This lawsuit has a lot to do with the notions I talked about in my last post, about other people’s notions of what disabled people need at any given time. In particular, about the notion that people who need a certain kind or level of assistance belong in a certain kind of building.
In the developmental and psych systems, the hierarchy of kinds of buildings — regardless of what’s actually provided in each — tends to run from large state institutions, to private institutions, to ICF/MRs and group homes and halfway houses, to “supported apartments” and “mental health housing”, to assistance in one’s own apartment. Physically disabled and old people deal more with the threat of nursing homes in particular, although people with CP are often put in the developmental system.
In this case, the woman hires and receives assistance from attendants in her own apartment. The managers of her apartment complex are convinced that this level of support is only possible in a nursing home, despite the evidence in front of them that she is getting exactly this level of support outside of a nursing home.
This is also what happens when people say, “My daughter could never live in her own apartment, she needs a group home.” Or, “My son is in the most restrictive environment possible and I aim to keep him there.” (I heard that last one word for word at a conference on inclusion for DD people. The woman went on to describe a son whose behavior — and reactions to confinement — strongly resembled mine at his age.) People really do believe that the size and shape of a building dictates the amount of assistance people can receive, and that they have the right to decide for us what size and shape of building we should live in.
And that prejudice, as usual, shapes policy, and that needs to change.