In my Great Problems Seminar class at WPI we were tasked with researching and presenting our findings on a significant problem facing our society. My team of four decided to look into the issues facing children with developmental disabilities and the challenges facing their families. After conducting research on the issue we decided to dive deeper into the support systems for families with developmentally disabled children in the state of Florida.
I was lucky enough to participate in an interview with Kristi a mother of a son with severe non verbal autism and cognitive disabilities. While I had already researched the issue hearing her story gave a perspective no level of research could provide. Hearing her struggles with day to day life as a single mother holding down a job and taking care of her to children while being unable to step away from her son when he is not in school. Additionally she described the experience of a parent trying to secure support for their developmentally disabled child. She explained how the system often times has support resources but isn’t able to functionally utilize them.
I learned about the lack of political awareness around issues facing the developmentally disabled. As one of the most marginalized minorities in our country the lack of public focus results in politicians cutting budgets and diverting resources because the majority of the public doesn’t consider the issue when electing their representatives.
My team was the runner up for the people’s choice award at the end of semester symposium. You can learn more about our findings here.