American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is one of the organizations, which are the most influential in the state within the state in the field of representing and advocating for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is why it is so important to research the position statements, which the association suggests for public access on their web site. In this paper the position statements related to professional conduct, aging, education and early intervention, employment, health, housing, prevention, protections, self-determination, supports, and transportation will be focused on.Professional conduct
Guidelines to professional conduct accepted by the AAIDD require that the practitioners should first of all make sure that they communicate directly and first of all to their client, the person served by them, and this communication serves to best meet their needs and desires, may the individual express such. It is required that the practitioner should maintain the principles of privacy and should by no means disclose any private information. Likewise the practitioner is expected to keep the principles of non-discrimination, avoid any abuse and prevent abusive behavior from taking place from the side of any other person. The practitioner should also avoid combining personal and professional relations with the client.
In the “Aging” Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc it is in details explained, that there are additional challenges with which aging people with intellectual or/and developmental disabilities have to deal compared to the difficulties, faced by aging people without disabilities, younger people with disabilities and even aging people with other types of disabilities run into. Thus it is stated, that the observance and provision of all constitutional rights and liberties should be provided and it is important that the communities should develop proper conditions and respective facilities to help aging people with intellectual or/and developmental disabilities enjoy their senior years just as all other Americans do.
Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc on self determination first of all states that the clients of the association need to have and fully enjoy the right for self-determination. They must have “freedom, authority and support to exercise control over their lives” (American Association of Intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, 2008). And thus they need to have an opportunity to advocate for their own interests, acquire knowledge and skills, required for exercising better personal control, must have an opportunity to actively take part in the decision making process regarding their lives. They also have to have an opportunity to master their own resources, hire personal assistants, while disability organizations need to have power and opportunities to support them.
The Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc on transportation remarks, that despite the fact that equal access to transportation for people with all disabilities is guaranteed by US legislation, in reality many transportation companies are not observing the rights and freedoms of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. For free access to transportation services.
Early Intervention and Education
The statements on early intervention and education particularly emphasize, that despite the knowledge of the society about the importance of early intervention and access to education for children with intellectual or/and developmental disabilities, the access to such is not always fully provided, and thus it is critically important that families with children with such disabilities should receive timely and adequate help, while people with disabilities should be provided with full access to educational services.
The Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc regarding employment states, that the ability of people with intellectual or/and developmental disabilities to provide socially important services and earn competitive salaries are oftentimes disregarded. This thought is largely shared by Lord et al (2000). The statement goes on to explain that such people oftentimes remain unemployed simply because the employers have got low expectations regarding abilities of such people. It is important that both the employers and disability organizations should work hard to improve the situation and provide such people with the opportunity to work, earn competitive salary, have career growth, self-employ and so on. It is important, that the employers should follow the best available practices in this field.
Health, Mental Health, Vision, and Dental Care
Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc on Health, Mental Health, Vision, and Dental Care emphasizes, that it is critically important that people with intellectual or/and developmental disabilities should have full access to health care services, which should be accessible, affordable and provided with observance of non-discrimination principles. Such services need to be delivered in a timely manner and be of reasonable quality.
Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc on housing emphasizes, that people with IDD do not always in full enjoy their right to live in their own homes, control their own homes and make an informed decision as for where and in what type of a home to live. Affordable housing programs are oftentimes not available to them and cases are frequent when people with IDD end up not having their own household or not being in control of such. It is important that all the entities, responsible for this should join their effort for constant improvement of this situation.
Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc on prevention emphasizes, that it is nation’s important task and obligation to research the causes, decrease the instances and make less significant the outcomes of IDD. It is important to inform the public, support families with children with IDD, support people with IDD, develop and research possible preventive techniques or medications which would be able to decrease the number of cases when people have IDD.
Joint Position Statement of AAIDD and The Arc on protection particularly states, that it is the role of the state and the community to protect people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities against possible cases of mistreatment or abuse, as well as any violence of their rights. It is critically important that the state and the community should make an effort both informing people with IDD about their rights and helping them exercise their rights and liberties.
Joint Position Statements of AAIDD and The Arc regarding supports – behavioral supports, family support, individual supports, long term supports and services, and support coordination emphasize, that people with IDD oftentimes are unable to perform routine functions, including but not limited to communication, exercising their rights, education, social life, work and so on unassisted. Meanwhile, the community and organizations oftentimes fail to provide them with such support due to difficulties associated with such provision, due to social or financial status of the potential client and so on. It is unacceptable that people with IDD should remain without supports. This is why it is particularly important, that people with IDD should always steadily receive such supports and the organizations and services, responsible for provision of such should be constantly in control of the process. It is unacceptable that people with IDD should remain unassisted even for a minor period of their lives.
Three most important position statements
Certainly, all the position statements published by AAIDD on their web site are of great importance. However, there are three, which I personally believe to be the most important of all. They are supports, prevention and early intervention and education. I believe them to be the most important because, unlike the rest of the position statements, even though they are very important, critically important, to say the least, these three discuss systematic solutions, not treating particular cases, not resolving a problem, but rather trying to prevent it. Our society needs to be responsible and educated in regards to people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, but it is even more important to make sure that less of the members of our society would suffer from such disorders at first place and thus less of members of our society should require help. This is what prevention does. But early intervention and education is what a child with such a disability requires to remain integrated into the society and continue living a meaningful life. Early intervention and education makes it easier for a person to then receive a good job and advocate for their rights. Moreover, early intervention may make the consequences of the disorder less severe. Lastly, supports are important for a person, who needs assistance. Supports help such a person enjoy life in full. A supported person will be able to receive good job, will have an opportunity to enjoy other liberties and rights. This will not only help the individuals with IDD lead a better life. As remarked by Meyers & Karr (2014), managing diversity and providing equality contributes into less conflicts and crises within the society in general.
As for the position statement which I would suggest improving, it is the statement dedicated to employment. To my mind it is a little too vague. This field of advocacy calls for certainty, for explaining precise details, giving recommendations to both people with disabilities, their potential employers and advocate as for which steps to make to arrange a working place for a person with IDD, how to assist such a person in self-employment, while the statement is generalizing regarding the ideal state of affairs and fails to give precise recommendations.
- Lord C, Cook EH, Leventhal BL, Amaral DG (2000). Autism spectrum disorders. Neuron 28 (2): 355–63.
- Meyers, Mitchell, David; Karr, Valerie. (2014). Crises, Conflict and Disability: Ensuring Equality. Routledge.
- Position Statements. AAIDD official web site. Retrieved from https://aaidd.org/news-policy/policy/position-statements#.VsjAyifQmzn