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/






About Us

A blog dedicated to my older brother and my personal research on his diagnosis: Severe Intellectual Disability (commonly known as Severe Mental Retardation) and Cerebral Palsy, and any related resource on the topic of developmental disabilities.

This blog all begins and ends with Doug.

My older brother, Doug (26), is the greatest influence in my life. After attending a parent meeting held at his day program, (one of the first geared towards educating families about the current services for people with developmental disabilities), I realized how little I knew about my brother’s disabilities and the state laws that affected his daily life and impending future.

I wasn’t alone. Every parent and guardian sitting in that room was lost.

  • How can we ensure the financial security of our children?
  • What happens to my child after he turns 13? 18? 21?
  • Who controls the coordination of applications that will eventually match our child with the proper day program and group home?
  • Why have our OPWDD applications gone ignored after all this time? 

An overwhelming sense of helplessness seemed to fill the room. Aging parents and aging children.

When it came to this issue, I had always felt alone and lost.

“What can I do?” I thought.

The answer?

Educate myself. Educate my parents. It’s a small step, but it’s the beginning of a mission.

I hope this blog becomes a resource for anyone who feels lost in the jargon and flood of information out there.


Alena S.Y.

For each blog post, I cite my information in APA format (6th ed) and reference lists can be found on the bottom of each post.