A 2011 Resolution: Make a Difference

One in ten American families is affected by a disability. There are nearly 4.3 million Americans with intellectual and development disabilities, which include autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and other cognitive disabilities.

One in ten American families is affected by a disability. There are nearly 4.3 million Americans with intellectual and development disabilities, which include autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and other cognitive disabilities.

As a population, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are woefully underserved with regard to dental, medical and related health services.  As a society, we often view children and adults with disabilities as “objects” of social funding rather than “holders” of human rights. People with disabilities are often excluded from health care resources because of physical barriers, attitudinal behaviors and wrong-minded perceptions. Health and dental providers often characterize themselves as “hard-pressed” to provide services to this population because these individual require more time, training and, in some cases, specialized accommodation. And, Medicaid reimbursement often does not cover the costs of the increased time and effort required.

At the same time, we know that with better preventive health and dental care, health care costs for people with disabilities could be dramatically reduced. Many of the chronic diseases that plague this population derive from poor and inadequate preventive care.

It’s incumbent on us as a human community to share responsibilities and actions on behalf of the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to adequate preventive health and dental care. ANCOR is a nonprofit national association representing private providers of community supports and services tor people with disabilities.  We are committed to strengthening cooperation among diverse stakeholders to advance and enhance quality of life for the people we serve.

In the spirit of cooperation, we believe that dental hygienists have a unique opportunity to play a key role in increasing and enhancing preventive dental care for people with IDD and sharing model practices in serving this important population. We’re anxious to forge a partnership that can make a real difference for people with IDD and you’re where the rubber hits the road.

If each of you made a commitment to serve just two people with IDD annually, the impact on improving the life and health of this most vulnerable of populations would be enormous; not to mention the long-term health care cost savings. Click on our Facebook page at www.ancor.org and join our movement for better health and dental care for people with IDD who add such  breadth, depth and humanity to the tapestry of our lives and communities.

 

About ANCOR

The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) is a national nonprofit association representing more than 800 private providers of community living and employment supports and services to more than 400,000 individuals with disabilities and their families. ANCOR is committed to person-centered outcomes for people with disabilities that advance and enhance meaningful and productive lives in their community of choice.