2005 — Keeping the Charge: Accessibility to Dental Care for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publications, Annual Reports to the President
- Annual Reports
The 2005 Report to the President identifies the critical needs for dental health and oral hygiene for people with intellectual disabilities. A team of dental experts revealed to the Committee the prevalence of poor dental health and poor dental hygiene among prize athletes competing for Special Olympics. Dental health specialists reviewed the health records among a sample of citizens with intellectual disabilities and reported to the Committee that a critical situation existed affecting both general and dental health. With the assistance of dental experts, the Committee identified the issues and developed recommendations for the consideration of the President.
It is estimated that approximately six million Americans of all ages, or up to three percent of the general population of the United States of America, experience intellectual disabilities (mental retardation). Nearly 30 million families, or one in ten, are directly affected by a person with intellectual disabilities at some point in their lifetime. Intellectual disabilities present a major challenge to the social, educational, health and economic systems within the United States.
The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities was first established in 1966 by Executive Order to focus on this critical subject of national concern. Since 1966, the Committee has fostered State planning, stimulated development of strategies, policies and programs and advanced the concept of community participation in the field of intellectual disabilities. The Committee’s primary function is to provide advice and assistance to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of matters relating to programs, services, supports and policies that impact the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
In February 2001, President George W. Bush expressed his commitment to tearing down the barriers to equality that challenge millions of Americans with disabilities. The President announced his New Freedom Initiative, established to help Americans with disabilities by increasing access to assistive technologies, expanding educational opportunities, increasing the ability of people with disabilities to integrate into the workforce and promoting increased access into daily community life. At its first meeting, the President’s Committee determined that it would organize its advice to the greatest extent possible within the conceptual framework of the challenges and goals outlined in the President’s New Freedom Initiative for people with disabilities.
Providing core ideas to change the reality that millions of people with intellectual disabilities remain outside of the mainstream of American life motivated the Committee to examine the current state of dental care for persons with intellectual disabilities.