Community Leadership for Inclusion
When I’m getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I’m going to say, and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say.
Change. We all want it—and we want it now! We want children and adults with disabilities to have better lives. Because many of us believe that improvements in the system will result in a better quality of life for individuals with disabilities, our advocacy is directed toward legislation, increased funding, more programs and services, and so forth. There’s something wrong with this picture, however.
The United States already has more laws, programs, and services than any other nation. Specifically, we’ve had twenty-nine years of federal special education law and fourteen years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Billions of dollars are spent on federal and state programs and services. Even so, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has remained at 70-75 percent for many, many years. Students with disabilities are still excluded in schools. And community inclusion and living real lives remain unfulfilled promises for most children and adults with disabilities. So while changes in public policy are important, changes in the system cannot guarantee the precious elements of life most needed by individuals with disabilities: inclusion, participation, friendships, and living natural lives as citizens in their communities.
I believe the best way to effect long-lasting change in order to achieve our goals is through positive, enthusiastic, creative leadership in our communities. Click here to continue.
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense