By Executive Director, Roberta Dunn
It was in a college psychology class that I was first introduced to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the five tier triangle that identified the meeting of individual needs to the ability to experience individual growth; the idea that one built upon another in a hierarchy. It sat well with me then and still does, but all these years later, I can’t help but apply this to the experience of the many people in my life that experience disability, including my own son. Too often, in our journey in disability, the emphasis of needs as being “special needs” somehow diverts pursuit of Maslow’s five basic needs. It launches us in focused pursuit, and possible acquisition, of meeting one’s physiological and safety needs, but often stops there. And while advocacy efforts have made strides in securing access – to school, community, etc., simply being able to access something falls short of belonging. Is that the end of growth for friends and family members experiencing disability – basic needs met in a safe place that they are able to access? No way!
Let’s change the narrative, let’s flip this scenario on its head. January 20th is the MLK National Day of Service, a great opportunity for you and your child/young adult to plug into community; a great opportunity to celebrate what makes us unique – our strengths, our gifts and our talents. Visit the website and find a site near you where your family can shine!
Remember a time when you felt esteem, pride, success – a time you felt your personal best. Wasn’t it amazing?! Everyone, including our children experiencing disability, deserve opportunities to experience that. Let’s make it happen this MLK Day of Service.
We look forward to hearing your stories. And remember, our communities are stronger and more vibrant when they are inclusive!