More Options For New Yorkers With Developmental Disabilities Coming
December 16, 2004
WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK--Last weekend, the Journal News featured six stories by reporter Amy Sara Clark in which she focused on young adults with developmental disabilities.
Entitled "Coming of Age", the series looked at the lives of New Yorkers who have recently reached adulthood, compared with those who became adults a few decades ago.
Many people learned about the deplorable conditions that thousands of people with disabilities were forced to endure in state-run institutions through the exposés done in the 1960s and 70s of Willowbrook State School. New York then passed laws to get the residents out of these facilities and into homes in the communities.
Those efforts were not enough, however, for the thousands of others who grew up at home and whose parents were aging or dying.
In 1998, after a great deal of advocacy by parents, advocates and people with disabilities, the state increased funding to create community supports for 4,000 people on a waiting list. And last year, the state decided to extend the program for 10 more years.
On Friday, Clark checked in on young people with developmental disabilities who are contributing right alongside other workers in the business community, and how some are starting their own businesses.
On Saturday, Clark featured two stories about community living: One looked at the pros and cons of group homes, while the other looked at creative ways people with these disabilities are getting their own apartments or buying their own homes.
Sunday's installment examined the progress and struggles in inclusive recreation. Some young people still prefer activities with other people who have similar disabilities, Clark noted.
On Monday, the Journal News editorial said that, while the lives of New Yorkers with developmental disabilities has improved considerably, those with mental illnesses are in "terrible straits".
"The numbers of mentally ill New Yorkers grow. So do their proportions among prisoners and the homeless. So does the stigma. So does opposition to any 'coming of age' for them in the community."
Related articles from the Journal News:
"Opening doors into the work force"
"Group homes foster independence, friendship"
"Out of the mainstream, into the pool"
'Coming of age'