Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Until That Day. (Editor's Desk)

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Until That Day. (Editor's Desk)

Article excerpt

The old vaudeville comics were fond of a joke that went, "Marriage is a great institution, but who wants to live in an institution." I sure don't.

Quite frankly no one does; or no one who knows what a safe, happy and supportive community existence can potentially afford does. So right out of the box you know that this column is not about promoting living in an institution. It's about the fact that we still have individuals with developmental disabilities living in institutions; it's about the reality that we're still years away (thankfully not light years) from truly posting the sign that says, "Last one out of the institution please shut the lights."

Until that day there are some realities, facts and insights that need to be acknowledged by advocates of the community living movement.

There are many excellent, committed and talented professionals providing high levels of care and support for people in institutions. So the first thing the "community only" contingent needs to come to terms with is that, "high levels of care and support for people in institutions" is not an oxymoron. Before the emails, dead fish and black roses start to flood my office, go back and read the fourth sentence of this editorial.

In terms of the delivery of comprehensive, culturally competent, evidence-based, person-centered, interdisciplinary, cost-conscious, biopsychosocial, outcome-oriented and yes, "kind" medicine (just so you know I'm keeping up) ... it's happening in both the institutions and the community.

The delivery of healthcare, (medicine, dentistry, habilitation, mental health) like every other thing that's "delivered" is always going to be based, evaluated and criticized on the existence of the "bottom ten percent." I don't care if it's a squad of Navy SEALS, Harvard professors, Hall of fame pitchers or clinicians, there is always going to be a bottom ten percent (or twenty or fifty percent). Folks that simply don't measure up either by virtue of training, competence, attitude, skills, or reinforcement. And yes, some of them work in state institutions, and some of them work in Ivy League clinics or community clinics or private offices. But instead of harping on the lackluster services, which are not the exclusive domain of institutions, let's look, support and learn from those centers of excellence, regardless of their addresses. …

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