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DHS Secretary Visits Everyday Lives Conference, Highlights Support for People with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism

Hershey, PA - Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today delivered a keynote address at the 2020 Everyday Lives Conference in Hershey. The 2020 Everyday Lives Conference invites support professionals, clinical professionals, individuals, and families to engage in three days of presentations focused on empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism to help them achieve an everyday life.

“Our goal at DHS, and the goal of the Wolf Administration in general, is to ensure that Pennsylvanians with disabilities have what they need so they can live better, more engaged in their communities, and have more independence,” said Secretary Miller. “The world is not perfect, but we’ve come a long way in our efforts to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. We can and we will continue to do more, but our progress is because of individuals, families, and support and clinical professionals who lead these changes every day. The work you do reinforces our goal of promoting choice, inclusion and rights among individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism.”

The conference is organized by DHS’ Office of Developmental Programs as part of its commitment to a future that truly includes individuals with disabilities as fully integrated members of our communities. This year’s event features sessions on topics like supporting individuals with complex needs, cultural competence, self-advocacy, telling stories of people with disabilities in pop culture and media, and assistive technology.

Everyday Lives was first established by ODP in 1991 following conversations with people with disabilities, families, service providers, and other advocates to discuss goals and guiding purposes for home and community-based services for people with disabilities. The foundation of the Everyday Lives philosophy is summed up in two statements:

  1. We value what is important to people with disabilities and their families, who are striving for an everyday life. An everyday life is about opportunities, relationships, rights, and responsibilities. It is about being a member of the community, having a valued role, making a contribution to society, and having one’s rights as a citizen fully respected. It is a vision that we should all be working toward together.
  2. People with disabilities have a right to an everyday life; a life that is no different than that of all other citizens. This continues to be the truest statement on which we can build our work. Everyday Lives will be a guide to ODP as it develops policy and designs programs. Providers of services will use the recommendations of Everyday Lives to support individuals and their families to achieve an everyday life. Everyday Lives will guide everyone toward the possibility of an everyday life.

The Wolf Administration reaffirmed Pennsylvania’s commitment to Everyday Lives in 2015. For more information visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James - 717-425-7606

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