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Friday, May 24, 2019

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, Drake University’s Disability Action and Awareness Community partnered with Iowans with Disabilities in Action and the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council to offer a free showing of “Intelligent Lives,” a film by Dan Habib, on the University campus. This 70-minute feature film traced the lives of three individuals living with cognitive disabilities and their journey to self-sufficiency. This event was free and open to the public and offered an opportunity for parents or family members, direct support professionals or caregivers, and persons living with a disability to come together in a relaxed atmosphere.

The evening continued with a focused discussion among peers and the community regarding inclusivity and resources available in our area for those living with developmental disabilities.
Important takeaways from the film, said by attendees, included: “There is a need for more conversation about the options students living with developmental disabilities have for higher education and inclusion.” “The film demonstrated person-centered planning with natural supports.” “Early intervention is key for individuals with developmental disabilities.” “Intellectual competency testing is far outdated.”

David Mitchell, IVRS administrator, attended the screening and had a few things to say regarding mandatory I.Q. testing for those with developmental disabilities as it relates to his work. “I.Q. tests don't tell the full story. In vocational rehab, we do require labels for diagnosis, and many programs require it for eligibility and funding purposes, but it does not necessarily correlate as an indicator for success (in any way you want to define it), independence or employment outcome,” said Mitchell. He went on to note, “They spoke openly regarding their joys and challenges, especially in dealing with external factors such as education, human services and professional resources. Many of the families had children not yet old enough to be accessing vocational rehabilitation services, but the need was clear for high expectations and the availability of resources to provide a belief in employment and independence. Parents did not want to hear ‘can't, won't, not possible.’ Instead, parents were open to hearing ‘opportunities, possibilities, expectations and steps on the journey.’

“Intelligent Lives” will live on through Iowans with Disabilities in Action, who will add it to the State Sweep movement beginning Summer 2019. ID Action is hitting the road and will visit all 99 counties in Iowa over the next two years. Unfortunately, state-level organizations are perceived as inaccessible to those living with disabilities outside the Des Moines area. The organization is determined to change that perception by visiting communities throughout Iowa to increase awareness of how individuals with disabilities and partners can rely on the organization to achieve their goals.

Over the last 16 years, Iowans with Disabilities in Action has developed a wide variety of resources and information to help Iowans become more engaged and effective advocates for change. These resources are free and available to anyone who is interested. Iowans with Disabilities in Action continually develops and creates new resources based on the needs of Iowans. The organization’s goal is to come away from each visit with a better sense of what living in various communities is like with a disability — the good and the bad — and what resources individuals may need to live as independently as possible.

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 Intelligent Lives Screening