Time to Fulfill Our Promise to Californians With Developmental Disabilities

Chad Velousky, from Esperanza Education Center, takes a swing at a wiffle ball during the 34th annual Goodwill of Orange County Faley Special Games at Cal State Fullerton on Friday, May 3, 2019. The event is Orange CountyÕs largest non-competitive, inclusive sporting event for athletes with developmental and intellectual disabilities. More than 2,500 special athletes play games including football throw, basketball, bean bag toss, volleyball, Frisbee toss, whiffle ball. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Chad Velousky, from Esperanza Education Center, takes a swing at a wiffle ball during the 34th annual Goodwill of Orange County Faley Special Games at Cal State Fullerton on Friday, May 3, 2019. The event is Orange CountyÕs largest non-competitive, inclusive sporting event for athletes with developmental and intellectual disabilities. More than 2,500 special athletes play games including football throw, basketball, bean bag toss, volleyball, Frisbee toss, whiffle ball. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Until last year, for the past two decades, “John,” a 43-year-old whose developmental disabilities prevent him from living independently, the way so many of us take for granted, relied on PathPoint, a local non-profit, as his lifeline.

Every day, John would take the PathPoint shuttle from his home to the PathPoint service center in Chatsworth.  Here, John made lifelong friends, learned to take turns in conversations, finish tasks, and even take public transportation on his own.  These skills enabled him to get a job at Wood Ranch BBQ, where he made table arrangements, trained as a volunteer at the local Veterans Administration Medical Center, and even pursued his artistic talent at a local community center, where he takes ceramics and painting classes.

John’s growth was rooted in a promise we made when the California Legislature passed the Lanterman Act in 1973, guaranteeing every Californian the “right to dignity, privacy, and human care…[and] to make choices in their own lives.” . . .

Read more by Henry Stern at LA Daily News