People with disabilities and their families fought long and hard for the right to leave institutional life behind in order to live, work, and play in concert with their fellow citizens.
As a system, we got on board. We secured all the words and phrases…least restrictive, community integration, community based, competitive community employment, etc.
We created integration specialists, counselors, and liaisons, and we developed measures. Lots of measures.
A quick Google search on the term Community Integration produces 533,000,000 results.
Now you’d think, given our devotion, dedication, and expertise to the topic, that people with disabilities would experience integration to their hearts’ content.
You’d be wrong.
As a system we still struggle with the idea of community integration as a meaningful and sustained experience for people with developmental disabilities. Let’s look at why.
It’s not that...
What if I told you that you could turn 1 idea into more than 30 meaningful activities for the people you serve...in 60 seconds flat!
I'm totally serious!
I teach these techniques in my How to Create a Year's Worth of Activities from Just a Few Interests training...but check out this video I did for the Quillo app for a sneak peek of how it's done.
In this video I name 16 activities, many of which can be separated into multiple activities.
And if you follow the logic behind my approach, you can easily create even more. In fact, in my training, I will show you how to fill a full year's calendar from just a few interests.
I'm talking a combination of integrated, social, self-directed, outcome achieving, serious learning, and just for fun activities that are individualized, support choice, and those you serve will find some of them to be so much fun they'll want to do them again and again.
Prefer to read instead?...
Her entrance into this world was complicated and as a result, she was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy.
Unable to speak, walk, bathe, eat, rollover, or do nearly anything else on her own, you might think she lived an isolated life.
Rita went everywhere everyone else did, and then some. Shopping, church, camp, the Y, bowling, amusement parks, fairs, concerts, movies, theater, parks, zoos, other states, simply everywhere. Her 50 years on this planet were simply filled with adventures.
At just 5 years my senior, we interacted more as cousins than aunt and niece. And because of our close relationship, I often got to go on these adventures too. It was glorious! We met so many people and had so much fun.
Yet, despite a life of constant and diverse quests, there was one place Rita never went.
Rita, never once, went "into the community".