Philosophy Of Developmental Disabilities Services

Developmental disabilities services follow a certain philosophy which helps an affected person to live a better life. Broadly speaking, the philosophy of developmental disabilities services is generally consistent with a set of governing principles and the guiding principles of service. Among the governing principles of most such services is one which says that persons with developmental disabilities will be able to relate to their families, friends and communities according to their choice.

Affected persons should be as independent as possible and be in a position to determine the course of their own lives. People with developmental disabilities must be provided the opportunity to make choices in life that do not undermine their health and safety, and such choices must always be valued and respected. Developmental disabilities services must also ensure that affected persons get the opportunity to communicate their fears and have them looked after and never be subjected to fear of harm or reprisal. They should get supports and services that are effective and fulfill their requirements. These governing principles form the basis of philosophy of most development disabilities services.

The guiding principles that are followed for serving affected persons also play a key role in determining the philosophy of developmental disabilities services. We can call these guidelines independence, inclusion, individualization and productivity. By independence, we mean an affected person should get opportunities to develop capacities that lessen his/her dependence. When an affected person is ‘included,' it means he/she can engage in experiences and activities with those who are not disabled. Individualization emphasizes on an affected person's self-esteem, which can be developed by ensuring respect, by making them contribute meaningfully to their living and community environment.

By productivity, it is meant that they are provided opportunities to make an increasingly meaningful contribution to their living and community environment. These principles constitute the philosophy of developmental disabilities services which is aimed at supporting their efforts to gain independence, to determine the direction of their own lives as far as they can, and to become productive and included members of their neighborhoods and communities.

The basis philosophy followed by developmental disabilities services also includes the following ideas. For example, every person should be treated with dignity and respect.

As each person is unique, and each has needs, hopes, emotions, aspirations etc., each should be recognized for his/her abilities and strengths and be encouraged to live an independent, productive life.

Because of the existence of spiritual values in each person, their growth should be encouraged, respecting individual, family and cultural traditions, and values. People with developmental disabilities must have the same rights, privileges, opportunities and responsibilities as other members of the community.

As families are extremely important for such affected people, it is imperative to support, respect, and promote partnerships among them, their families, the regional center and the community. These partnerships will be founded on mutual respect, and recognition and assessment of the roles, capabilities, experiences and contributions of all. Affected persons and their families should have an important say in making decisions in all areas of their lives, including residence, education, employment, health, recreation and relationships.

What developmental disabilities services can do is furnish information, advice, resources and direct help, enabling affected persons and their families to make informed decisions about plans, services and supports so that they can get their desired results.