Speaking For Ourselves

“Speaking For Ourselves” visits Elwyn

Debbie Robinson, The Executive Director of Speaking For Ourselves and Dana Olsen, the Projects Director from the PA History Coalition Honoring People with Disability, were at Elwyn this week looking through the Speaking for Ourselves archives that are currently being held in Elwyn’s archives.

“Basically what we’re doing here today is gathering information and pictures for a traveling exhibit concerning people with disabilities and changes made in legislature and culture over the last few decades. This exhibit will make its way to our event this summer at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, that the local Philadelphia chapter is hosting.” says Mr. Olsen.

Speaking For Ourselves
Ms. Robinson added “We have a Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council grant to put together this exhibit that conveys the history and work of Speaking For Ourselves, a self-advicacy organization that’s essentially operated by and for people with developmental disability. That’s why we’re here, to look through our history. We were there for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the closure of Pennhurst.”

“These are pioneers with a rich history. These are people that had no voice and claimed their voice. All across the state and all across the nation people, Presidents, Governors, and religious leaders are listening.” stated Mr. Olsen.

Speaking for Ourselves is an organization with the “mission is to be an independent community organization controlled by people with disabilities” to “Find a voice for ourselves, Teach the public about the needs, wishes, and potential of people with disabilities, Speak out on important issues, Support each other through sharing, leadership development, and helping and encouraging each other,” according to their website mission statement. The Pennsylvania  History Coalition Honoring People with Disability helped preserve their archival collection. For tours of Elwyn’s archives contact Dr. Elliot Simon at Elwyn,


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