Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Our Most Vulnerable Populations


This is an expanded post based statements I made on yesterday’s Share Your World.

Budget cuts for Our Most Vulnerable Populations

I Love and Enjoy attending Stephen’s meeting and seeing him. The news about all the layoffs and cutbacks due to lack of funding was depressing. Less and less services and programs for Stephen and the other residents.
The art program has been completely cut. Stephen enjoys art and making drawings, ceramics, etc…. He is no longer going out to as many work-sites because New York State has not provided funding to pay staff to take him to his job sites. Stephen used to attend a special camp for Adults with Autism but that got cut also. So you see my 3 days off was not relaxing in the least bit.
Developmentally Disabled citizens are being kicked to the curb because our American government no longer cares. Many professionals and family members are worried that this is a return to the warehousing of developmentally disabled people that was the norm in the 50s, 60s & 70s. Those of you old enough will remember Willowbrook and the scandal that reporter Geraldo Rivero exposed at that house of horrors.
When Geraldo Rivero went inside the Willowbrook facility he found resident rocking back and forth let in their own waste, feces, & urine. Residents were beaten by their often overworked, untrained supposed care-givers. So for those of you who criticise the Media TV Reporters think again. If it were not for investigative reporters hundreds if not thousands of Autism/Special Needs/Developmentally Disabled people would be crying out in pain. Crying into a void because nobody listens. So give your support to the Good and Reliable Media/TV Reporters. Often they are God’s Angels in disguise.
Keep in mind that staff who are overworked and underpaid often make mistakes. However these mistakes put disabled people at risk.
When our parents died I took up the mantle. Even before their deaths I was very much involved in caring for my brother Stephen. I still do my best but it is difficult for me to keep up with what is going on at his Residence and Training School. Especially since I work full-time. Plus I’m getting older. My body has aches, pains and disabilities now that I did not have 15 or 20 years ago. Even going up and down the subway stairs is a challenge. I get tired more easily and I’m starting to slow down.
My desire is to do more for Stephen but I don’t know how. I do call and email my elected officials because I cannot be with Stephen 24/7/365. Still I feel that guilt. Always asking God How can I be a better Sister to Stephen. Many days I’m at my wits end.
I wish I was rich and wealthy so I could donate money to hire more staff and return the arts, camps, work-site/work readiness programs that make the lives those with developmental disabilities fulfilling.
Not only will I be once again writing, calling and texting our elected officials I’m thinking of getting in touch with Caroline Kennedy, President John Kennedy’s daughter.  Those of you born and raised in the U.S.A. already know that President Kennedy’s Sister Rosemary Kennedy was born with developmental and intellectual disabilities probably due to a lack of oxygen to the brain during birth.  Most Americans are familiar with the Special Olympics begun by Ethel Kennedy.
Here is an old post of mine to give you more information regarding Rosemary Kennedy.
Stephen is a kind, compassion, loving, giving human being  who is always concerned for his fellow human beings. Sadly New York has a huge homeless populations.  At night homeless people sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets in all types of weather. Many live inside the subway stations that includes the platforms as well as inside the subway cars.
I remember one time while we were riding the subway a disabled homeless man began to cry. Stephen was about to get up out of his seat because he wanted so much to help this poor man.  If Stephen sees a blind or wheelchair person in distress he will go over to them. Stephen cannot stand to see other people suffer. His attitude is always, “I can help. Please let me help you.”  Stephen helps me tremendously when I’m feeling down and does so without judgment because being judgmental or critical of hurting people is a foreign concept to him. If an Autism Guy can give of himself to help others why can’t the American government do the same?  How can City, State and Federal elected officials continue to enact polices that put ALL Disabled populations at risk?

Remember that All Human Beings Have Value and worth. Everyone Deserves a Fulfilling, Happy and Joyful Life no matter their disability.  An opportunity to fulfill their passions and purpose. A chance to express their creativity. We must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

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20 thoughts on “Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Our Most Vulnerable Populations

    1. Like my namesake in the Bible (DeBorah Book of Judges 4 & 5) I shall continue the fight. I cannot stand by and feel powerless. I use the power of my pen and I will be contacting my elected officials. Also I will continue to pray. I cannot lose hope as the future of not only Stephen but other citizens with Autism is on the line.

  1. The art program being shut down sucks 😦 All of these cuts are affecting so many.. I’m wishing the government would understand the impact they’re having.. and that’s what they’ll have to understand when people like you keep telling them about it. That’s the way to do it, grassroots movements can work.. keep at it xx

  2. What a touching message, Deborah! Yes, when an autistic person can share so much love, why can’t the “healthy” one? But then again… perhaps that is exactly the problem. Stephen might not have that filter (ego) which keeps the channel and therefore the flow open. Thank you for such a touching post, Deborah!

    1. Thanks. Let’s hope that the American govt will recognize and respond to the needs, wants and desires of persons with Autism. No more layoffs or program cuts. Funding must be restored for Arts programs and we need more trained staff.

      1. A friend of a friend has an autistic child and I heard about the struggle to get some support from the government. But also to find the fitting environment since (as you said) not all are properly educated!!

      2. It is a struggle. It took years and lots of red tape before Stephen was placed in his Group Home back in 1989. There are not enough Group Homes and most neighborhoods don’t want Group Homes in their neighborhood. (NIMBY — Not in My Backyard) This stigma is still there.

        I had considered transferring Stephen to a different Group Home but basically with all the cut backs and budget cuts pretty much all the group homes are understaffed. Same problems everywhere. Also Fast Food workers make more money than the direct care workers/direct service providers who take care of disabled people. Obviously there is going to be a lot of turnover and neglect.

  3. The corporate oligarch state is going too far. An America that does not take care of our most vulnerable is unthinkable. I stand with you and Stephen, my own disabled family and friends, and all who live within these shores. We have a fight on our hands, but this is not going down.

    1. Thanks. I appreciate your support and encouragement. Stephen also used to attend a special camp for two weeks in the summer but that got cut several years ago.
      I am trying to come up with money so that we can have some fun filled days next month August.
      One of Stephen greatest concerns is for homeless disabled people. I still can’t understand why or how the American Society and Government can abandon disabled homeless people or any population in need.

  4. It’s so important that this perspective be shared and that people raise their voices. Thank you raising your voice and inspiring me to do the same. Peace, Harlon

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