A New Way of Thinking

In 1987, the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities released A New Way of Thinking. It summarized changes in our thinking and ways of acting based on a great deal of learning about the nature of disability, what people with developmental disabilities are capable of doing, what is important in their lives, and how they can be supported in communities.

A New Way of Thinking described a straightforward agenda of outcomes:

  • A home of my own
  • Learning for life
  • Real work for real pay
  • Friendships and relationships.

The challenge is to forge a new reality with and for people with developmental disabilities based on these understandings. Fundamentally, this means focusing efforts on a single agenda – a meaningful life in the community – rather than continuing to maintain the dual systems of congregation/segregation and integration/inclusion. It means constructing a system based on values and leadership, and using public dollars to secure outcomes that actually serve the public good and respect the dignity and citizenship of people with developmental disabilities. It means involving the rest of the community in the lives of people with developmental disabilities, including recognition by community organizations and agencies that people with disabilities have a right to the same services and supports as other citizens.

2