Why Visioning & Planning?
The Same Good Life
Barb MacIntyre: We look for everything we can find about creating a life of possibility.
Families who choose FMS want the same good life for a member with developmental disabilities as they want for any other family member.
Disability is no reason to compromise what matters: good relationships, a secure home, meaningful work, opportunities to develop and express abilities, and engagement in community life. A good life is rich in opportunities to develop abilities that match interests and contribute to the wellbeing of family, friends and community. That good life will emerge through a person's immersion in normative pathways through community life.
- Visioning answers the question, What makes life meaningful and rich for this person?
- Planning answers the question, How will we take our next steps into a meaningful life?
Not everyone who comes to a crossroads in life takes time to spell out a vision and plan. People with developmental disabilities benefit from visioning and planning for at least two reasons:
- Generations of family advocates and their allies have made real progress in changing attitudes, but society still tends to devalue and sometimes even hate people with developmental disabilities. A person with developmental disabilities can too often be seen and treated as less than a full citizen, as one of them. It's too easy for a person to slip into a separate life, sometimes lonely and often controlled by bureaucratic rules and program routines. Living with low expectations and wasted abilities leaves a person vulnerable to isolation, poor health, neglect and abuse. Minimizing the impact of social devaluation takes clear intention and continual, thoughtful effort by the person and those who love them.
- People with developmental disabilities often need extra cooperation to participate fully in community life. Success at work may depend on an employer tailoring a job to make their contribution possible. Owning the mortgage on a home may depend on a banker recognizing AISH as regular income. Singing in the choir may depend on the members joining in to figure out a way around inability to read. Vision encourages the confidence to ask for the cooperation necessary for success and courage to keep going when there are failures and disappointments.