1995 — President’s Committee on Mental Retardation: Collaborating for Inclusion
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publications, Annual Reports to the President
- Annual Reports
The Report articulates the Committee's pride in the tremendous steps that have been taken to include citizens with mental retardation in community life, and also shares a vision for Federal, State and local leaders who wish to work effectively together to promote coherent policies that will support such independence.
The President's Committee on Mental Retardation strongly supports the inclusion of individuals with mental retardation in all aspects of community life. To further the prospects of inclusion, in September 1995 the President's Committee sponsored the first in a series of National Collaborative Academies on Mental Retardation, designed to provide information regarding community inclusion to State Teams. State legislators, budget directors, business community leaders, key staff members from each State's Governor's office, family members, and self- advocates (people with mental retardation) joined mental retardation service providers and State mental retardation/developmental disabilities agency personnel to form State Teams for this very important meeting. Delegations from Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Washington participated and began developing State Collaborative Plans to increase opportunities for including children and adults with mental retardation in everyday life.
The President's Committee on Mental Retardation recognizes that the impetus for change must come from the community and State level. Plans developed by State Teams will need to be refined, implemented, and adjusted many times, as States initiate change and respond to policy reform efforts at the Federal level and requests for innovation from consumers, families, and providers in the State. It is critical that the plans continue to evolve as they are implemented to ensure their maximum success.
During the Academy, the State Teams participated in numerous learning experiences. They heard many examples of how people with mental retardation have become valued members of their communities. Some of the most wonderful examples were given by individuals with mental retardation whose lives have been transformed by changes in how they receive services and supports. Hearing individuals with mental retardation talk about how important it is to be in charge of their own lives and to be included in their communities helped all Academy participants to have a better understanding of the importance of promoting community inclusion and person-centered support systems. State delegations left the Academy with an improved sense of the contributions that can be made by people with mental retardation in the community.
State Teams also heard that promoting self-determination and life-long community inclusion and participation requires new ways of thinking about services for people with mental retardation. No longer is it appropriate to talk about clients receiving services determined solely by mental retardation professionals. Rather, supports must allow people to choose what they want and need rather than what the service system wants to provide them. Supports must be designed for each person based on individual need, and must not require people to leave home or family in order to accept services that are offered. This shift to person-centered supports and inclusion will require changes in Federal and State policies, as well as changes in the way agencies provide services and funds. Although these changes have already begun, there is still much work to be done.
Focusing on support to the journey to inclusion, this Report to the President summarizes the principles emerging from the Academy's deliberations, provides guidelines developed by State Teams to enhance collaborative promotion of inclusion, and presents positions of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation regarding the relevant public policy issues under debate in the current era of reform.