's Crazy Socks; and Mark Cronin, Co-Founder and President, John's Crazy Socks. The briefing was recorded and live-streamed to 57 countries, mostly in Europe and Central Asia, as well as the U.S.

Coinciding with that testimony, the University of Minnesota recognized Lazarus and featured her work on its website. The profile provided further context to her work, her current duties at the TIES Center and ICI's National Center on Educational Outcomes, and some of the testimony she shared with the U.S. Helsinki Commission.