Project Living Well

The goal of this Project is to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (DD). People with DD should choose their way of life. People with DD should have equal freedoms for jobs, living, and income.

Comics

These comics are stories about people with DD. Kim and her friends talk about data. Their talks help Kim to live the life that she wants.

Accessible Housing

Comic book illustration

English | Español

People with disabilities have the right to choose where they live. Do you have the support and resources to choose your home? Who can you ask for help? Kim, her Grandpa and their friend Bruce have similar questions.

Early Intervention

Comic book illustration

English | Español

Don’t miss your child’s milestones. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. These include rolling over, laughing or waving. What if your child isn’t meeting these milestones? Early intervention is key.

Accessible Education

Comic book illustration

English | Español

Does your child need extra support in school? Every child learns differently. Is your child having difficulty learning? Learn if he or she needs an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Video: Accessible Housing

Many people with disabilities have trouble finding homes. How many people have trouble? Why? Do you have the same issue? Who can you ask for help? Kim, Grandpa and Bruce have answers.

Mira el vídeo en español: Viviendas para Personas con Discapacidad

Trend Reports

These reports are great for research and policy. They have data and trends. These reports track quality of life and service outcomes for people with disabilities.

Early Intervention (EI) helps babies and toddlers who have not shown the same skills as other children their age. Through EI, children talk more clearly (speech therapy), move more easily (physical therapy) and more. Family members also learn ways to help their child.

EI helps to reduce delays. This means the child may be less likely to need special education and other services in the future.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) oversees the EI program. The program follows the rules of Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Education has far-reaching effects on other parts of life. A child needs to do well in school because it can impact their future job. Their school results can impact how much they live independently.

Three laws make sure that children with disabilities receive a quality education:

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  2. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  3. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

The ADA protects students with disabilities from discrimination. IDEA and Section 504 say that students with disabilities have the right to a “free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.” This means the student can go to public school. There, the student can get free school services that they need. The student should learn alongside other students without disabilities as much as possible.

Housing is more than having a place to live. Housing affects a person’s job, access to services, connections with neighbors and more.

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) looked into Virginia’s disability service system. DOJ said that our system should be better. In 2012, the DOJ and the Virginia government signed a Settlement Agreement. As a result, our state closed four of five state institutions. The institutions were called Training Centers. People with developmental disabilities (DD) had lived in these Training Centers. Our state government helped these people with DD move into homes in the community. Our state is working to help all people with DD to live in the community more easily.

People with disabilities often have worse health than people without disabilities. This is called a health disparity. Research shows that we can prevent these health disparities. There are many ways that we can do this. For example, we can make sure that people with disabilities can get health services more easily. We also need to get rid of discrimination from health staff.

Please note: This trend report discusses data on adults. There is little health data on adults with disabilities in general. There is even less health data on children with disabilities.

Everyone should be able to decide how they want to live. Services for people with DD are very important. With these services, people with DD can live how they want to in the community.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Settlement Agreement and the Home and Community-Based Services Final Rule are guiding our state’s actions. For example, Virginia is updating community-based services and supports. In fact, we got new state programs. We have needed these new programs for a long time. Still, we need to take care of two other problems: 1) family caretakers are getting older and 2) paid caretakers keep quitting.

People with disabilities still face discrimination at work. In fact, many people with disabilities have trouble getting jobs. Some people have worked for less than the minimum wage. They often are kept separate from workers who do not have disabilities.

Many laws have banned discrimination. Other laws encourage “competitive, integrated employment” for people with disabilities. This means that workplaces should:

  1. Pay at least a minimum wage.
  2. Allow people with and without disabilities to work together.

These laws have been very helpful. Yet, we can still make work conditions better. Researchers are also looking at how COVID-19 impacted jobs.