Steps for Integrating People with Disabilities into the Community in the Omaha Area
About 61 million, or one in four people in the United States, are living with some disability. Despite this massive number in society, people with disabilities are excluded from community participation, employment, leisure activities, and social relationships. For decades, many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities were housed in institutions without their consent. The institutions had strict rules for managing basic tasks such as what a person could do or eat.
Community integration seeks to reverse these disconnects by creating a more inclusive environment for diverse societies. In this blog, the team at the Hands of Heartland will discuss what community integration is all about and how everyone can participate in making it a success. We believe that people with I/DD are people first and deserve to work, create relationships, and live independent lives.
What is Community Integration?
Community integration means welcoming or assimilating people with disabilities into the larger community. This enables them to participate fully in life at similar levels as everyone else. Participation can occur in schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and community centers. Community integration for people with disabilities is essential to the health and well-being of the community. It creates a stronger community where everyone thrives in their uniqueness.
What Does Community Integration Include?
Helping people with disabilities enjoy full lives within their communities involves a number of important components. For community integrations. For this process to become a long-term success, people with disabilities must have equal access to the following:
- Valued social roles like marriage
- Citizenship and civic engagements
- Peer support
- Recreational and leisure activities
Benefits of Community Integration
Community Integration is not only beneficial for communities and individuals but a law. The Supreme Court of the United States in 1999 concluded that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities is a criminal offense. The Olmstead ruling specified that government institutions must offer community-integrated services when a person chooses community-based services.
The most significant benefit of community integration for people with developmental disabilities is that it allows them to be genuinely part of the community. Regardless of disability status, everyone has unique talents and abilities and deserves the right to be active in society. Community integrations offer people with disabilities a sense of purpose and help them stay engaged with many opportunities to learn, socialize, work, and play along with everyone else. Other benefits include:
- Provides a path to recovery for those who feel unwanted and isolated
- Helps grow practical life skills that enhance independence
- Gives access to services and activities not available in segregated environments
- Offers an opportunity to learn appropriate social behaviors and make new connections
- Provides access to inclusive workplaces where they are treated as non-disabled peers
Examples of Community Integration Activities
Community integration can come in many forms. Programs generally incorporate various instructions, activities, and services. Here are a few examples
- Taking public transportation
- Joining youth organizations
- Participating in recreation center programs
- Participating in sporting events, concerts, and plays
- Joining interest groups
- Volunteering with charitable organizations
- Visiting neighborhood parts or nature centers
- Visiting museums or historical societies
Learn More About Community Integration With Hands of Heartland
If you’re interested in learning more about community integration or have a loved one with an intellectual developmental disability, we’re here to help. Give us a call anytime or use our contact us page to send such a message, and we will be happy to respond.