#2 Great Ideas
The future for both education and adult rehabilitation systems lies in you, in the beautiful grey matter in your head. Questions and challenges lead to problem solving and ideas which then lead to changing systems. People with disabilities left institutional care because groups of parents across the country did not want to send their special needs child away from the family home.
All of us now are standing on the shoulders of those earlier families who believed change was possible and banded together to change the system. Across the country their efforts led to small segregated schools sprouting up, sometimes in church basements and whatever empty space they could find. They hammered their state legislatures for funding and leading the charge towards more sophisticated programs and buildings. Yet, these programs still remained separate from regular education and community life.
A group of radical professionals knew people with disabilities could do more and supported employment began came into being. At the same time people with disabilities were given support to move out of the nursing homes or group homes and into apartments, as well as become part of the regular educational process: going to public school, to college starting businesses and even owning their own homes
All of this change occurred over the span of a few decades. What new ideas can we find to drive the IEP process in the 21st Century?
Pay attention to the global impact of people with disabilities. A emerging market is coming to the surface. I predict most of the new ideas for our special needs populations will not only come from families but from business. In the next few years, businesses will find a new market, the “disability market,” and it includes not only people with disabilities but their immediate family, their extended family and all of their friends.(Check out Rich Donovan’s Return on Disability for more info)
Business will be listening to us more than ever. In the near future, businesses will come to understand the needs of caregivers, parents and individuals dealing with disability. Universal technology will adapt to this new market place and make life far more accessible for people with disabilities. We have seen the explosion of the iPad and associated apps developed expressly for people with disabilities in mind.
As you navigate the future, watch other aspects of our changing society and think about how will that affect your family? What is the local business down the street doing to anticipate and manage change? Can their strategies be helpful to us as we plan for the future? Raise the bar in your expectations and watch the ideas cascade out of your head as you help shape the future for all people with disabilities.
Let me know your strategies by commenting on this blog post. Do you know a family or a person with a disability caught off balance by these changes? Would you like to help make a difference in their lives? Share this blog and the four following blogs with them. You might just change their lives.