By Michael Rock:
While providing for the needs of people with disabilities is important, allowing those who can become fully independent to do so should be just as high a priority.
Easterseals East Georgia in the city of Augusta, offers just one of many such workforce development programs nationwide that can be instrumental in helping people with disabilities enter the workforce.
Meanwhile, a Wisconsin state program called IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) allows Wisconsinites with disabilities to self-direct their own Medicaid benefits, rather than bureaucrats and insurers doing so.
In the private sector, Google is working with the Canadian Down Sydrome Society to study the unique speech patterns of people with the condition, ensuring that the algorithm for their Google Home smart speaker can better understand and more accurately respond to requests and comments from users with Down Syndrome.
Even China has begun efforts to better allow people with disabilities to care for themselves. On January 1, the country’s first ever nationwide standard in nursing home care for people with disabilities, will take effect.
As new programs, services, and laws become more common for people with disabilities, care should be taken to ensure that they allow all who are able to be self-reliant.
Michael Rock is a New York City-based reporter and self-advocate with autism. A graduate of Brandeis University, his work has appeared in Kings County Politics, Chelsea Now, Our Town, Queens County Politics, and WhoWhatWhy.