Enabling Valued Community Lives for People with Significant Disabilities
A Call to Action in Alberta
Participants in this workshop discussed their learning about creating community alternatives to institutional living and identified actions that will create an Alberta in which institutions are part of our past, not part of our future. John O’Brien wrote this summary of the main points people made in the discussion.
Participants shared in the stories of families who have created positive alternatives to institutional living for people with substantial disabilities. While each of these stories reflects the unique circumstances of the people involved, these messages tie the stories together and link them to the stories of thousands of other people around the world:
• Community life with adequate supports offers people more opportunities for a good life than institutions can, even at their best. Good supports grow from commitment to a person’s well-being, sustained hard work, and creative leadership in overcoming barriers to a person’s free exercise of the rights and responsibilities of community membership.
• Community supports have been developed for people with the full spectrum of needs met in institutions. No one needs to live in an institution unless public policy makes an institution the only place a person can get the supports they require by under-funding community supports.