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Disabled adults can lead fruitful lives

This home at 2 Oaktree Drive in the

This home at 2 Oaktree Drive in the Village of the Branch in Smithtown, shown on Thursday, July 13, 2017, is being eyed by the Brookville-based nonprofit Citizen's Options Unlimited as a group home for the developmentally disabled. Worried residents are concerned about safety, parking, traffic, etc. The village has scheduled a September hearing on the issue, and trustees say they will look for options to dissuade the nonprofit from moving in. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Disabled adults can lead fruitful lives

As a former special education administrator and current associate professor in the graduate school of education at Touro College, I’ve spent my career working with school districts, teachers and parents to foster a successful transition for developmentally disabled individuals [“Group-home concerns,” New, July 19].

I’m perplexed by people who do not acknowledge that developmentally disabled adults can live a happy and fruitful life in the framework of who they are as individuals. Instead, people want to judge such individuals from the calculus of a typically developing adult.

Effective school programs teach functional academics in order to enable developmentally disabled adults to live and work independently, albeit with the needed degree of support.

The residents of the Village of Branch are worried about safety, traffic and upkeep at a proposed group home for six developmentally disabled adults. As long as we acknowledge that a life lived is not for us to judge, these adults can achieve a level of success in a workplace, benefit from the rewards of social relationships, and be a part of a community. The most important component for this successful transition is the ability to live and be accepted in a neighborhood.

Unfortunately, as it pertains to people with special needs, Newsday’s article highlights that the more things change, the more they remain the same. It’s hard to fathom the reasons given to deny a residence for these individuals.

Stuart Grossman, East Meadow

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