People with an intellectual or developmental disability want and deserve real opportunities to live a good life as contributing members of New Brunswick society. People want to be fully included in school and in their communities, have access to the supports and financial resources needed to live in a home of their own, be gainfully employed, have access to affordable transportation, and provided quality health services when they are not well. This briefing note calls on New Brunswick’s political parties to adopt meaningful platform commitments that will help people to achieve these goals.
An intellectual disability is a disability that is characterized by difficulties with intellectual functions such as reasoning, learning and problem solving. People may also have difficulties with day-to-day practical skills and communication. An intellectual disability occurs before age 18 and for many people is present from birth.
Developmental disability is a broader term that includes intellectual disability but also other types of disabilities that usually show up in childhood. Developmental disabilities are long-term disabilities that can be intellectual or physical or both. There are a number of developmental disabilities. Some of the most common are Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.
NBACL/ANBIC is a provincial non-profit organization that supports people with an intellectual or developmental disability and their families (in many situations, mothers are the primary caregivers). It is estimated that 22,000 New Brunswickers have an intellectual or developmental disability. These New Brunswick citizens (and their extended family members and friends) want to see positive change that will ensure that people have opportunities to live a good life on an equal basis with others.
In preparation for the 2018 provincial election campaign, NBACL/ANBIC is asking political parties to adopt platform commitments that will support the full inclusion of persons with an intellectual or developmental disability in our communities.
New Brunswick has made progress on many disability issues and on policies that support the full inclusion of people with an intellectual or developmental disability. But more work and commitment are required to make New Brunswick the best jurisdiction to live in Canada for people with a disability. Movement on disability issues has been minimal in recent years and the time for further action is now.