Friday, March 7, 2014

VOR: Refusing to redefine individual choice

This is from featured news on the National Autism Network website:
Meet VOR: An organization that unites by refusing to redefine individual choice

Mar 04 2014

By Tamie Hopp, VOR Director of Government Relations & Advocacy

I am delighted to have this opportunity to introduce you to VOR, an organization that is really like none other.

VOR is a national, nonprofit organization advocating for high quality care and human rights for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

We are the only national advocacy organization that has not redefined terms that other disability advocates have hijacked, like “choice” and “community.” 

For 30 years, VOR has remained true to the families we represent by putting their seasoned insights and perspectives first. To us and them, “choice” really means choice. Our advocacy is driven and guided by an undeniable truth: Individuals and their families know best.

To get to know VOR even better, we are offering a complimentary e-subscription to our publications through June 2015, no strings attached, including our weekly VOR E-News Update and our newsletter, The Voice, published three times a year. Just send your email address to with your request. Your email will never be shared or sold.

You will find VOR unique and refreshing in this day and age of advocacy. We respect individual differences, and reject “broad brush” policies that apply to most individuals with disabilities, but not all.  In our view, such an “all or nothing” approach is not person-centered or individualized and imposes an ideology on the most disabled members of our society and places them at risk.

VOR’s advocacy – our walk to support our talk – is carried out at the state and federal levels by an army of members and volunteers, the vast majority of whom have family members with profound cognitive disabilities.

In state houses, court rooms, Congress and the media, we are doing all we can to help change the conversation away from ideological notions of what is best for all people with developmental disabilities, to what each individual needs.  We challenge laws, seek reforms and help families.

In short, VOR is doing all we can to answer what “Autism Daddy” says is the question many parents of autistic children and adults are afraid to ask, “Where Will He Live When We're Gone?”

VOR demands realistic answers to this question by working to ensure that the system is responsive to all needs, and working in coalition to expand housing and vocational options and challenging efforts at all levels, including our federal government, to eliminate specialized residential, vocation, and support services.

The need is significant. 3.5 million people with I/DD and autism are living with family caregivers (many who are elderly), there have been less than a quarter million out-of‐home residential opportunities funded in nearly 20 years,  and 268,000 Americans with I/DD are on waiting lists for services.

Does it make sense to eliminate specialized service options for people with profound needs because of someone else’s notion of “inclusion” and “community?”

VOR’s vision of the world puts individuals and their families in the driver’s seat, not federally-funded advocates that attempt to speak for you and your family.

VOR is 100% privately –funded, supported entirely by our members, primarily families like you.

We invite you to learn more about VOR at; and don’t forget out our complimentary subscription offer (to get signed up, send your request to

The more advocates we have speaking up in support of individual rights, family rights and common sense, the more successful we will be.


About the National Autism Network:

The National Autism Network is the largest online resource for the autism community providing a social network, nationwide provider directory, events calendar, discussion forums, autism news, expert written content and thousands of resources. Our mission is to unite and empower parents, providers, family members and individuals on the autism spectrum by providing a growing community rich in knowledge and expertise with a common goal of working together to make a difference in the lives of those affected by autism. We are all in this together as one community! 

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