Disabilities Resources and Awareness
Doing More for Disabilities
Over 7 million individuals in the U.S. have an intellectual or developmental disability. Yet, only 20 percent were known to their state developmental disabilities agency. The vast majority is without life-changing support. We can do better. Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation shares resources to help those with special needs thrive.
Past decades have seen improvements in providing opportunities for all people. Thankfully, institutionalization is no longer the accepted standard. Today, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities are better recognized as individuals with a life of potential. And that awareness has yielded unprecedented opportunities. We are continuously reminded of these individuals’ unique characteristics and capabilities. We witness their success at overcoming barriers and disproving stereotypes by participating in life in ways not previously afforded to them.
Awareness of Potential
By rejecting the negative perceptions traditionally associated with intellectual and developmental disabilities, society can focus on the human being. This shift has allowed progress in all aspects of life. The Special Olympics program is exemplary of representation. Its athletic inclusivity spotlights all that can be achieved. Such organizations shine a spotlight on individual potential, along with the physical, mental, and emotional support that should be available to achieve it.
Through awareness, those with disabilities are gaining better health outcomes and longer life expectancy. Possibly best of all—they are enjoying improved quality-of-life. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve the same chance to live their healthiest lives. Health issues unique to this population are finally being addressed, including through increased specialized training for healthcare providers.
Camphill Soltane, https://www.camphillsoltane.org/
Based on the “wisdom of the human being,” this community provides education, healing, relationship building, and meaningful work for those with intellectual differences. They pride themselves on inclusive communities at their campus in Glenmoore, PA and in the greater area of Phoenixville, PA.
KenCrest provides community-based support services with opportunities designed to empower. They offer programs for all age groups from birth through adult. Independence is encouraged in a trusting, positive, inclusive environment. A variety of services are offered in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut.
DEC (Developmental Enterprises Corporation) https://decmc.org/
Express your feelings so they are comfortable doing the same. Share stories and memories of the lost loved one. Reassure them that through memories, their loved one lives on.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee https://www.bittyandbeauscoffee.com/
This coffee shop chain is all about changing perceptions of those with disabilities. According to their research, 80 percent of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed nationwide. They are working to fix that by creating a career path to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities feel valued through employment. Perhaps your loved one can also be your Bitty & Beau barista. Make your next coffee order sweeter with the flavor of inclusivity.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania https://specialolympicspa.org/
Special Olympics PA provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. There are 54 city/county programs associated with Special Olympics Pennsylvania across the state, and all of them need volunteers and coaches at various times during the year. Visit our volunteer page to learn more whether you are an individual, small business or corporation: https://specialolympicspa.org/volunteer-opportunities
Camphill Village Kimberton Hills https://www.camphillkimberton.org/
Kimberton Hills creates and maintains a land-based community together with adults with special needs. Inspired by Anthroposophy, members of the community support one another to contribute to the wider society through biodynamic agriculture, social, cultural and educational endeavors. We are more than 110 people with and without disabilities, sharing daily life, in ways that are intentionally therapeutic and intentionally social. The village is home to people of all ages: single adults and families, young people who come to volunteer for a year or more, and participating elders.
Do not allow yourself or loved ones to be limited. As the world works to better accommodate individuals of all ability levels, we must recognize each person’s right to a meaningful, powerful life filled with as much joy as humanly possible.
Embrace the possibilities. Seek opportunities for support and special services. Take advantage. Needs will be met if demand is made clear. We are called upon to believe in those with intellectual and developmental differences. From the doctor’s office to a curbside conversation, let’s radiate acceptance.