A small group of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) began meeting in August 2006 to establish a self-advocacy advisory council; increase their knowledge, understanding, and awareness of their rights; develop leadership skills; empower themselves to take control of their lives; and make their own decisions.
The group worked on a mission statement, by-laws, and policies and procedures.
In January 2007, the Hawaii State Council on DD (DD Council) initiated legislation to appropriate funds to support a statewide self-advocacy network of individuals with I/DD to provide education and training, opportunities to develop leadership skills, and to network with other self-advocacy organizations across the country. The 2007 State legislature appropriated funds for a coordinator and operating expenses to support SAAC and establish a statewide self-advocacy network. The funds are appropriated to and administered by the DD Council. The legislature has remained committed through its continued appropriation to support efforts of self-advocates to become active partners in the design and enhancement of the service delivery system, contribute to their communities, and establish a statewide self-advocacy network.