What are you thankful for this year? The question is bound to come up as we gather with our family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. There are the standard vague answers: health, happiness, loved ones, good food…
This year, however, may we suggest you get a little more specific? Here’s what we at The Arc are thankful for in 2010.
Let’s be thankful for a little girl who inspired a loving brother to take action against the “R” word. Thanks to Rosa Marcellino, who has Down syndrome, her family, a slew of supporters from the intellectual and developmental disability community, and a legislator from Maryland, the insulting and hurtful term “mental retardation” was replaced in many federal laws with the term “intellectual disability.” It may seem a small victory to replace an inappropriate term buried in the legalese of federal legislation, but as we all know, how we refer to people is often representative of how we treat them.
Let’s be thankful for CLASS. No, it’s not the character trait you wish your brother-in-law had a little more of…it’s the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act. This bill amended the Public Health Service Act to help people with functional impairment and their families pay for the services and supports they need to give them maximum functionality and independence.
Let’s be thankful for our health insurance policies. Thanks to provisions of health care reform legislation, insurance providers will now cover “pre-existing conditions” for children under 19. This means many children with intellectual and developmental disabilities will receive benefits under their parents job-related insurance policies for conditions for which they were previously denied coverage. This will help lift a huge financial burden off the shoulders of families. Although we’re living in a day and age when we should be able to take things like basic health care for granted, we’re just not there yet.