Diversity and Cultural Competency

TASH seeks to expand the participation rates of people of diverse backgrounds who have disabilities in advocacy efforts and every aspect of life. – TASH National Agenda, Diversity & Cultural Competency

A Values Perspective

People of diverse backgrounds who have disabilities often face multiple barriers, including access to services and supports, and discrimination in community, education and employment settings. Research shows that, while people with disabilities face enhanced challenges, those of diverse backgrounds are disproportionately affected, often reflected by higher incarceration rates, over-representation in special education programs and diminished social and employment outcomes.

Our commitment to equity, opportunity and inclusion has led us to become fully invested in empowering people of diverse cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds with disabilities and their families. TASH recognizes the value of diversity and what it means to embrace cultural and linguistic competency. We believe all people must be supported by public and organizational policy and practices in order to achieve full inclusion. This acknowledgement, support and advocacy of diversity is essential to attaining positive outcomes for people with disabilities.

TASH is committed to cultural and linguistic competency, and we have and will continue to shed light on issues, policies and practices that impact people of diverse backgrounds with disabilities. Real cultural competency is achieved by embracing the differences in us all, celebrating our unique contributions and supporting equity in access, services and outcomes for all people.

TASH Resolutions: Diversity & Cultural and Linguistic Competency

What We're Doing

In 2010, TASH published its first resolution on diversity and cultural and linguistic competency. This resolution, adopted by the TASH Board of Directors, outlines our commitment to equity, opportunity and inclusion for people of diverse backgrounds with disabilities and their families in accessing services and supports offered not only by TASH, but also through numerous advocacy and support organizations.

Transforming TASH into a more diverse and culturally competent organization is a multi-year, multi-dimensional process that moves diversity from the periphery to the center of our work. Recently, in light of the demographics of TASH members and the vital role of a diverse membership plays in reducing disparities, TASH has identified diversity as a strategic organizational imperative. It is, thus, our goal to make diversity a core strategy imbedded in the ongoing work of TASH at every level. This includes:

  • Developing an annual progress review toward cultural and linguistic competency (e.g., leadership and membership, conference participation, promotion of research topics, appropriate materials, etc.)
  • Allocating resources (e.g., staff time, Diversity Committee) to meet our cultural competency goals
  • Promoting the development of content in publications, conferences, websites and training in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner
  • Developing training tools and trainings focused on cultural competency
  • Partnering with organizations in the disability community and broader social justice community to promote policies and practices that sustain cultural and linguistic competency

Since identifying and committing to diversity and cultural and linguistic competency, TASH has taken steps toward becoming a leader in embracing and promoting these practices. We currently monitor membership metrics and set a baseline to increase the recruitment and retention of TASH members from underrepresented populations. This has positioned TASH for progress for future years. We have also increased the number of qualified staff, committee members and Board of Directors members from underrepresented groups.

As the premier annual education event, the TASH Conference has also been marked for improved representation of diversity topics, and presenters from underrepresented populations (e.g., race, culture, sexual orientation, gender expression and socioeconomic status). We also actively seek the support of sponsors, agency partners, local governments and other organizations to fund scholarship opportunities for TASH trainings and for membership.

Recently, TASH has also developed an effective model for work with and mentoring partners from groups and governments across the globe to improve outcomes for people with disabilities. This includes partnerships with Mongolia, Israel and Paraguay, and look to increase this footprint in the coming years.

Stay up to date on the work of TASH and its members by visiting our blog. And find additional tools and resources on Diversity & Cultural Competency by visiting the TASH Resources Library.