Beyond Needs

Judith Snow


What are some of the most effective ways of assisting people who have lived most of their lives in places such as government institutions, nursing care facilities, and group homes to express their needs and desires to have a home that is their own? Jay Klein, Institute on Disability, University of New Hampshire, Oct 31, 1999

This question reveals in part the nature of the discrimination or lack of understanding that faces people who are labeled disabled. A person who is considered to be an ordinary citizen express a need or desire in certain ways. Needs and desires are viewed and expressed differently when a person is considered to be disabled.

Typical citizens are perceived to have value to society at large. Value accrues to an “ordinary^ person due to the various roles he or she plays or potentially will play in community. Such roles include child, spouse, parent, employee, employer, voter, member, decision maker, spectator, witness, and many more.