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 Council Position Papers


Self-Determination Imperative



April 13, 2000


To Whom It May Concern:


            The West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council promotes Self-Determination for persons with developmental disabilities and their families.  The Council believes that each person must have FREEDOM to exercise the same rights as all other citizens; AUTHORITY to control the resources that are needed for one’s own support; SUPPORT needed to aid the  individual in leading an inclusive, productive and independent life; and RESPONSIBILITIES including the ordinary obligations of American citizens that allow individuals to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.


            On April 11, 2000 the Developmental Disabilities Council joined other disabilities related advocacy organizations in adopting the following statement on Self-Determination:


The WV Developmental Disabilities Council believes the following principles

must be followed in order for freedom and choice to be realized by all people.

In the domain of Human Rights:

All people have fundamental moral and constitutional rights.

These rights must not be abrogated

merely because a person has a

 mental or physical disability.

Among these fundamental rights is

the right to live in the community of their choice;

to pursue the vocational/educational

goals which are consistent with their talents and preferences; and

to be free to engage in a full range of activities across their

life span including, but not limited to: school, competitive

employment, parenting and retirement.

Individuals must be allowed maximum control

of their available resources in order to live-out their dreams to the

fullest extent.

We all have the right to self-determination.

As human beings we are all inherently valuable.

All people can grow and develop.

All people are entitled to conditions which foster their development.

Such conditions are optimally provided

in community settings which are controlled and determined by the individual.



Laura Helems, Chairperson                                                                            

Steven A. Wiseman, Executive Director