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/