'Village' Concept Is, Like, 'So 20th Century'
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 14, 2004
DONCASTER, ENGLAND--Reading this story from Wednesday's Doncaster Today had me wondering if I'd stepped into an episode of "The Twilight Zone".
Perhaps I did.
The story is about a "unique" project for people with "severe learning disabilities" (that's the term used in the United Kingdom and elsewhere for what is called "mental retardation" in the U.S.).
The project includes a "safe haven" in the form of a village with "many of the facilities found in the average town centre such as a shop, a cafe and a hairdresser to give them a taste of life in the community".
One manager explained: "These are things that most of us take for granted but the village will be a safe environment where young adults with severe learning disabilities can learn the life skills to be able to go out into the community."
Providing "safe havens" to help people "prepare" for a life in the community was the rationale used to place hundreds of thousands of people in institutions during the last century. Safety and preparation continue to be the reasons used to keep children with disabilities separated from their peers and thousands of adults behind institution walls.
Isn't it time to move forward to simply giving people a real life in the real community?
"Village Plan Given Go-Ahead" (Doncaster Today)