Visibility of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Mainstream Society #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone. I’m really late writing my letter V post in the #AtoZChallenge. I am not too excited about today’s topic either, but that might change as I write. I just came up with it two minutes before opening the new post window on WordPress. Today, I want to talk about visibility of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in mainstream society.

Until the mid-1990s, individuals with intellectual disabilities were routinely institutionalized on grounds like mine, sheltered away from the general public. While there are advantages to this, it did mean the general population hardly saw any individuals with intellectual disabilities, especially not adults or those with more severe disabilities.

In the 1990s, institutions were often demolished altogether and individuals with even the most severe disabilities were moved into the community. This, however, did little to help society be more accepting of people with intellectual disabilities.

Now, with “suited education”, which was introduced in the mid-2010s, individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend mainstream education if at all possible. This means that more people with mild intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities, who would otherwise attend special ed, are now in regular classes.

I, having been forced into mainstream education with very few accommodations, am not a fan of “suited education”. My opinions on deinstitutionalization are mixed. While I do feel that we need to be allowed to be visible in mainstream society, I do not feel that this is a case of the disabled needing to assimilate or be “normalized”. Truthfully, I do not feel that we need to prove our right to exist beyond the margins. That being said, the reality is that society doesn’t want us. At least, it doesn’t want me, a high support needs autistic and multiply-disabled person. When I still ventured out into the world on my own, I had just a little too many encounters with the police that often weren’t pleasant.

3 thoughts on “Visibility of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Mainstream Society #AtoZChallenge

  1. You’re so right that there has to a balance found between letting people with disabilities seen and protecting them from people who don’t know how to behave properly towards them.

    Liked by 2 people

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