I am a sibling of a person with a developmental disability, or as we’re known in the disability world, a “sib.” My brother Curtis is a twenty-seven year old with autism. Although I’m considered the “typical” sibling, being the sibling of a person with a developmental disability is by no means a typical experience. In the future I will be legally, financially and relationally responsible for my brother in the same way that my parents are now.
My experience as a sibling is in no way unique. According to the Center for Disease Control, one in six children in the United States currently has a developmental disability. When these children become adults, that will require a range of support systems to provide for their physical, emotional, spiritual and vocational needs. Therefore there are literally hundreds of thousands of families that will be, and are currently, confronted with the same questions of how to best provide for their children with developmental disabilities as they leave the school system and aging parents are no longer able to fill the role of primary care givers.
As state and federal resources for families continue to dwindle, CLCC’s farmstead village will not only fulfill an immediate need by providing a supportive living environment for people with developmental disabilities like my brother. It can also be a space in which people with developmental disabilities themselves are empowered to be self-advocates. It can be a space in which families and other concerned individuals advocate for just and sustainable policies and practices that allow people with developmental disabilities to not only live, but live fully and flourish.
CLCC is important for me as a sibling, because it is one piece of the puzzle toward creating a society in which people with developmental disabilities are valued as full human beings and contributing members of society.