After reading these chapters, it was apparent that America needsto generate change to create a society free of discrimination against peoplewith disabilities, where people with disabilities are valued, integratedmembers of society who have full access to education, homes, healthcare, jobs,and families. There have been legislative and societal changes over time whichhas great influence on the treatment of and attitudes towards people withdisabilities, but there is still much to do.
We need to be committed toensuring people with disabilities are no longer segregated into, andoverrepresented in, civil and criminal institutions such as nursing homes,psychiatric settings, jails, and prisons. Despite the great strides towards expanding the rights ofpeople with developmental disabilities, limitations of laws and regulations,poor enforcement of the laws, limited funding programs, disregard for bindinglegal standard, and societal prejudices keep many people with disabilities frombeing fully included. People with disabilities in the US continue to face asevere housing crisis.
Being a part of a community and living independently areimportant values shared by people with disabilities, their families, andadvocates (). However, according to (), affordability, accessibility, housingdiscrimination, and availability have been continued issues for individualswith disabilities. Additional political issues impacting people withdisabilities includes: educational opportunities (lack of qualified specialeducation teachers and segregated settings), long term supports and services(placed on waiting lists or possible institutional care), Medicaid(institutional bias, waiting lists, healthcare provider training andreimbursement rates, accessible medical care), employment (unequal wages, poortraining and support), and Social Security (programs failing to meet their needsof the people they are intended to be served). When analyzing the underlying messages formed throughout thebook, there is a persistent message of people first and treatment of those witha disability as people, not labels, limitations, or problems.
The definition ofpeople with developmental disabilities as “people” shifts the emphasis to therights of all citizens being applied to all people, and the needs of all peoplebeing understood as the needs of people with developmental disabilities.