Disturbing the Force [PDF]

John O’Brien


This memo summarizes a meeting held at Lynda Kahn’s invitation on the afternoon of 11 April 2001. Our discussion focused on identifying long-term issues critical to the development of Rhode Island’s DD system.
We hold leadership positions in advocacy and self-advocacy groups, service provider organizations, and the Division of Developmental Disabilities, but each of us represented our own point of view rather than representing organizations. We didn’t try to resolve differences in points of view and, though there were many areas of general agreement, not everyone will agree with every point made in the summary. We will each make use of this summary in ways that make sense to us. The summary itself is written for our use rather than for others to read; people who didn’t participate will probably need more explanation than this memo provides.Eaa

Each of us answered this question: “What issue we face today, more than any other, will define our system’s capacity to support good quality lives for people with disabilities, their families, and the people who assist them in 2010.” In selecting an issue we were invited to…

…keep our vision for people with developmental disabilities clearly in mind rather than being driven by our worries
…consider the whole system, rather than just the part of greatest personal concern
…think long-term rather than just about what is currently urgent
…look for issues that can develop the most leverage to improve the system rather than focusing only on what we