Healthy Choices For Healthy Lives Booklet
Resources for Teachers and Parents, Click Here!
It is an important concept to bear in mind that the Environmental Health Initiative (EHI) believes that disability is a natural phenomenon – and it promotes progressive policies that mandates full inclusion and participation of those living with disabilities into all aspects of society.
With that said, disabilities that result from toxic exposure are unnecessary and most importantly – preventable. We know that many toxic exposures cause developmental disabilities. We also know that toxic exposures can exacerbate the health of those living with disabilities.
As all communities should be concerned with chemical exposures, the developmental disability (dd) community should be no different. An environment and lifestyle free from toxic exposures should be afforded to everyone.
It may be the case that toxic exposures are more of a concern to those living with a disability than those who do not. There are special concerns of the dd community to exposure such as Pica activities that may disproportionately expose persons with disabilities. There may also be mobility or verbal limitations to move away from the source of pollution to communicating discomfort. There is also a high-incidence of co-morbid issues for person’s with disabilities such as mental health issues or respiratory problems and medications may further complicate their bodies reaction to toxic exposure. And of course, chemical exposure can lead to developmental disability.
Self-Advocacy at Every Level
The EHI aims to include self-advocates at every level of this project, from leadership roles to active participation in our daily activities. We also have resources that are aimed at educating self advocates in the areas of environmental health. For example, the Healthy Choices for Healthy Lives
booklet is designed for self advocates to use, and this resource can be made available in various formats to better address the needs of those living with disabilities. Please visit the Healthy Choices
tab in the EHI for complete access to this resource.
Background on Developmental Disability
According to the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD)
What is Developmental Disability?
There are approximately 4.5 million individuals with developmental disabilities in the United States. Developmental disabilities are severe, life-long disabilities attributable to mental and/or physical impairments, manifested before age 22. Developmental disabilities result in substantial limitations in three or more areas of major life activities:
•*capacity for independent living
•*receptive and expressive language
Without appropriate services and supports, the choices open to people with developmental disabilities including where they live, work, and play are minimal. They are isolated rather than fully integrated and included in the mainstream of society. Persons with developmental disabilities require individually planned and coordinated services and supports (e.g., housing, employment, education, civil and human rights protection, health care) from many providers in order to live in the community.