For normal human beings, conducting their day-to-day activities is a form of living life. However there is a section of people who are unable to do so without help. Even if they are able to do on their own, it is accompanied with great pain and labor. For such people, also called disabled people, it is convenient for their families to lodge them in institutions against their wishes – institutions which were built primarily to help them and take care of them but in truth have evolved to be breeding ground for maltreatment, abuse and neglect.
People with developmental disability are the ones who have long-term medical problems that could be due to genetic and prenatal issues or preterm birth with the effect that going through the daily routine of life also becomes a major concern for them and their families. They are people who either have physical or mental disabilities or have both.
Community integration is the process of being a part of the community with self-dignity where each and every person enjoys certain rights and liberties. It is the right for all people irrespective of their mental and physical health, race, caste, religion, sex or age.
Community integration for people with developmental disabilities revolves around this concept that disabled people too have equal rights to live in a community just like other people instead of being locked up in institutions unnecessarily. Even the United Nations has risen up to this cause and many western countries like the United States passing laws have passed laws that protect the right of people with mental and physical disabilities – laws that permit disabled people to co-exist in the community and not be institutionalized for indefinite period. Such laws helps the community to accept developmentally disabled people as active members of their community and help them live under a supervised community integration program that involves equal opportunities of education, employment, housing, healthcare and recovery.
The program is setup in a way that people with developmental disabilities are able to use the local transportation, live in supported apartments or specially built housing for the disabled, access local schools and hospitals and enjoy financial independence when they get hired by employers who create jobs for disabled people.
As the first step towards integrating disabled people with the community, young children or adults with special needs continue to stay with their parents and family. However, many of the youngsters find it difficult to do so with passing years. At times it also becomes stressful for the ageing parents to care for their child on a continual basis. In such cases, group homes become a viable option as housing for the disabled. Since these homes have many people with similar special needs residing in one locality, it proves to be the perfect setting for them to gain confidence and live life on their own.
Some of them also opt for assisted living for developmentally disabled where they can live in their own apartment, cook their own food and receive assistance with regards to certain daily activities like bathing, cleaning the house, getting their daily dose of medicines and other such activities. These assisted apartments hire the services of unskilled or specialized people as per requirement to deliver these services.
The program also consists of community integration for seniors so that they are able to move out of institutions and nursing homes and live in the community independently with dignity and enjoy equal rights as other people. They could choose to live in assisted homes or otherwise and are able to access medical resources, meals etc as part of the community integration program.