Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sign Our Petition

MAID_petition_photoWe've started the online petition "Protect Sheltered Workshops" and need your help. Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? No matter where  you live, sheltered workshops need your support throughout the United States. There are several easy ways to access the petition; please choose one of the following:

Here's why it's important:

People with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), which includes mental retardation, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, have the right to choose where they work and where they live. We believe that sheltered workshops are the only places where some individuals can work and function as productive members of the community.

Legislators in some states are already attempting to eliminate funding to sheltered workshops and force people with disabilities into supported/competitive employment. A vast number of individuals with I/DD who are capable of supported employment have already transitioned into the community. There are countless horror stories about individuals who have tried supported employment, and they fell in with the wrong group of individuals, were taken advantage of, sent to prison, or ended up walking the streets alone.

Sheltered workshops throughout the U. S. provide a safe environment for adults with I/DD to work, interact with their peers, and gain a sense of accomplishment. Other popular names for sheltered workshops include “community rehabilitation programs,” work activity centers,” or “vocational workshops.” Many workshops also provide transportation, off-site day habilitation programs, and opportunities to experience new things such as taking a vacation or going on a camping trip. Individuals who choose to work in sheltered workshops are happy, safe, fulfilled, and are among their friends and peers.

The ARC of the United States claims that people with disabilities “have had no choice but to work in sheltered, segregated programs that separate people from their communities.” Our response is that supported/competitive employment has been a choice for more than 20 years, through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Mental Health, and the Medicaid system. Statistics show many individuals with I/DD have not shown an interest in supported/competitive employment, and the majority who have tried it, ultimately return to sheltered employment.

Legislators claim that supported/competitive employment enables people with disabilities to live and work independently in the community. Our response is that it can potentially promote independence. In many cases, the individual ends up leaving a 29-hour a week job in a sheltered workshop for one where the individual only works one or two days a week for four hours a day. Working eight hours a week washing dishes alone in a restaurant kitchen is hardly integration into the community; however, current government standards accept this as a successful placement.

An alternative option, which is currently gaining ground, is to remove individuals with I/DD from sheltered workshops and place them in Day Habilitation programs – segregated programs where they receive no monetary wages! Each individual has an innate right to have the opportunity to work, earn money, and gain a sense of accomplishment and dignity, while contributing toward their own standard of living. Eliminating sheltered workshops as an employment choice, denies individuals with I/DD the human inalienable right to be a productive member of our society.

Community employment is not the answer for everyone. We need sheltered workshops! We should be creating more employment opportunities for people with disabilities – not eliminating options. Let your voice be heard and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. ADA and Section 504 in no way meant to take choice or any other kind of employment option away from persons with I/DD. It is our responsibility to provide opportunities and support for individuals with developmental disabilities. Do not deprive them of their choices and force them into settings which will diminish their quality of life. Help us protect sheltered workshops across the nation!

Please sign our petition and show your support:

(1) Click this link:·Protect Sheltered Workshops and fill in your name, city/state, email address, and click Sign.

NOTE: If you are having any issues with the Change.org website showing up correctly, you may need to try a different Internet browser. Some users have reported issues with using Internet Explorer as their browser; however, FireFox and Google Chrome seem to work perfectly. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you do not want to use a different browser, simply email us and we will add your name and information for you (see #2).

(2) If you are unable to access the Change.org website for some reason, you can also email Missouri AID directly at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by filling out the form on the Contact Us tab on this website. Please provide your name, email address, mailing address, and an additional Comment as to why sheltered workshops are important to you, and we will add your name and Comment for you to the online petition.

Parent Category: Friends of AID