More People With Developmental Disabilities Celebrate At
December 23, 2003
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA--Thousands of people with developmental disabilities across the country will either spend the holidays inside institutional facilities, or will have to return to them once the festivities are over.
However, thousands more will celebrate the holiday season in their own homes than did just a decade ago because of the movement toward community living and the downsizing or closure of dozens of institutions.
Steve Cook, the director of Indiana's Division of Disability, Aging and Rehabilitative Services, wrote in a guest opinion piece for Tuesday's South Bend Tribune that this movement toward community living is "both a victory and a right for people with developmental disabilities -- a fundamental right affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999".
Cook cited an Indiana University Institute on Disability and Community study, which revealed that people with disabilities thrive when they live in the community: "The results show that nearly 90 percent of the families of former residents of Muscatatuck State Developmental Center who were surveyed say their loved ones are more satisfied living in the community. Almost none were worried about quality of life in the community."
Cook pointed out that more than 8,000 Hoosiers with developmental disabilities currently live in community settings.
"As individuals, we must commit to the idea that people with disabilities share the same rights, dreams and hopes we all do, especially at this time of year," he wrote.
"People with disabilities are returning home" (South Bend Tribune)
"Trouble with Indiana's institutions" (IDE Archives)