We fight for the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities knowing their needs lay in a no-man’s land caught between the presumption of society that their needs are met by government programs and politicians who are quick to ignore constituents who are unable to vocally advocate for themselves. Through the randomness of genetics or a medical tragedy at birth, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities find themselves isolated by their disability.
We hear from parents that although they did not always agree with the quality of special education services provided to their child while in school, their child received services and had a place where they belonged. After high school, parents tell us services are sporadic and there is no place where their child belongs. Their only hope is the provision of Medicaid waiver services and in Texas, a state that prides itself on fierce individuality and independence, the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are overshadowed by this fierce individuality and independence resulting in waiting lists for service that are approaching 100,000 with more than a twelve year waiting period.
More importantly, we hear from young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and we know like any young person just out of high school, they too want to live a meaningful life reflecting the exuberance of energy and life that younger people have and yet our young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities find themselves effectively imprisoned by their disability, captive and isolated in their homes and neighborhood, even when they have a caregiver. The binge watching that so many people recently experienced with COVID-19 is too often an everyday reality for the young adults we hear from.
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