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At the heart of the debate are fundamental differences in beliefs and values about the extent to which the environment affects the functioning of those individuals with disabilities and what types of environments are best for whom.

In other words, the questions were still the same – who qualifies for living in the community, and for whom are institutions still necessary? Successful court cases and the direction of federal policy, however, began to shift the burden of proof to those who questioned deinstitutionalization.

The leadership for community living for all people was clear – all people with developmental disabilities, including those with severe developmental, behavioral, and health impairments can live successfully in the community if appropriately supported.

According to Steve Taylor, there were ongoing and grave concerns about improving the quality of supports in the community, preventing the community from becoming like the institution, and how to promote relationships, choice and self-expression.

Individual living in the community
Photo courtesy Ann Marsden
Video: A New Way of Thinking (Closing comment)
A New Way of Thinking (Complete video)
How People Come to Be Involved in Court Cases – Two stories. Parents in Oklahoma and People First of Tennessee go to court to close institutions.