I am writing as a parent concerned for other families who will loose their choice of community settings. The definition of community is going to be restricted by an artificial definition specifically for those with intellectual disabilities (ID). People with ID will not be able to choose where they want to live, will not be able to live in any supportive community, inclusive community, within walking distance to other people with ID with the definition that is being considered. The “community” for people with ID will be isolated and dispersed housing making it virtually impossible for many to congregate and meet other people. This is called “inclusion” but I call it “inclusion delusion.”
It is extremely unfortunate that many families are loosing this choice and are not even aware of their loss. It is being decided for them by those who are misguided with policies regarding the Olmstead decision. Rather than being allowed to be informed and make their own choices, our government is in the process of destroying communities which are safe, stable and sustainable so these families with younger children will never know what they are being denied.
Today, I met with a mom and her 15 year old son. She asked me how she can look into having her son live at the supportive community where my son lives. She said that she had asked the case manager who told her that she would not want or need to look into this community. Developmental Disability Administration (DDA) does all it can to keep people out, even those who are so desperately asking to access these needed services.
What was interesting is that this mom knew intuitively that the supportive community would be a much better place for her son than a dispersed home. She said her son would just be sitting at home all day but with this campus there is so much to do and one can go out and walk and not be stuck inside until the staff was willing or able to take them out. I told her that we really need to hear from people like her, people who have their children at home but know that they will need more help in the future. These are the people we need to have write letters and contact our legislators, they are the ones that we need to stand up and speak at The Arc meetings, these are the ones that we need to support so that they will have support and choice in the future.
The more people we have come visit the supportive community, the more support we will have for true choice as outlined in Olmstead.
Ravanswold flier – a type of supportive community
LTO Ventures lists “Communities to Know” at this link:
This will give you a good description of supportive communities which are sprouting up to care for our loved ones.