What is a developmental disability?These are physical and mental conditions that present themselves in the first 18 years of a person’s life. Developmental disabilities vary and can be physical, mental, or genetic disorder. The most common types are hearing or speech difficulties, learning and intellectual development disabilities such as mental retardation, Down’s syndrome, and attention deficit disorder, and other neurological impairment like cerebral palsy. Over the years, more and more non-profit organizations rose to answer the growing needs of people with such disorders.The most common intellectual disabilities: Down’s syndrome, autism, and mental retardationIntellectual developmental disabilities affect a person’s capability to learn, develop motor skills, and understand logic. Affected individuals find communicating, doing basic chores, and making sound decisions difficult. Those with mental retardation find it hard to develop language skills. Simple tasks such as eating, tying a shoelace, and even hair combing can also be extremely difficult for these people.People with autism, on the other hand, commonly have communication development difficulties and are often challenged by social interaction. Persons with this type of disorder are keen about routines and doing the same things repetitively. Autistics often develop a world of their own because of their inability to relate to the normal perception of other people. When diagnosed and treated early, autistics stand a good chance of living a normal life with proper medication. They can even hold employment and later on get married and have children.This does not say that people with developmental disabilities are not capable of learning at all. With help from people surrounding them and from professionals, they can live better lives.Hope for people with developmental disabilitiesToday, people with great concern for individuals who need special care continue to provide employment and recreational and medical services. They also foster family care to affected individuals. These non-profit organizations create opportunities for persons with disabilities to help improve their lives. They also educate people on how to cope with people with impairments.Some non-profit organizations offer a variety of active treatment services. Every single patient receives an individualized health care plan. These services are performed on a regular basis and adjusted accordingly depending on the progress of a patient.The therapies are as follows:1. Physical therapy. PT services help patients develop mobility by means of various hands-on techniques. This may involve exercises and use of adaptive equipment.2. Occupational therapy. This type of therapy helps patients do normal everyday chores through purposeful activities.3. Speech therapy. This helps with the development of language and communication skills.There are many other services tailored to help adults and children with disabilities. Now, parents and families of mentally and intellectually challenged individuals have a support group. They do not have to live mediocre lives because of their disabilities. Proper medical care, moral support, and the opportunity to live normal lives will help these people cope with the rest of the world.
Our society as a whole can only function well when all its sections are working well. Americans with disabilities are an equal part of this society. The society can treat them as a burden and choose to ignore, as it has been conveniently doing since long. However, the best way to deal with the problem is to accept it. Community integration of developmentally disabled adults and kids is the right way to solve the problem. Treating people with intellectual disability with respect and as equals is the way. If they are given the right training, exposure, and opportunities, they can become a contributing member of the society. They are only a bit slow and they have had no control over it. All that is required is the inclusion of people with mental disabilities.Jobs for disabled are disproportionate. It is no secret that the share of the developmentally disabled adults in jobs is very low. As per the statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17.9% people with disabilities were employed in 2016. The employment ration of people without disabilities is well above 76%. This shows that community integration has been lacking. The sense of empathy and companionship may have been lingering deep in our hearts it has been absent in the society.It is important that we all take steps to increase their participation in society as a whole. Making them feel as a contributing member is very important. Some ways to promote their independence and increase their participation are:Give Work
Work is always emancipating. It breaks barriers and brings people into the mainstream. Developmentally disabled adults mainly remain cut-off from society because they do not get to work in it. It is important that we give them work. Right to work with everyone will give them a sense of belonging. They will be able to integrate into the society better. Developmental disabilities services are limited and their scope needs to be widened.Sports Opportunities
Sports is a great way to break inhibitions and make people comfortable and loved. It can be a great medium for promoting community integration in people with mental disabilities. It makes people more inclined towards taking initiative. It can become a starting point for gaining independence.Respect and Interaction
One of the biggest reasons for people with intellectual disabilities not being independent is lack of trust. Our interaction with them is so low that we are never able to develop respect for their abilities. People with mental disabilities are generally fit for physical work. They are employable in several types of jobs. It is our lack of knowledge and trust that keeps them aloof. By increasing interaction with them, a trust-building exercise can be started. Their community integration through work will propel their quest for independence. Supported housing is also a great way to increase their interaction with everyone. They will get higher exposure and live with everyone without inhibitions.Increase Representation
The less we know, the lesser we bother. Developmentally disabled adults have a very low representation in society. This has created a vacuum. A feel-good factor where we have closed our eyes to a reality. This can be changed by increasing their representation in the society. Allowing more people to work, live and play besides everyone is the best way to cater to it.Increase Awareness by Teaching
Lack of ample knowledge about intellectual disabilities and the problems people with them face is a big reason for concern. This ignorance becomes the root cause of apathy. For greater inclusion, it is important that we teach people about them. The problems, their causes and the limitations they cause. This will help people in understanding people with mental disabilities. Their sympathetic and cooperating attitude to creating a safer environment. Developmentally disabled people will be able to move around more safely without being stared or google.Americans with disabilities are as important part of the nation as everyone else. They can and should contribute their part in the development of nation but for that, they need to get a chance. This chance has to be given to them by making them independent. Community integration is a great step,to begin with. Supported housing is one initiative that has started bringing them into the mainstream and more such steps need to be taken.