The Arc recently released the results of its groundbreaking Families and Individual Needs for Disability Support (FINDS) survey and media across the country have been covering the startling statistics. A major goal for this project has been to raise awareness of The Arc and the urgent unmet needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), and the media has responded by reporting findings from the survey to the general public and highlighting the work of local chapters.
We know that while we have come a long way in promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD, there is still much more work to be done. Throughout our efforts to bring about greater awareness, two findings from the survey have struck a nerve – one-third of parents and caregivers (potentially 1 million families) reported that they are on waiting lists for government funded services, with the average wait more than five years. And in this recession, 62 percent of caregivers reported a decrease in services for their family member with a disability, leaving them financially vulnerable.
On the morning of June 14, we released Still in the Shadows with Their Future Uncertain, our report on the FINDS data. The Arc’s CEO Peter V. Berns and Lauren Potter, star of the hit FOX show “Glee,” participated in more than twenty television and radio interviews in top media markets across the nation, including Boston and Greensboro, North Carolina. Peter and Lauren shared the findings of the report and talked about what needs to be done to improve the lives of people with I/DD. Following these interviews, The Arc hosted a press conference at the National Press Club to officially unveil the report, and the national newswire Reuters quickly ran a story. Throughout the day, media continued to pick up on the report, interviewing local Arc executive directors and self-advocates, like Jamie Liban and Katherine Olson from The Arc of Virginia who did an in-studio interview at WTVR in Richmond.
The FINDS survey continues to have momentum, as Health & Home Report, one of the longest running syndicated video magazines on television, will begin airing on July 1st one of the television interviews with Peter and Lauren. Health & Home Report is hosted by an award winning reporter and anchor, Laura DeAngelis, and has gained a loyal following because of its useful consumer tips and interesting stories. The show is distributed to 20 broadcast stations and 91 cable systems across the country, reaching an audience between 3 to 4 million.
We encourage you to read the FINDS survey report and spread the word about The Arc’s call-to-action to motivate 1 million Americans to join the movement for people with I/DD. Use this information to make the case to everyone you know that more needs to be done to help people with I/DD be fully included and participate in the community throughout their lifetimes. Build on the publicity generated by media coverage of the report and share this blog with your networks. Thank you!