The Importance of Independence for Individuals with IDDs
The acronym IDD refers to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The term has evolved from less socially acceptable terminology used in the past and reflects a more positive and inclusive trend in the approach to care for individuals with some form of IDD. At the heart of modern programs and models of care is the push to ensure individuals with IDD are able to develop over time a sense of independence and self-reliance. While the degree to which this goal can be achieved is unique to every individual, the overall ability to pursue an independent living program is the most important for a number of reasons, for not only the individual themselves, but also for their families, the communities in which they live, and society as a whole. Let’s dig deeper into how crucial it is to support the pursuit of independence for individuals with IDDs.
Self-Determination is Liberating and Encouraging
Historically, individuals with IDDs have been treated as if they were not entitled to the ability to exert control over their own lives. Hidden away, denied the opportunity for social engagement, kept out of the workplace, they were given little opportunity to contribute to their own well-being or experience life as people without disabilities. However, the severity of symptoms has a very wide range and advancements in research, technological innovation, and care methods have allowed advocate groups and the families of individuals with IDDs to show just how much these individuals are capable of, given proper access, support, and opportunity.
Allowing individuals with IDDs who are capable of doing so to live outside of the family household in some form of group home or supported living arrangements gives them the confidence to care for themselves and the realization of just how much they can do on their own. This oftentimes then opens the doors to supported employment arrangements, which provides an additional layer of financial independence to individuals once forced to rely upon their families or government assistance programs to survive.
Improving the Family Dynamic
There’s a distinct shift in the family dynamic that occurs when a person reaches the point where they no longer completely rely upon their family for their day-to-day care and financial needs. In situations where dependent care of some level is required due to the presence of an IDD, this is especially true. An individual capable of thriving in both an independent living program and in a supported employment program can show their family that they are capable of making life choices, that they can generate income, and that they can manage their day-to-day needs. This allows the family to shift from the mindset of caretakership to one of advocacy and being able to share in and celebrate the successes of their loved one, and to watch them achieve their goals.
Enriching the Community
Due to the stigma historically associated with developmental disabilities, it’s only been through advocacy and changes to federal and local regulations that individuals with IDDs have been allowed the opportunity to pursue supported employment and independent living arrangements in the modern era. These programs have been instrumental in breaking down the barriers individuals with IDDs face in the perceptions that they aren’t able to achieve or contribute to the community as effectively as those without limitations. Companies that embrace supported employment programs show the community that they are willing to contribute to the overall well-being of the local economy, and in turn benefit from increased profitability due to reduced turnover and training costs. All of this goes towards a more inclusive community focused on the success of everyone, regardless of any perceived limitations. By embracing these individuals, the community is in effect empowering them to pursue and achieve their dreams, and giving them the resources and support to do so. And the more individuals with IDDs are able to achieve, the more the entire community benefits from their accomplishments.
Live Your Best Life in the Bellevue and Omaha Communities
At Hands of Heartland, we celebrate the contributions of individuals with IDDs to the Bellevue and Omaha communities and support their journeys towards independence through our comprehensive independent living services. Regardless of the necessary level of care, we have independent living services appropriate for clients at all stages, making sure that their journeys to independence are fully supported and they can make the maximum impact on their own lives as well as that of their families and communities.