Desired changes to DD system are all about choice
August 18, 2014 / ICFs
A story today in the Columbus Dispatch noted the opposition some families of individuals with developmental disabilities feel about our efforts to advocate for a more community-based developmental disabilities system in Ohio. We are always eager to receive different viewpoints on the work we do.
Our decision to approach state officials about the many flaws in the system and to demand changes is about self-determination, independence and meaningful choice for people with developmental disabilities. It is true that some individuals may genuinely wish to live or work in a segregated, facility-based setting. We do not want to force this option on all people. However, other states that have changed their systems to focus on true community integration for people with developmental disabilities have found that many people who were initially opposed changed their minds once they saw the benefits of integration and learned about all of the options.
Currently, the only real choice under the residential system for thousands and thousands of people with developmental disabilities in Ohio is institutional care. The same is true for vocational and day programs. These individuals do not have a choice where they live, how they spend their days, with whom they interact, and what type of work best suits their unique skills, abilities, and interests. The system the law requires, and that Disability Rights Ohio is advocating for, is one that would allow people with developmental disabilities to live the lives they want to live with the supports they need to do so.