We need to support the full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independence and function at the highest possible level.
Government should work to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities.
The physically and mentally challenged are people who are differently abled from the majority, but who are nevertheless able to live independently. Physically and mentally challenged people have the right to live independently in their communities.
The mentally ill are people with serious mental problems who often need social support networks. The mentally ill also have the right to live independently, circumscribed only by the limitations of their illness.
These people are their own best advocates in securing their rights and for living in the social and economic mainstream.
Current Medicaid policy forces many challenged people to live in costly state-funded institutions. Excluding these people from society alienates them; excluding them from the work force denies them the chance to use their potentials.
The diminishing funds available to provide care for the growing number of the mentally ill often result in their homelessness, vagrancy and dependence on short-term crisis facilities. Lack of funding also increases the necessity of placing them in long-term, locked facilities.
We should urge the government to:
Increase rehabilitation funding so that persons with disabilities can pursue education and training to reach their highest potential. The differently abled should participate fully in the allocation decisions of state rehabilitation departments' funds.
Aggressively implement the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ratifiy the United Nations Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities as well as the Optional Protocol.
Fund in-home support services to allow the differently abled to hire personal care attendants while remaining at home.
Allocate adequate funding to support community-based programs that provide out-patient medical services, case management services and counseling programs. We should provide a residential setting within the community for those who do not need institutional care but who are unable to live independently.
Make it easier for the chronically mentally ill to apply for and receive Supplemental Security Income.
Mainstream the differently abled. Increase teacher training in regard to the needs of differently abled students.
Discourage stereotyping of the mentally and physically challenged by the entertainment industry and the media.
Fund programs to increase public sensitivity to the needs of the mentally ill and differently abled.