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With An Eye to the Future

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2012: MN Survey of Attitudes Regarding People with Developmental Disabilities from 1962 - 2007 - 2012

A survey of the Minnesota general population was conducted in 1962, to measure awareness and attitudes regarding people with developmental disabilities. The Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities wanted to repeat the attitudinal tracking survey in 2012, to measure changes in attitudes in Minnesota over the past 50 years. This was a review of side-by-side surveys of attitudes among (1) the general population of Minnesotans toward people with developmental disabilities, and (2) households who had a person with a developmental disability.

This study used comparable questions from 1962 and 2007 surveys, with added questions about education, employment, and abuse.

The telephone surveys reached approximately 285 of the general Minnesotan population, and 190 households with a member who had a developmental disability. In addition, eight 30-minute interviews were conducted with service providers, who talked about recent developments (and set-backs) facing their constituents with developmental disabilities.

Today, 89% of the general population agrees that people with developmental disabilities can learn to live normal lives and be productive members of society. However, the general population appears less comfortable with the idea that people with developmental disabilities should be allowed to drive a car or live on their own.

2012  Survey

Of particular concern to people with developmental disabilities and their families in 2012 are issues such as abuse, employment, and the future of education.

  • Concern about abuse is much more prevalent among families with a member with a developmental disability (62% concerned), as compared to the general population of Minnesota families (31% concerned).
  • 42% of families with a member with a developmental disability expect that education services for students with developmental disabilities will be worse in two years than they are today.