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.
he Parkland - ITINERIS project operates as a unique partnership involving Parkland CLASS and the ITINERIS Foundation of Argentina. The project supports the advancement of disability rights in the Southern Cone nations of South America. Through this initiative, educational courses have been developed and delivered to parent groups, frontline staff, and professionals in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile.
The ITINERIS project promotes and facilitates a significant social paradigm change by challenging paternalistic values and inappropriate views that are often held towards disabled children and adults. These negative and limiting beliefs (deficit paradigm) are replaced with new values that support community inclusion, self-determination, and expanded human rights.
The overall objective is that community capacity is improved such that disabled individuals move from a marginalized economic and social status to become valued participants within their own homes, families, and communities.
Through the Parkland - ITINERIS Project, family members and frontline staff participate in a 10-month educational program that involves 8 workshops. These workshops challenge and replace the negative beliefs and values that limit community inclusion. A shorter 3-hour seminar is also utilized in working with the broader community, medical practitioners, educators, and other professionals. To date 3000 frontline staff, over 350 families, and several thousand professionals and community members have participated in ITINERIS training.
The general course outlines provide an historical overview of disability, the current deficit paradigm, a new liberating definition of disability, a review of current support systems, and a discussion of autonomy, self-determination, person-centred planning, and social inclusion. Participants are also provided with strategies to fully incorporate their learning within the daily lives of disabled individuals.
The ITINERIS Foundation is operated by Dr. Diego Gonzalez Castanon, and Lic. Andrea Aznar. Dr Castanon is an Argentine psychiatrist and psychotherapist and is the past Chairperson of the "International Affairs Committee" of the American Association on Mental Retardation, Washington D.C. Ms Aznar, is a licensee and professor in psychology. Both are international educators and innovators within the disability field.