Project Name

The Culturally Responsive Advisory Group (CRAG)

Type of practice
Emerging practice (new, innovative and hold promise)

Area(s) of Emphasis 
Formal and informal community supports
Quality Assurance and training in self-advocacy, leadership, and self-determination

Project/activity year


Population of focus
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Families of people with ID/DD
Unserved and underserved (by Racial and ethnic minority backgrounds)
Unserved and underserved (by language access (English as a second language)

Strategies used
Supporting and Educating Communities
Demonstration of New Approaches to Services and Supports)

Project description
The Culturally Responsive Advisory Group (CRAG) is made up of individuals with I/DD and family members from the Latino community. The CRAG was established to ensure Community NOW! system change efforts include the involvement and perspective of Latino family members and individuals. Council staff provides in-depth education about agenda items, ensures understanding, and provides each member the time to consider the discussion topics from Community NOW! meetings within their own lived experience. The Council has been intentionally working with two specific Spanish language interpreters over the long-term to build their vocabulary and understanding of the developmental disability service system. Members of the CRAG expressed a need for the Spanish speaking community to have basic information in Spanish about specific intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Council met this need with the direction of CRAG members and created twelve information sheets in Spanish; these information sheets provided specific information about diagnosis and developmental milestones for many types of disabilities. The Council supported CRAG with the distribution of these fact sheets in primarily Spanish speaking Faith based organizations and Latino organizations.

Impact (or impact-to-date) of the project/activity for people with ID/DD and their families
One family member participating in the CRAG described how consistently using the same interpreters significantly improved the quality of the language interpretation, which made it easier to fully participate in the discussions. Another important impact of the CRAG has been the leadership development of CRAG members A parent commented in her phone interview: “Okay, I do consider myself [a leader]. Because I enjoy defending the rights of others. I want to fight for those who can’t. I want to be the voice of those who do not speak. I want to be the feet of those who don’t walk, the ears of those who can’t hear. I want to be their voice, I want to be everything for those who can’t. That’s why I want to be a leader, I want to be heard.”

Story perspective
Family of a person with ID/DD

What were things like BEFORE you/your family/partner/community participated in the project/activity?
“I feel that the interpretation was not so good in the past and the sense of what I wanted to say or ask was lost during the interpretation.” – CRAG Member

What are things like AFTER you/family/partner/community participated in the project/activity?
“…consistently using the same interpreters significantly improved the quality of the language interpretation, which made it easier to fully participate in the discussions”

What was most beneficial to you/family/partner/community from participating in this project or practice?
“I think that the interpretation is very good now because the interpreters have a lot of knowledge on the subject that is being talked about.”

Role of the DD Council in achieving positive outcomes through this project.
Miguel Juarez is the Program Specialist who works with the CRAG.

Contact Information
Marieke Edwards


Council location