Village for the developmentally disabled

The 2015 Universal Design International Seminar has obtained written consent from the speaker to publish the summarized and edited content

SPEAKER: KIM Soojung (Seoul Parents of the Handicapped Association of Going Together)

What factors cause family members with children with developmental disabilities to face discomfort in the city and surrounding areas? In order to help spread universal awareness, we must observe and take a deep interest in every sector of society.

Taking the case of the family of a 20-year-old who lost vision in one eye due to ankylosing cerebral palsy and has an autistic disorder. Despite the fact that they face many difficulties, their  opinions are not passed to the community smoothly, due to their difficulties in communication.

Intellectual disability is a blind spot even in the disability-related community when communication is difficult and needs are varied. Children with developmental disabilities spend their childhood in the community and school age in institutions or schools, but after reaching adulthood, they have nowhere to go. Most of them stay at home or move to care facilities. Recently, as the level of needs of people with developmental disabilities increases, the proportion of people who want to stay together in the community is increasing. However, the reality is that there is no place to go for education and no facilities.

- The need for a village community

In order for people with intellectual disabilities to live as members of a community called a village, first, community members need to properly understand developmental disabilities, and make an effort to resolve social prejudice, and society must actively strive for such education. It is also necessary to develop signs that can be easily understood by people with developmental disabilities and to standardize it within the community, as well as a process of guiding and promoting communication methods unique to people with developmental disabilities in a manual. If people with developmental disabilities, as the subject of this process, can participate directly, they will be able to establish their role through education and jobs in the local area, and they will be able to fully establish themselves as members of society.

The young man in his twenties with an intellectual disability, mentioned briefly above, actually enjoys participating in various events such as social problem solving projects and likes social activities with people with developmental disabilities. If you can closely observe disabled people and allow them to express their detailed needs, they will be able to live with self-esteem.

- Universal design with people with developmental disabilities


There are many different types of design and related activities in which people with developmental disabilities can participate. If an environment for active communication and exchange is created by encouraging the participation of people with developmental disabilities who are interested in social activities, they will have the greatest sense of happiness and self-esteem. I hope that the concept and perspective of universal design will serve as an opportunity to increase such contact points in our society.

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