We had a very good meeting with the Editorial Board of the Chicago Tribune yesterday. Our goal was to have the Tribune write an editorial supporting House Bill 5931 the DSP Wage Bill. House Bill 5931 is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. We have no information at this time indicating the Governor’s intentions.
Attending the meeting from the Tribune were the Publisher, four Board Members and two reporters. This large a panel indicates interest in our issues of retaining and recruiting direct support professionals.
Our panel making the case for that support were Tere Garate, CEO, Annixter Center; Shawn Jeffers, CEO, Little City, Shirley Perez, Executive Director, Family Support Network and me. I congratulate our panel on their excellent presentation of presenting the issues and defending our cause.
The Editorial Board now knows our important issues, the publishing of an editorial on our behalf remains to be seen.
Today Terri Devine, President of The Arc’s Board and I head to Chicago to meet with new Arc Board Member Nathalie Salem.
Story from Time follows well worth reading and sharing.
By Carol Glazer
Glazer is president of the National Organization on Disability
Our society should tell people with disabilities they can work and live equally
Twenty four years ago my son, Jacob, was born with hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. After several surgeries, doctors told us Jacob would be living with both physical and intellectual disabilities. They also told us not to expect much of Jacob in terms of his ability to participate in civic life, community life and in work. And they plunged us into what I now call the “The Tyranny of Low Expectations.”
All these years later when people speak to Jacob, they still infantilize him, speaking slowly, avoiding big words, as if he’s a toddler. It may not seem like a big deal, but for people with disabilities and their families, it is among the largest challenges we face. Like Jacob, it starts early in life for someone born with a disability, or after acquiring a disability for those who do so later in life.
The bar on expectations for that person is often set so low by doctors, teachers, friends and even families that the person with a disability lives with artificially low ceilings.
The reasons for the tyranny of low expectations are rooted in our societal approach to disability, which has historically been viewed as a problem to be fixed (and in many cases feared or isolated), versus a natural part of the human condition that each of us is likely to encounter in our lives. In the past, people with intellectual disabilities were sent away from their families to institutions, where they would not be threats to public safety. I shudder when I think how, if Jacob had been born only 20 years earlier, he’d likely have been taken away from me.
We’ve also viewed disability as a problem whose responsibility to find solutions rests with the individual, not with the community or our collective society. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act 26 years ago this week effectively declared that people with disabilities had a right to participate in all aspects of life, in their community and the workplace. And our society—our builders, our bosses and our brethren—has to provide reasonable accommodations to enable people with disabilities to participate.
But we have not yet raised that low-set bar on expectations that means most Americans with a disability receive a continuous flood of signals—some intentional, some not—that tell us that we cannot really expect to work, or learn or participate equally.
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423