Why Exposure is Necessary: Attitudes towards People with ID

To change attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities, we must promote exposure and diminish the culture of isolation faced by individuals with IDs and their loved ones.

This past July (2015), the Harris Poll conducted an online survey and published its comprehensive findings on Americans’ attitudes towards people with IDs in the “Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century.

As the younger sister of someone with Profound ID, the stories of parents feeling pressured by strangers and even family members to isolate their child from society is all too familiar. The uncomfortable glares and unwarranted comments on his/her behavior in public or at home. Fortunately, I grew up with loving parents who were never affected by the ignorance that looms over the nation.

My brother Doug loves public spaces like the grocery store. In fact, he loves going anywhere that is bustling with people. Why shouldn’t he?

“Exposure is a key indicator of Americans’ attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities. Despite gains in visibility, the estimated 3 to 9 million people with ID living in the United States remain isolated from the rest of society.” -The Shriver Report Snapshot, 2015

Often, ignorance fuels negative attitudes towards any group of people. As revealed in the Shriver Report, millennials (young adults) in America tend to have more “progressive attitudes” towards people with ID due to their increased exposure and interaction (The Shriver Report Snapshot, 2015). For effective reform to occur for people with IDs, we need an informed public to drive the change we need in shaping future policy changes.

We need inclusion, not exclusion.


The Shriver Report Snapshot. Announcing ‘The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century.’ [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://mariashriver.com/blog/2015/07/press-release-shriver-report-snapshot-insight-intellectual-disabilities-21st-century/






What is Jonathan’s Law? [Part I]

A Brief Look at New York State’s Jonathan’s Law 

I will be uploading a infographic later this week to provide a more comprehensive look at the law and life story of Jonathan Carey, the 13-year old boy with disabilities whose death at O.D. Heck (a state institution) prompted the advocacy leading to the creation of this law.

1. What is Jonathan’s Law?

Referring to the amendments made to the New York State Mental Hygiene Law, specifically sections 33.23 and 33.25. Under this law, the facility must:

  •  inform “qualified persons” of any accident or injury that affects the health or safety of a person receiving services, and
  • provide documents or records relating to any patient abuse or mistreatment to qualified person(s).

The law is named after Jonathan Carey who asphyxiated after being “slowly crushed to death in the back seat of a van by a state employee” at OD Heck on Feburary 15, 2007 (Hakim, 2011)

*OD Heck was a state facility operated by the OPWDD, the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and closed down this past March,2015).

2. Who falls under the “qualified person(s)” category? 

  • Parents or legal guardians of minor patients

  • Family members or adult children who are legally authorized to make health care decisions on behalf of adult patient

  • Adult patients who have been determined by a court to be legally incompetent.


Continue reading “What is Jonathan’s Law? [Part I]”