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Developmental Disabilities

Stone Belt

Photo: Courtesy Stone Belt

Adults with disabilities can work in the community with support from groups like Stone Belt.

Tens of thousands of Hoosiers have “developmental disabilities”, defined as a group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments manifesting before age 22.

This week on Noon Edition, we’ll sit down with members of the community who work with developmentally disabled adults and children.

Joining us in studio will be Fern Boncheck, of PALS, a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with disabilities; Leslie Green, Executive Director of Stone Belt; and Dr. Erna Alant, Professor and Otting Chair of the Special Education Department in the IU School of Education. Dr. Alant’s work focuses on educating people on augmentative and alternative communication.

Currently in Indiana, 22,000 people with developmental disabilities are on a Medicaid waiver waiting list. This as Governor Daniels plans to cut Medicaid funding in the next two-year state budget. Even at the current funding level, people can be on the list for more than ten years.

Monroe County waiver advocates say significant cuts already have been made in state funding for people with developmental disabilities.

Stone Belt Executive Director Leslie Green says her organization has been able to survive some of those cuts and make changes to lessen the impact on the people it supports. But she says there’s not much more they can do, so she hopes this legislative session will not result in any more cuts.

“We have established in Indiana some priority waivers for people who are living with family members over the age of 80,” she says, “if you can imagine that. We’ve tried to make them a priority for receiving services. But there’s a lot of need out there that’s just not being met at this point.”

Without support from the waiver, many parents of children with developmental disabilities have to pay for services out-of-pocket.

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