Oklahoma Watch Wins Award for Developmental Disabilities Coverage

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Oklahoma Watch has been named the “media advocate of the year” by a Tulsa-based organization that pushes for greater understanding and quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

The media advocate award, to be presented by the nonprofit TARC at a Dec. 7 event in Tulsa, “recognizes the media professional who has effectively promoted better understanding and integration of people with disabilities living in the community.”

Although Oklahoma Watch does not publish opinion or take positions on issues, its coverage often focuses on the quality of life of those who are vulnerable, disabled or impoverished.

In recent years, Oklahoma Watch has published several in-depth stories on the waiting list of families and individuals seeking state aid to cover developmental disabilities services. The waiting list hit a record 7,560 earlier this year, and about half of those are children.

Hundreds have been waiting more than a decade. Their conditions can include autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, brain injuries and intellectual disabilities.

The award is among up to 13 presented annually by TARC, which is an affiliate of a national group, The Arc, that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

TARC will hold its annual awards event on Dec. 7 at the Marriott Hotel Southern Hills on East 71st Street in Tulsa. The keynote speaker will be Joey Travolta (brother of actor John Travolta), who has produced more than 20 films, including a documentary, “Normal People Scare Me”, while mentoring a 15-year-old boy with autism. More details about the event can be found at ddadvocacy.net.