Excerpt from Disability Blog: (click for entire article)
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act considers the issues of “self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life” for individuals with developmental disabilities. All of these values presume respect for people with developmental disabilities. Where respect is lacking, self determination and independence are often denied. Integration and inclusion without respect become merely symbolic. As we celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2012, it is clear we have achieved much over the past 50 years, but we still have far to go before we can claim full success.
In recent conversations with young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD), I have heard many incredible stories about their college experiences, their great jobs and their wonderful apartments and shared living arrangements – lives that don’t sound very different from those of other twenty-somethings. The young woman from Massachusetts who graduated and is now working as a teacher’s assistant at competitive wages. The guys from Wisconsin who just moved into apartments in an inclusive community where they host football parties for their neighbors on the weekends, and are excited to be able to invite girls over (without the watchful eyes of their mothers!). The young woman from Iowa who is supported by her family in her efforts to run her own coffee shop – a popular local gathering place and a connection to the community. And my friend from Oregon who has worked for an independent bookseller for more than a decade, hiring his own staff and purchasing his own vehicle, despite having no verbal language and other significant disabilities.