Whether in New York, Chicago or other locations around the country, finding suitable housing and resources for adults with developmental disabilities is a subject the general public doesn’t think about much, but for those who are parents of individuals with disabilities, it’s a daily concern.
Parents always want the best for children, no matter what stages of age or development, children or adults. Who knows how well a child is being cared for better than a parent. However, if that child is an adult with disabilities the considerations for daily care are heightened.
What happens when children “age out” of the system which created and financed resources for their care and education? Becoming adults presents further challenges to parents who find it harder to care for them and perform simple daily tasks because their children are no longer children in the accepted sense, not by age, size or capability, they are adults with adult needs.
When suitable options run out for those with developmental disabilities and their families, new resources and alternatives have to be discovered, and what we’ve seen is historically it’s the unification of families that bring about new possibilities.
Reflecting on the days of the Willowbrook scandal, we’ve seen positive change occur because parents united to create a better environment for their developmentally challenged children. Framing better care within non-profit organizations appears to be a way for parents to be proactive in the care of their adult children, and by creating their own alternative resources, affords them peace of mind knowing every aspect of that care.
Each adult with disabilities needs to be evaluated to determine their individual potential, not randomly placed into a general housing situation or institutionalized, but somewhere they are able to thrive, learn and be treated with dignity. This takes a more individualized model of care requiring distinctive service providers ranging from counselors, doctors and activity coordinators.
“The benefits of small, family-scale housing versus large institutions is a matter of individualization and autonomy. Like anyone else, people with disabilities are happier when the environment adapts to their needs and interests, from what they want for dinner to what movie they want to watch to what time they want to go to bed.” Chicago Tribune
The history of Opengate unlocked the doors for parents to become actively involved in the direct supervision and care of their adult children. We pride ourselves by hiring caring individuals as our direct support staff, along with filling our professional positions with the best we can.
Parents of our clients are included in decisions, updated with information in our newsletters and blog posts, and are an integral part of the successes we witness at Opengate.
Opengate is a leader in its field and is recognized by New York State as one of only seven like agencies among thousands that have earned a prestigious COMPASS designation.