To Whom It May Concern,

The idea that the disabled do not like sheltered work facility and need to be integrated into the community is totally false. If they are physically and mentally capable they should be in the community working. Unfortunately the majority of the workers are not able to do this. The federal government is making a bad law and we should not just follow along and not question how much this law will hurt the disabled people that we should be supporting. We need to have more jobs for our disabled not take them away. Community jobs are great but painting a broad picture that says there will be work for all the disabled people with this new law is wrong.

Some questions I have?

  • What percentage of disabled people that are now working would be able to work in the community? 10% at best
  • Where will the other 90% go? Staying at home is not a good option for them it will be both physically and mentally damaging
  • How many hours will they work per week? On average one a study says 10 hours at minimum wage.
  • Where will they be the other days? At home with nothing to do
  • How will they get to work? My daughter uses a wheelchair and rides a bus with her friends and peers
  • Who will supervise their medications? There are many with health conditions and will need to be monitored
  • Will someone be available for any health concerns (seizures, etc.)? I do not know if you realize this but many of them have health issues that may need medical attention
  • Working in the community they are not doing the same work as others or will they be segregated into a specialized job and not integrated to working with the regular staff? For example, sweeping floors and cleaning restrooms 2 days a week is not integrating them into the community or actually improving their working conditions.

My daughter was born with Spina-Bifida and Hydrocephalus and has 2 shunts and had several operations on her legs in her preteen years. It is a struggle growing up with a disabled child on many levels. By third grade both mentally and physically she was not able to keep up with the others.

While in her senior year in high school she worked at a nursing home in the kitchen. She fell several times and eventually she was let go. She got a CNA license and worked at a different nursing home but eventually was let go.

After graduation she was without a job and living at home. She had very little to keep her occupied other than watching TV. With no job and nothing to do she hospitalized and was treated for depression. We were fortunate to be able to get her into a job at Opportunities Incorporated. Having a job changed her life, she was able to go to work, meet new friends and earn her own paycheck. They did find her a job in the community working at a bank but eventually was let go because she was not able to meet the challenges of the job. They are continuing to search for other community jobs that she may be qualified to do.

She is very happy working at Opportunities Incorporated a Community-Based Service Facility on so many levels.  She has friends, a job to go to everyday, a feeling of self-worth, a paycheck and responsibility. She needs this job to keep her active, motivated and to be doing something every day and not be relegated to be at home.

Having a job to go to everyday is the best physical and mental therapy that there is please do not close these facilities! That is why we need a full array of employment and residential services to be kept intact. Facility based vocational services must be protected. It would be devastating to her and all the other clients that work there if you were to close down these facilities because of some new regulations that are being considered.

Her living situation is another story and saying they don’t have choices is false.

There many tumultuous years after graduating from high school. Typical teenager but physically and mentally she did not fit in and eventually started running around with the wrong crowd and for 2 years went off with a guy to Iowa until she had, had enough, and I brought her back.

Shortly after that I was able to get her into a Community-Based Living Facility in Fort Atkinson. There were 3 girls living in her area and they worked with her and the others on making their beds every day and taking care of the house. They worked with on her cooking skills but there was a concern that she would forget to the burners off. The meals were provided so I knew she was always getting a good meal.  They do have choices but there were rules to keep them and everyone else safe

  • They need to let the supervisor if they are leaving
  • They need to let the supervisor know if they are going to be late
  • The could not have male friends over to their apartment for obvious reasons

She learned good living skills by keeping her room picked up and clean, doing her own wash and learned some limited cooking skills. At age 34 she now has moved into an apartment in Watertown and living on her own for the first time in her life. This was again her choice. We are very proud of her but not very many of the disabled people would be able to do this and I would think you would understand that.

The many community living facilities for the disabled are there to help the disabled. Saying they have no choices is so wrong. They have choices but many of them are not capable of making safe choices.

Please do not take away their jobs and their only way of earning an income and that feeling of doing something important. This would be devastating to them and their family members.

Taking away their jobs or out of a safe living environment is not integration is wrong, it is inhumane.

Tell the Federal Government that this a bad law and will only hurt the majority of the disabled. The ones that need our support the most.


Roger Kylmanen

Views: 36


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