International Overview

Parkland CLASS has been involved in developing international disability initiatives since May of 2000. At that time, Parkland’s Board established a strategic goal “To become a recognized NGO (Non-Government Organization) and to undertake international initiatives which advance the rights and status of disabled adults, children, and their families”.

Parkland's international activities involve consulting and technological transfers of Canadian practices, systems, beliefs, and values that support the advancement of a new paradigm of disability rights in developing nations.

The participant groups targeted by Parkland CLASS include developmentally disabled children and adults, their families, frontline staff who work in the disability field, and the professional community including institutions, medical practitioners, and other professionals who provide generic community services and supports.

In October 2004, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) convened a Pan-American conference in Montreal to establish a universal declaration on intellectual disability. This declaration addressed human rights, freedoms, standards of support, and community inclusion.

Through the Montreal Declaration, international organizations and others were called upon - “to collaborate with States, persons with disabilities, family members, and NGOs to dedicate resources and technical assistance to … support the full participation in society of persons with intellectual disabilities and integrated models of community services”.

Parkland CLASS has advanced its strategic goal and supported the Montreal Declaration through three separate avenues of international activities. These streams include the ITINERIS Project, the Parkland - Argentina Self-advocacy Initiative, and various formal International Conference presentations.