Thirty years ago, spending one's life in a large institution was, for most adults with developmental disabilities, the norm. Three decades later, theirs is a very different world. Deinstitutionalization has been heralded as bringing about a return to a life of "community." To support adults with developmental disabilities so that they might live in our communities, new social policies have been adopted. As a result, these individuals, those who were released from large institutions to return to the community and those who have never experienced life in a large institution, are confronted with a new reality. This book explores that new reality, focusing on the adults themselves and their experiences.
The authors conducted one of the most extensive surveys of Canadian support services available for adults with developmental disabilities. Every province and territory contributed information on the services they offer, including how they are funded. After this initial survey, the authors visited five different regions of Canada where they conducted 141 in-depth interviews with the targeted adults, their families and support staff.
The testimony of these men and women endorses a social ecological theory of empowerment-in-community, central to which is the normative idea of a textured life. By opening our communities to adults with developmental disabilities, we will enable them to transcend the "world of disability" and enhance the texture of their lives.
Augmented by a concluding discussion on the implications of this study for social policy and social support, this new book will benefit all those concerned with helping individuals establish those textured lives.
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