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A message from Aspire President Thomas Sy

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National Report Ranks States With Best Services for Disabilities

Results of a new national report ranking developmental disability services finds states rated highly all over the country, but warns of increasing waiting time for supports.  The Case for Inclusion shows how well each individual State is performing overall, how they match up regarding key data measures and, most importantly, the top performing states with policies and practices that should be replicated.  According to the annual report published by United Cerebral Palsy, New York ranked in the top quarter of states at number 13 while the best Medicaid service systems for individuals with developmental disabilities are in Arizona, Vermont, New Hampshire, Michigan and Hawaii.  Arizona claimed the top spot in the rankings for the fifth year in a row.

The report aims to put each state’s progress in serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities into a national context and is intended to assist advocates and policymakers in understanding the metrics — how their state performs overall in serving these individuals, what services and outcomes need attention and improvement and which states are top performers in key areas so advocates and officials can act as a resource for states desiring to improve.

The analysis considered a myriad of metrics to assess how individuals with disabilities live and participate in the communities in which they’re  a part of, their ability to access support systems and the level of satisfaction they have in their lives.

Nationally, almost 250,000 people are on the waiting lists for community-based services, an increase of 28,000 from the previous year.  But the report does state that an increasing number of states, currently 18, have little or no wait time for assistance.  Additionally, growth was found in the number of states that allow people to use self-directed services, providing family support to a large number of residents and placing at least one third of individuals with developmental disabilities in competitive employment.

This national growth in waiting list submission nationally shows an increase in services sought, something that Aspire sees as positive growth of awareness. Locally, here in Western New York, Aspire has been working for years on closing this gap. We pride ourselves on the reputation of helping children and adults with disabilities throughout the entire process of finding services, and finding them efficiently and effectively. Ideally, Aspire would be there, from early school-age programs, through the continuum of post-education independent living programs.

Matching the results of previous years, states that ranked highly included an eclectic mix of characteristics — both large and small, rich and poor, high and low tax as well as small and large spenders.

Tarren Bragdon, the report’s author, says while progress is being made, there’s still work to do.

“The fact is real progress is being made.  More Americans with (intellectual and developmental disabilities) are living in the community but much more work needs to be done to reduce waiting lists, increase employment and expand support to families.”

We at Aspire are driven by the core belief that children and adults with developmental disabilities have the right to realize their full potential and live as independently as possible, while compassionately and relentlessly working toward facilitating this end.  Our commitment to and reputation for full-service solutions in community services for the developmentally disabled can be seen all over Buffalo and Erie County.  Whether it be helping individuals achieve their personal goals for employment or developing career skills, we look forward to continue building strong relationships and communities through inclusion.

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