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Disabled need greater support

I am a person with

autism who lives in Champaign.

Advocating for my rights and the rights of others is important to me. I want Illinois legislators to know that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve to live full lives in their communities.

I am fortunate to have choices about where I work, where I live, the activities I participate in and what my day looks like.

Because I receive state funding, I

work with community service providers to move into my own apartment, secure a job with the University of Illinois, and facilitate advocacy and leadership classes and projects for myself and others with these types of disabilities.

A lot of nondisabled people in Illinois don’t understand that some people with these disabilities are not able to choose these things.

hy? People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are part of their communities, contribute to their communities and are the experts in their own lives. They should have the right to make decisions about their own lives.

The state does not properly fund services for people with disabilities. Some people are on a waiting list for services and funding. I was on the wait list for 12 years.

Some people with disabilities live in state-run institutions and have to wait for services because the state doesn’t have the funding available to help them leave.

If Illinois legislators agree to fully fund community living services for people with these types of disabilities, then we can all choose the lives we want to live.

SARAH DEMISSIE

Champaign

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