Today we take a moment to celebrate the life of Robert (Bob) Perske (1927-2016), long time member of the Religion & Spirituality Division of the AAIDD. Early in his career, Bob served as a chaplain at Kansas Neurological Institute, an institution for 250 children and youth with intellectual disabilities. After pastoring there for eleven years, he continued to live a lifetime of writing and advocacy for people with disabilities, especially as they faced courts and legal processes. Where people with IDD may confess to crimes they did not commit simply because they wish to make the police or others happy, Bob tirelessly fought for their rights in his actions and writing.
You can read many of Bob’s articles over at his website, www.robertperske.com. The AAIDD will be offering a special pre-conference workshop on living his legacy forward before the upcoming conference. You can read a tribute from the AAIDD here. A striking quote from this tribute reflects on Bob’s constant reminder that human dignity involves risk. All too often, caregivers and service organizations have “clever ways of building the avoidance of risk into the lives” of people with IDD. Bob drew attention to these practices that stifled their opportunities for personal growth, observing that there can be a “dehumanizing indignity in safety.”
Communitas EST recently released a retrospective newsletter following a life celebration for Bob in Darien, CT – his home for 40 years. We have been given permission to post that newsletter here, which I encourage you to take a look at.
The Religion and Spirituality Division of AAIDD is proud to announce that we are now accepting nominations for the 2017 Henri J.M. Nouwen Award recipient. Nominees are people who reflect the compassion, commitment, ministry and servanthood that
values and esteems people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Award will be presented at the 2017 AAIDD Annual Conference in Hartford, CT, June 26-29.
To learn more about the nomination process or to submit a nomination, click here.
The Rev. Rosemarie Newberry is one of the Division’s recently certified Spiritual Supports Professionals and also the Division’s representative to the Congress on Ministries in Specialized Settings (COMMISS), a collaborative network bringing pastoral care and counseling networks, faith groups that endorse chaplains, and others.
by Deborah Fisher, Psy.D., Strategic Initiatives Consultant to the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) released new regulations governing Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers in 2014. These represent an important shift in the services delivery model. Focused now on Person-Directed Outcomes, these regulations reflect the collective legislative and judicial wisdom of the ADA and Olmstead decision.
The Executive Committee of the Religion and Spirituality Division had a wonderful problem on our hands. For the first time that any of us could remember, we had more than one nominee for the Henri J. Nouwen Award! Five tremendously talented and passionate people were nominated and each one is a role model who inspires others in so many ways. How fortunate our faith communities are to have such devoted and committed individuals serving them in a variety of capacities.