June 24, 2003 --
The World Summer Games of the Special Olympics began Saturday in Dublin, Ireland. And the organization has just released findings of its new "Multinational Study of Attitudes toward Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities." The findings are not encouraging.
--79 percent of respondents said that children with intellectual disabilities should be educated in a segregated setting, either in the home or in special schools
-- 54 percent believe that the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the workplace increases the risk of accidents.
-- only 36 percent of respondents believe that those with intellectual disabilities could perform more complex tasks, such as understanding a news event (although 67 percent believe that people with intellectual disabilities can wash and dress themselves).
Highlights of the study, and a link to the entire PDF document, can be found at the Special Olympics site.
The goal of the study, says its authors, "was to document the social acceptance level of individuals with intellectual disabilities worldwide. In particular, the study focused on: how the general population views the capabilities of individuals with intellectual disabilities; the extent to which they should be able to employ those capabilities in inclusive settings; and exactly how far average people believe that persons with intellectual disabilities should be integrated into everyday society."
"Our greatest hope," says Special Olympics President Timothy Shriver, "is that this study will serve as the catalyst for a real and lasting change in the public's attitudes toward the inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities."
Read an article from Inclusion Daily about the study at http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/drn/06_03.shtml#566
A YEAR AGO TODAY . . .
Justin Dart, Jr., 71, hailed as "the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act," died at his home June 21. A leader in the disability rights movement for three decades, his commemorative website is at http://www.unitedadvocacy.org Mouth magazine's new July issue features an interview with Dart's widow, Yoshiko. Not online yet, but watch http://www.mouthmag.com/issues.htm -- it should go online in a month or so.