2011 — People with Intellectual Disabilities: Critical Supports that Promote Independence, Full and Lifelong Community Inclusion
Independence and Community Living
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publications, Annual Reports to the President
- Annual Reports
As a nation, we are enriched by the contributions of individuals with disabilities. In the almost 50 years since President Kennedy commissioned a panel to focus attention on our national responsibility to our fellow citizens, individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) and their families have come out of the shadows.
People with ID are an integral part of the social fabric of our country. As a society, we have learned to recognize and support the capacity and gifts of people with ID. Many children with ID go to the local school with their siblings and neighbors. Young adults with ID are now beginning to pursue postsecondary education, far exceeding the low expectations and societal misperceptions that have limited options for people with disabilities and hinder our productivity as a nation. Individuals with ID are workers contributing to the economy, although they largely remain unemployed or underemployed. They fully participate in volunteerism and civic life, including voting. In contrast to a long history of isolation and segregation, children with ID are now growing up living with their families within the community. This has been made possible by the support we, as a society, provide to our fellow citizens.
For families, having their children live quality lives at home has been made possible through important federal policies including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and enforcement and implementation activities stemming from the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999). The combination of civil rights protections and supportive programs has allowed people with ID to live within our communities and not rely on costly segregated institutions.
People with ID and their families are citizens in every state and community of our country. Intellectual disabilities know no socioeconomic, ethnic or geographic boundaries and are not the province of any political, social or cultural group. People with ID and their families share the commonality that the availability and judicious use of support from social programs are critically important for survival and full engagement in community life. Ensuring that people with ID are included fully in our communities requires support from all sectors of our society.
For our nation, providing supports to individuals with ID and their families makes sense: humanly and economically.