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Research Article  |   September 2005
The Olmstead Decision: Landmark Opportunity or Platform for Rhetoric? Our Collective Responsibility for Full Community Participation
Author Affiliations
  • Rita P. Fleming Cottrell, MA, OTL, FAOTA, University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Correspondence: 69 Laudaten Way, Warwick, New York 10990; rpcot@yahoo.com
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Departments / The Issue Is
Research Article   |   September 2005
The Olmstead Decision: Landmark Opportunity or Platform for Rhetoric? Our Collective Responsibility for Full Community Participation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 561-568. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.561
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 561-568. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.561
Abstract

Occupational therapy’s core values and founding beliefs reflect a commitment to the attainment of a self-directed life that enables full community participation. The reality that this desired outcome remains unattainable for millions of persons with disabilities due to the institutional bias of current public policies cannot be ignored. The Supreme Court’s landmark Olmstead decision provides a judicial mechanism to right this fundamental injustice. The executive branch’s response to the Olmstead decision, the New Freedom Initiative (NFI), offers the potential to finally end the societal segregation of persons with disabilities. Occupational therapy practitioners share a moral collective responsibility to advocate for the major systemic changes that will be needed to fully implement the NFI and achieve the promise of the Olmstead decision. By joining with the disability rights movement, occupational therapy practitioners can become effective activists to help persons with disabilities attain full participation in life.