Intellectual Disabilities

Recent Articles

Texarkana’s Night to Shine

Texarkana, AR – Social media came alive last night as people started to notice unusually bright lights to the north of the Interstate in Texarkana, Arkansas.  Almost immediately people began to post questions such as “Anyone notice those lights?” and “Anybody know what’s going on in Texarkana with the lights?”  It did not take long for the answers to come flowing in as people responded it’s the “Night to Shine” event at the convention center.  Spotlights could be seen from across town as they cut into the night to announce that the party was about to begin. Several hundred people descended into the Arkansas Convention center between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the evening.  At about 6 p.m., hundreds more began to flood through the doors.  They were met by police officers, the Pleasant Grove Hawks, and Liberty Eylau Football teams, Arkansas High Redline and the Arkansas High Cheerleaders along with dozens more as they entered the room.  The focus of all the volunteers from Football teams to dance teams and church groups and police groups was to welcome a special group of people to a Night to Shine. The annual Night to Shine is sponsored by the local organization of Night to Shine Texarkana  The local organization is part of the larger Night to Shine Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and is designed to allow people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to gather and party in a formal prom styled atmosphere and dance.  Surrounding organizations such as Evergreen Life Services, Opportunities, and many others worked to ensure the people they serve had formal dresses and suits for the evening.  Once they arrived, the Pleasant Grove Hawks and Liberty Eylau players helped escort the ladies and the Arkansas High Redline and Cheerleaders escorted the men onto the dance floor. The party rocked on from 6 p.m. until just after 10 p.m. Friday evening.  Several people noted that parking was full and that cars were parked as far away as the restaurants and other hotels around the area. Continue Reading →

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Intellectual Disabilities and Openings in the ICF/IID Programs in Texas

Despite efforts in Texas to move forward with services for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the state still lingers far behind most others in the nation.  United Cerebral Palsy conducts surveys on Inclusion of the states, and Texas is always near the bottom.  In 2012, out of 51 states and districts surveyed, Texas ranked number 50 at the bottom of the list.  In 2016, that ranking had not changed and the only state lower than Texas was Mississippi.  While the inclusion survey covers several areas such as employment, housing, services, treatment, etc. of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the disheartening fact is that one of the largest, wealthiest states in the union is unable to raise its level of services in a four-year period.  This shows either a lack of concern on the part of the state, a lack of effort, or a combination of both. The state currently operates thirteen “State Supported Living Centers” or SSLCs.  These are the large institutions were once called “State Schools” prior to the reorganization a few years ago.  According to the DADS website, which is currently transitioning into the HHSC website, all thirteen of these facilities have vacancies, or openings to serve people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.  There are currently 376 openings in these facilities according the latest update at the DADS website completed on August 5, 2017. There are 796 facilities in the state of Texas offering Intermediate Care Facilities services for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID).  These facilities unlike the SSLCs are usually smaller six or twelve bed styled facilities in the community.  Many are operated privately by organizations or small corporations.  Some are considered non-profit and some are considered for profit. Out of the 796 facilities, 199 of them have openings of one or more vacancies.  There is currently a total of 415 open beds in ICF/IID programs across the state of Texas. Continue Reading →

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