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50th anniversary of the Polish Society for the Mentally Handicapped

People with intellectual disability are rightful citizens of the Republic of Poland. They enjoy all the human rights and freedoms on equal terms with others. Although intellectual disability causes a number of problems in everyday life, it is only one of the elements of their identity and may not hinder their full participation in social life in any way.

People with intellectual disability find it difficult to understand, learn and create new ideas. They need more time to learn new actions and remember new information. As such, they require a varied support in education, work, decision making and everyday life. People with intellectual disability who receive adequate support may fully exercise their rights and perform their duties. Thanks to improving the skills they have acquired, they become more self-reliant and independent. Integrating people with intellectual disability into mainstream life of the society depends on each and every one of us. The integration process will be the more effective, the more we understand the needs of such people and acknowledge their right to dignity and autonomy.

People with intellectual disability make up about 1% of Poland’s population. In over 400 centres run by 123 branches of the Polish Association for Persons with Mental Handicap, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, children, young people and adults with intellectual disability get access to adequate education, rehabilitation, therapy as well as social and vocational activation. They develop their artistic talents, thus contributing to national culture and art. They use modern technologies and improve their social competence as far as possible. They participate in elections, voice opinions on issues they find important and demand respecting their due human and civil rights.

Barbara Abramowska
Polish Association for Persons with Mental Handicap