Dignity for the developmentally disabled


Avro
#1
By SID RYAN

It was the early 1960s. As a young kid in Dublin -- with my **** hanging out of my trousers -- I chased down the street with a horde of other kids, making fun of a man being pushed about in a makeshift wheelchair.
He had an entourage of older kids with him, knocking on doors selling Christmas cards. His body was contorted and his speech unintelligible.
A couple of years later, the Christian Brothers herded the older kids in our school into the concert hall for an art exhibition. Sitting on the stage, with his left shoe and sock removed, was Christy Brown. With the paintbrush clasped firmly between the toes on his left foot, he proceeded to paint a giant Christmas card. His body jerked from side to side as he grunted words we could not understand.
Christy Brown died in 1981 at age 49, but not before he had authored several books, including the world-famous My Left Foot.
Brown had cerebral palsy and suffered the prejudice of people of all ages who could not see past his disability. He left his mark as a beacon to all who dare question the contributions persons with disabilities -- physical and intellectual -- can make in enriching our lives.
Unfortunately, the potential contributions of many individuals are constrained in Ontario today, as a growing army of people with developmental disabilities are shuffled and downloaded from the old provincial institutions to nursing homes because of a lack of community supports.
There are currently 1,600 residents with developmental disabilities in Ontario nursing homes. Their average age is 52, a full 31 years younger than their elderly roommates and neighbours.
In general, nursing home staff are not equipped to deal with the multiple challenges presented by this downloading. Three years ago, I've been told, two younger adults with developmental disabilities were admitted to a Peterborough area nursing home. When first they arrived, they were able to walk, talk and participate in activities. Today, they are basically confined to geriatric-type wheelchairs, unable to walk or talk due to lack of trained staff and activities to support them.
Public hearings earlier this month unleashed a torrent of mind-numbing stories from a legion of parents, frontline workers and employers. They complained about the desperate shortage of spaces in residential group homes and day programs. The gut-wrenching pleas from elderly parents, worried stiff about who will look after their adult children when they pass on, left an indelible mark on my soul.
Most, if not all of these parents have struggled against the system all of their lives. They are the generation that fought the gallant battles, advocating for community living for persons with developmental disabilities. Now, their own children are adults and there's no room for them to live in the community.
In Toronto, there is a backlog of 2,500 people waiting for space in residential home programs. The list grows by about 12% annually. Eleven parents on that waiting list are over 90 years old; 70 are over the age of 80.
They need to know that our generation will notice the beacon that shines so brilliantly from their children. And that means putting enough money into the system to provide needed community supports.
At the standing committee hearings, advocates of community living have been calling for an infusion of about $200 million. Finance Minister Greg Sorbara has a golden opportunity to use his upcoming budget to recognize the contribution thousands of people with developmental disabilities make to the rich fabric of Ontario communities. I hope he has heard their message and provides the support they need to live in the community and not on its sidelines.

http://www.torontosun.com/News/Colum...f-3653985.html
//
 
MikeyDB
#2
The people of Canada and the people of Ontario have known for ove ten years that the disabled are relegated to second-class citizenship in this country.

Canadians couldn't care less.
 
Avro
#3
True, they care more about GST cuts which end up in the pockets of buisnesses anyways, Tim Horton's just got away with it.
 
Curiosity
#4
Avro

Thanks for the memory... and the heads up to all of us who are free to come and go without a thought of our good fortune....

My Left Foot became one of my life altering books when I first read it and had a great impact on me and my choices in life from that point on....
 
karrie
#5
You know, $200 million is all well and good. But, in today's job market in many areas, you could throw that kind of cash at this problem, and still be in the same place once everything was all said and done. Taking care of the physically and mentally disabled is not a desirable job, and not one that many feel a calling to. There isn't much recruitment going on to sway teenagers into rehabilitation fields. If they were to address the issue of staffing in the field, then it would be way easier to run the independent living programs and groups homes.
 
Avro
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

You know, $200 million is all well and good. But, in today's job market in many areas, you could throw that kind of cash at this problem, and still be in the same place once everything was all said and done. Taking care of the physically and mentally disabled is not a desirable job, and not one that many feel a calling to. There isn't much recruitment going on to sway teenagers into rehabilitation fields. If they were to address the issue of staffing in the field, then it would be way easier to run the independent living programs and groups homes.

Huh? They closed the institions that housed these people to begin with. Why would someone get into the profession when there isn't anywhere to work?

How about we give them a place.
 
karrie
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by AvroView Post

Huh? They closed the institions that housed these people to begin with. Why would someone get into the profession when there isn't anywhere to work?

How about we give them a place.

The article you posted said the institutions were closed due to 'a lack of community supports'. That would imply MANY reasons, not just money, and I'd guess that lack of employees is up there on that list.
 
hermanntrude
#8
my sister has cerebral palsy. She's never been able to walk or talk but she gets worse with every year. her muscles tighten and her epilepsy gets worse. No one knows how long she'll live but she's usually happy and usually comfortable. that's all we can do. If you move from place to place you see a dramatic difference in the treatment of disabled people, even across england, so i imagine the same is true here.
 

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