Common Human Needs

The term “Common Human Needs” has been with me since studying social work in grad school at the University of Chicago. The term serves as the title of a seminal book in the field by Charlotte Towle, a book that is a “compassionate explanation of human developmental need.” In the early to mid-20th century, financial assistance for citizens was regarded the same way that assisting illegal immigrants is today. But leaders such as Charlotte Towle and Jane Addams were pathfinders for those of us in the helping professions. Unfortunately, not all of those needing help were regarded as “deserving.” Continue reading

Both Sides Of The Stare

Have you ever been stared at?  When it happens to me, I wonder if something is out of place, like my hair or maybe something worse. But if you have a disability that’s obvious, or if you’re walking with someone who does, the stare may register more intensely, stirring deep emotions. Continue reading

“And miles to go before I sleep…”

Attitudes toward those with intellectual or developmental disabilities are changing in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go. One surprising story that shows how far we have to go comes from Australia just this month.

Sarah Maroun, who expects the birth of her daughter in January, was attacked on the web when she publicly revealed her decision to go full-term after a prenatal screening revealed her daughter would be born with Down syndrome.

The Impact is Personal

For adults with disabilities, services sometimes are the only thing separating them from homelessness. For others, the lack of services may mean an increase in behaviors or other symptoms such as depression. And for family members, it may mean staying at home or being the driver throughout the week to make sure a son or daughter or sibling can get to where they need to go. Continue reading

Take Part in the Pathlight Challenge!

Pathlight, a leading provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities in western Massachusetts, and Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) have joined in an exciting partnership to encourage innovation in the field of disability. The goal of the challenge is to offer two spots in VVM’s prestigious Startup Accelerator to companies that are creating solutions for people, particularly millennials, with developmental and intellectual disabilities (and those with autism who have no intellectual disability) to lead more independent lives. Continue reading