The following sets forth PART’s position with respect to educational and residential services and supports for children and adults with mental retardation.
Families are faced with difficult decisions throughout the lifetime of a family member with special needs. When a child has severe mental retardation or violent and uncontrollable behavior, these decisions are made even more difficult as families struggle to provide their children with a life full of experiences and opportunity for maximum potential. Determining living options are among the most difficult decisions families of children with special needs must face.
PART recognizes that every person with special needs has unique strengths, abilities and needs. PART believes that residential options should mirror the diversity of people with special needs and supports a full array of quality residential options, from in-home supports to State Supported Living Centers or SSLCs. In every case, PART advocates that the final determination of what is appropriate depends on the needs of the individual.
PART is a Texas organization supporting a full array of quality residential options. However, we recognize the role for community –based options. Some groups oppose specialized residential opportunities in favor of only small scattered community living options, closed admissions and elimination of the SSLC option.
PART opposes these initiatives because they limit legitimate choice and dismantle programs that are specially designed to assist individuals with severe and profound mental retardation, medical complexities, and extreme behavioral challenges.
Furthermore, elimination of many residential based programs across the country has meant that adults with severe mental retardation, medical complexities and/or behavioral issues are without adequate services, especially when they age out of an educational program.
PART seeks to be part of the solution – helping policymakers, stakeholders, families, community leaders, clinicians, and state agency representatives design and maintain a comprehensive system for our most vulnerable Texans.