By Mollie Colon and Benjamin Ray

Social services in Las Vegas have changed for people with developmental disabilities over the years. One of the biggest changes that we learned about is within in the CCSD school system. Before 1980 all students with disabilities were segregated from their peers regardless if their disability was physical or intellectual. If a student wanted to try a mainstream classroom they had to specifically request it, and it wasn’t always approved.

Now every attempt is made to mainstream all students. Another big change is that people are becoming more aware of the need for more inclusive programs and opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Supported employment programs like those through Transition Services offer progressive jobs in small businesses that move away from the “sheltered workshop” approach and offer many opportunities to be involved in the community.What hasn’t changed is the constant need for funding, better transportation, higher paying jobs, and committing our community to having high expectations for people with developmental disabilities. As a community we need to work together to continue improving social services for all.