Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Meet Jacob Beebe

By Ed and Virginia Carraway

JacobBeebeJacob is mentally handicapped, almost nonverbal, and must be attended to most of the time. He is overly friendly to all he meets, which poses some concerns. We hope to place him in a gated community of a State Center (ICF/MR) where he will be safe to wander and socialize daily and safely with many friends, as State Centers provide worship, community centers for residents and locals, swimming pools, basketball, baseball, special Olympics activities, art, animal and gardening therapies, on-site therapists, doctors, nurses, dentists and more.

Such a community would provide for his lifetime safety and daily activities, which are not now available to him in his group home. He loves basketball and will play for hours with others. Presently, however, he and his one roommate have very limited daily activities other than TV, music, an occasional trip to the mall or park. Mostly, he has a couch potato existence.

In Florida we recently obtained legislation to build private gated communities for those with disabilities, much like seniors, golfers and others have gated communities. Settings like this for people with disabilities, however, are objected to by publicly funded agencies like Florida's Agency for Persons with Disbabilities and federally funded Protection and Advocacy. The efforts by these well-funded organizations have made it virtually impossible to honor provide Jacob the option of an inclusive community, which we object to as violating our federal choice rights under Medicaid and Olmstead.