Before you know it we will be going around with no coats on. So it is time to write this letter. Advocates for people with disabilities are fighting right now with state senators and representatives for the right of people with disabilities to live in the community versus living in an institution. Compared to last year, there already are more people with disabilities living in communities. What does this mean?
First of all, it needs to be remembered that every person with a disability does not use a mobility device or wheelchair, so it is hard to tell if the person next to you is a person with a disability or not. And remember when behind the wheel of your car with automatic controls telling you when to turn or not to turn to get where you are going, it will never tell you if that person crossing the street has a disability or not, so you need to be careful when turning corners while driving in general.
Give the same type of consideration that you would want if the tables were to be turned, and you were the person with a disability and they were the driver.
People with disabilities have shown in many communities how much they can contribute to the community they live in; they also pay sales tax on their medicine and groceries they buy, which puts money back into the community they live in.
I ask all of you to decide that the summer of 2007 is going to be the year when we find as many ways as possible to show people with disabilities that we want them in the community and, if needed, can be depended upon to help them to the best of our ability.
Joel Sheffel, Oak Park