You may have heard people describe life since the start of the pandemic this way. To me, it feels like 20 years were condensed into two.
COVID’s rapid spread led to unprecedented changes that impacted everyone in Massachusetts. But I’d argue that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism and their families felt the fallout more than most. In a matter of days, residences closed to family and other visitors, day programs shut down, and transportation and employment for people with IDD ground to a halt.
Families were left confused, trying to make sense of information that was often contradictory, and scrambling to care for their loved ones without the services and supports on which they depend every day.
In these two years, advocacy proved to be an absolute necessity to address the myriad challenges facing families who have a loved one with a disability. But the fight isn’t over!
To overcome the crisis in staffing both in family homes and at human service agencies that serve people with IDD, to advance technology that will increase independence and help fill the staffing gap, to overcome the bias that continues to limit access to healthcare and opportunities requires advocacy and information.
The need for advocacy for our community and the education of decisionmakers and the general public is as great as ever – and perhaps even greater in light of the competing priorities and noise in the public discourse.
Can people with IDD and their families count on you to make their voices and needs heard? Your gift will keep us as a community moving forward.