Last week, the Oklahoma Human Services Commission voted to complete the state’s ongoing transition from institutional to community-based care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thanks to the resolution, over the next two to three years, Oklahoma’s two state-run institutions for developmentally disabled individuals will be closed and the current residents will be transitioned to community-based living arrangements.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network applauds Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, who spoke out in support of the resolution, as well as the Human Services Commission, for realizing the importance of community-based services. To quote the language of the resolution itself, disability is “a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the rights of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities” and “everyone has the right to be as independent as possible.” It is crucial that disabled people, no matter what our needs in terms of support, are free to make informed decisions about our lives and care, and that we have every opportunity to participate fully in our communities. It is the hope of ASAN and our supporters that Oklahoma’s move toward community-based services will set an example for states that still provide services through an institutional model.