INTELLIGENT LIVES Screened in a Washington, D.C. Congressional Briefing on Transitioning from School to Competitive Integrated Employment

November 26, 2018

Dan Habib Testifies at Congressional Briefing

On Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Dan Habib shared a clip from INTELLIGENT LIVES, his newest film, at the congressional briefing, “Successes of Youth with Disabilities Transitioning from School to Competitive Integrated Employment” in Washington, DC. The briefing was presented by Coalition to Promote Self-Determination and the National Council on Disability, in collaboration with Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).

“This was an important day for Intelligent Lives,” filmmaker Dan Habib shared.  “However, it was even more important for the millions of young adults with disabilities working to transition from school or college into competitive integrated employment.”

Habib shared the film’s story about Naomie Monplaisir, a young woman with Down syndrome from Providence, RI, who attended the Harold A. Birch Vocational Program, a sheltered workshop housed inside of a Providence high school. Now in her mid-20s, Monplaisir has transitioned to competitive, integrated employment. The national employment rate for people with intellectual disability is approximately 15 percent.

More than 100 people attended the briefing, which included congressional staff other policy leaders. Habib and other presenters described how states are helping youth with disabilities succeed as they transition from high school and enter the general workforce.  They heard from people with disabilities and their families about why competitive integrated employment is so important to them, as well as from representatives from state agencies who are working to increase employment options. Read the speakers remarks and view handouts online.

Later that evening, Dan Habib and Micah Fialka-Feldman, one of the film’s stars, spoke at a screening for the film at the National Press Club. The screening was sponsored by the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education and the Syracuse University Alumni Association. They were joined on a panel by Taishoff Center Director Beth Myers and several of Syracuse’s InclusiveU students.

This was just part of a busy fall full of screenings from Los Angeles to New York City. You can see upcoming screenings and find out how to host your own on the INTELLIGENT LIVES website.

INTELLIGENT LIVES stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S. For more information, visit www.intelligentlives.org.

Dan Habib is the creator of the award-winning documentary films Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?, Mr. Connolly Has ALS, and many other films on disability-related topics. Habib is a filmmaker at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. He received the Champion of Human and Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association and the Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2014, Habib was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.