I am the mother of an adult son with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD).
The state of Illinois does not make it easy for people with I/DD to choose their path in life.
It wasn’t easy for me to find any information on services. The system is so difficult to navigate—particularly in marginalized communities—that I literally had to become a professional in the industry to understand the system. Now, I take my knowledge and give it back to the community so that average parents who can’t become professional advocates have access to the same information that I do.
Due to a severe lack of funding, people with I/DD are waiting years for services to help them in navigating their daily lives. While they wait, they are defaulted to living in institutions, with a family member or in a house with multiple people they don’t know.
I am concerned about where my son will live and what will happen when I’m not here. I want him to be safe, have access to transportation and be near friends and family. He doesn’t want to live with strangers just to subsidize his rent.
People with I/DD are no different than people without disabilities; they have hopes, dreams and goals. Some people might need help to achieve those things, and fully funding services will ensure that everyone with I/DD can have the help they need to live a full and happy life.
Kimberly L. Johnson