Sunday, September 5, 2010

OMRDD vs. OPWDD or, What's in a Name?

Don't you love the names of these government agencies.

What's an OMRDD?  and why should it have been renamed OPWDD?

Just as the "Associated for Retarded Children" morphed into the "Associated for Retarded Citizens" (when many of its clients were actually living into adulthood-one small leap for its time) and then "ARC" with local chapters such as ours getting rid of the "ARC" intials alltogether....so has the NYS Office responsible for those with developmental disabilities decided to join modern times.

The word 'retard', once quite acceptable and descriptive (way beyond its narrow meaning as a technical term) is now one of those names that we recognize as a put down of those it tries to describe.  How can a "retard" show progress?  How can a "retard" be equal to you or me?

That's why our local "ARC" now calls itself....ACHIEVE.   How fitting.

A while back, the "OMRDD" in New York State recognized this same thing - since, yes, that's what the "R" in OMRDD stood for.  So years after the "R" word became a mind set to avoid, our NYS bureacracy was still serving its "retarded" citizens.

Not any more.  We were the 49th state to drop the "R" word but the important thing was that the preson who signed this legislation into law was himself disabled.  Not "retarded" but visually impaired. (some would say more about our governor but-that is treating him on terms of performance, not disability.)

So now people like Bil have to deal with the "Office for People with Developmental Disabilities".  Make no mistake, still the old bureaucracy.  (and, I hate to say it, but it's going to take a long time to remove OMRDD from my vocabulary.  I'm still trying, hence this post.)

All we can strive for is the day when "disabilities" is a word to be removed from the vocabulary, too.  Because the blunt truth is, these offices do not serve our disabled citizens.  In my point of view, the government programs that assist serve more (from what I've seen) to keep them down, in poverty, and dependent on government.  But I digress.

We have a long way to go, in basics such as liveable wages and housing for our "disabled."  I may write more about that in my next post, as far as Bil.

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