Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016


"Do you think Susannah might revisit this story with another perspective? I think the series gave the public a terrible slant on the issues of RHCs emphasizing mostly one side and making WA State seem draconian by having institutional settings." by Marin Wynne

Today is Wednesday 4/27.  Monday, 4/25, inspired by Maryn's words, I included them when I  re-sent the letter below, originally sent to S. Frame  on 12/29/15.  I know it is long.  You may not have gotten to the part where I suggested this:
       "Susannah, on camera, you appear to have taken a position that community-at-large should be for everyone and RHCs should be closed. When we met, I saw you with your heart open.  I saw you caring.  Because I saw that, I think I am right, that you could make the  shift from a community-at-large-for-all position to supporting RHC homes for people that need and want them as well as community-at-large homes for people that need and want them.  In doing so, you would be in step with the Olmstead Supreme Court ruling.

     In large part, the war against the RHCs is stalemating progress for everyone.  If you could make that shift for the balance of your series, you could set the public stage for healing of the divide.  Instead of furthering divisiveness, you could be helping achieve mutual respect and understanding. The result could be that all the energy that has been tied up in the war against RHCs would be used for improving on what we have in all venues so that people with IDD who need residential services can have them when they need them, where they need them and they will be safe.
     Susannah, from my perspective, that would be award-winning reporting. You would be doing society’s most vulnerable people a great service.   I hope you will find it in your heart to resume in the new year from this healing perspective."  

Although, for the second time,  I got no acknowledgement  to my letter, this morning via google,  I was alerted to K-5's latest infomercial, which I am interpreting as her answer. It is simply more propaganda: Claims that King5 inspired some funding that the legislature directed toward badly needed training for community-at-large caregivers.  The fact is that the funded legislation  had  to be set aside in previous years due to state budgetary shortfalls.  It was not written in response to K-5 at all.   If the series  ever had said anything about poor or lacking training for community-at-large caregivers, we might buy a tiny bit of Susannah's taking credit for the new funding, but since she uttered nary a whisper about it,  only proclaimed high praise for non-RHC programs, by my standards, the focus of this newest video  is  just pro-K-5 spin.  

Maybe it's even a save-face reaction to all the detailed letters by families defending RHCs as having served their loved ones excellently.   http://www.king5.com/news/local/investigations/king-5s-institutions-series-prompts-changes-to-help-disabled/154771606

Today's self-serving show also claims a 400% rise in people expressing interest in moving their loved ones to the community at large.  If it's true at all, it's not such a surprise given their series' glowing propaganda.  However, DSHS has been funding  move-em-out-of-the RHCs programs for many years.  They have a history of adding to their lists of people who  they claim want community-at-large services the names of people who don't want to move their loved ones, who only called to ask a question.  We have  heard this from the indignant families and guardians who, ever since, had been receiving letters that assume they want community-at-large  care for  their loved ones. 
That said, despite my  doubts, I sincerely hope that the elevated expectations of all  hopeful people can be met. Some community-at-large programs are praiseworthy.  My only  personal criticism is of the DSHS system that does not take responsibility for assuring praiseworthiness of all of them by providing frequent, drop-in visits to assure safety and program adherence. 

People with intellectual developmental disabilities have the right to choose to live in an RHC or in a community-at-large setting.  "CHOICE" is the operative concept by federal law  It should be so, practically, too. 
What do you think?.