I was at a conference today. As I surveyed the coffee table, I said, disgruntled, "What, no artificial sweetener?" A young adult with Down syndrome next to me said "Oh, yes there is!" and pointed to the container. She did not look particularly high functioning, but she had an air of confidence and self-assurance. Later that day, I heard the head of staff of her group home speak. He spoke about empowering the young adults that he works for. He spoke about teaching them to be self-advocates, having a say in what they want and how they live.
His talk was a breath of fresh air I have been waiting to witness, a sign that my daughter may have hopes not to be buried in a "sweatshop" (opps, workshop…) at age 21. It seems from comments that I overheard today, that several parents are beginning to wake up. Parents are coming to the realization that things need not stay the way it has been up until today.