I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
I read an article recently where the state of South Carolina wants to cut benefits to over 26,000 people with various disabilities.
What kind of country do we live in that would turn their back on the people who need it most? To only afford money to institutionalize these individuals is taking this country back 50 or more years. Studies have proven that individuals who are part of society perform better in adulthood. They are people who contribute to the betterment of our society.
Being the father of young man with a duel diagnosis of Down syndrome and Autism and is non-verbal and who becomes a teenager this year, I am infuriated that in this country, in 2010, we can even think of institutions as being the best place for these citizens. These are people first and need to be treated with the same respect and dignity that every other person in this world should be treated with.
The US Government has millions of dollars to send to Haiti and Chile to help these people during a tragedy. While sending the money is the morally right thing to do, we must not forget about these people right here in America that have the same needs.
Maybe we should let these same government officials stay in an institution for a year and see what becomes of them. Why don’t our elected officials and their staffs take a pay cut? Why don’t our elected officials and their staffs be required to make a significant contribution to their health care benefits?
There must be a better solution; to even have somebody come up with the idea is archaic. We must find that solution and we must find it soon. We cannot outsource this group of people. Someday, they will be tax payers and have the right to vote.
The next time you see somebody with a disability; do not feel pity for them for they do not have pity for themselves. Smile. Say Hello. Offer a hand in friendship.