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A few words from CACL's new president Laurie Larson. In this first blog post by Laurie she speaks to a great article that recently appeared in the Victoria Times Colonist on November 10th. The article titled "Why we should be concerned about community living - Creation of an inclusive system for disability support is long overdue" brings to light the long overdue need for creation of an inclusive system for disability support. Read some of Laurie's thoughts on the article and follow the link to read the article itself.
I was very pleased to read the article "Why we should be concerned about community living" by Paul Malette published in the Victoria Times Colonist on November 10, 2011.
The article is very timely as this is a conversation we have begun to have within our own organization. It is encouraging to know that this issue is not only recognized outside our own organization but acknowledged publicly in mainstream media.
Mr. Malette manages to sum up the history and evolution of service and supports to people with intellectual disabilities very concisely. It was indeed necessary in the 1960's and 1970's to create supports and services for people with intellectual disabilities who would have otherwise been subjected to life in institutions. No one else would do so and it was up to people with intellectual disabilities, their families and their allies to show what could be done.
The time has come though, in fact is long overdue, to take that step towards our ultimate goal - truly inclusive communities for all. While it is true that the focus for Associations for Community Living is on those living with the label of intellectual disability, this is indeed an issue of importance for other groups as well. In order for our communities across this country to be healthy and whole, to truly respect and embrace the diversity within them, and to ensure that all have the opportunity to fully participate as contributing citizens - then communities need to develop the capacity to be able to support the unique needs of all. A transformation needs to happen to how we support the unique and individual needs people have. It is no longer appropriate to have segregated supports and services. Our movement has much experience and knowledge at our disposal to assist with this transformation.
Mr. Malette says, "We have the ability, prosperity and knowledge to transform our communities and systems of support so that all citizens are included and achieving a quality of life. Our challenge is to seize this opportunity."
It is my hope that we are all up to the challenge - our movement, our communities and our governments.
President, Canadian Association for Community Living