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Posted at 2:54 PM ET, 07/25/2010

The value of Va.'s disability centers

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Jack Bruggeman
Vienna

The July 22 Metro article “ ‘We should close them all’ ” highlighted an unfortunate division between parents and guardians of Virginia residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

I am the co-guardian of my sister, Cathy, who has been a resident of the Northern Virginia Training Center for more than 20 years. She is profoundly disabled, requiring around-the-clock care. NVTC has provided extraordinary care for Cathy, and she leads a full life there and at her day-support program, Central Fairfax Services.

The primary focus of all parents and guardians should not be on fighting with each other over the meager resources provided by the state but rather on pushing Virginia to provide more funding for services for all those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to the publication “The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities,” Virginia ranked 45th among the 50 states and the District in spending for these services.

The writer is a member of the board of the Parents and Associates of the Northern Virginia Training Center.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | July 25, 2010; 2:54 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Virginia, health care  
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Comments

Thank you for posting your information. I am the single parent and guardian of a severely disabled young man who at age 23 has graduated from school and due to budget cuts cannot attend any local day program that could accommodate his needs. He's been at home for a year and at times I wonder why he went to school, all the little skills he had are disappearing. To ask his caregiver to provide a day program is absurd, yet that is the only alternative as I cannot pay for such a thing myself. I don't want my son in an institution unless (and, inevitably, until) it's absolutely necessary, and I know that NVTC is not able to provide day services in the community, although at one time that was an idea being explored. Every child is different and once IEP's are no longer the operating document there's nothing in society to compel its members to consider the needs of the disabled individual, unless parents and guardians demand it. A division between institution supporters and community service supporters is not the way to go about getting services made available, based on the individual's needs. That standard should not vanish just because school's out.

Posted by: jody43jody | July 25, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

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