Madeleine Will

Founder of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination

Madeleine Will represents the interests of individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families, and partnerships of parents and professionals involved in creating and expanding high-quality comprehensive policy reform. Ms. Will has over thirty-five years of experience in public policy. Since her adult son, Jonathan, was born with Down syndrome, she has been involved in disability policy efforts at the local, State and federal levels and has become a nationally-recognized expert in the field. Leadership positions include serving as Vice President of the National Down Syndrome Society, Chair of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), in the U.S. Department of Education.


Board Members

Connie Garner, President
Barb Trader, Past President
Heather Sachs, Vice President; National Down Syndrome Congress
Curtis Richards, Treasurer; Institute for Educational Leadership
Madeleine Will, Founder
Chris Rodriguez, Policy Workgroup Chair; National Disability Institute
Kim Musheno; Autism Society
Tia Nellis; TASH




Education is a fundamental component of preparing all children, regardless of disability status, for lives in our communities. The Collaboration advocates for inclusive education practices and high expectations for students with disabilities.


CPSD presumes competence in the ability of all citizens with significant disabilities to work and live independently in integrated settings and to contribute meaningfully in their communities. Personal autonomy, access, accountability, and responsibility over one’s life decision-making processes result in better outcomes and improved quality of life for people with significant disabilities.


The Collaboration came together around Employment Policy as the critical lynchpin to ensure people with significant disabilities are included in their communities.  The Collaboration embraces the concept of “Employment First” which is a paradigm that presumes that all people, including people with the most significant disabilities, can work for competitive wages and in their community, given the proper supports and services.


Providing opportunities for people with significant disabilities to save is critical to ensuring that individuals attain economic empowerment.  Current policy often requires people with significant disabilities live in poverty in order to receive the services they need to fully participate in their communities, or receive the medical care they need.

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