Disability Resources, Incorporated began as a task group of Abilene citizens formed in 1983 to study the problems of families faced with long term care for their adult disabled children and to make recommendations regarding alternative care.
The need for the project was documented through surveys, site visits to existing facilities, attendance at national conferences, research of state and federal laws and plans, and family interviews. It was found that when an intellectually disabled individual graduated from school, he/she faced a future in the competitive employment environment which generally did not make allowances for his/her unique needs. Usually, he was not capable of a totally independent lifestyle. Thus, his family was faced with a lifetime of care and the disabled individual was faced with limited opportunities for work, social contacts, and recreation. As parents became older, their capabilities for providing care often diminished and the need for assistance became more acute.
The task group discovered that although a number of residential centers and sheltered workshops existed throughout the nation for youths and severely disabled individuals, residential and vocational services for adult intellectually disabled individuals were almost non-existent. Because of the magnitude of the problems and the widespread need, the task group recommended that a private nonprofit agency be created to plan, develop, and administer a program to address the needs of intellectually disabled adult individuals and their families. This assessment was validated by the 1990 census that showed there were 3 million intellectually disabled people nationwide; 300,000 in Texas; 80% were living with a relative such as a parent. Disability Resources, Incorporated became chartered as a nonprofit corporation in January, 1987. The purpose of DRI is to provide residential care, vocational training and meaningful jobs for intellectually disabled individuals who qualify for the program. Disability Resources is financed by private donations, residential fees, vocational enterprises, and some state funding.
Since 1987, DRI has experienced tremendous growth. The program now has seven residences and a 170 acre main campus with a vocational center, administration center, and a new 17,000 square feet multi-purpose activity center. Yet there is still a great need for the kinds of services we provide. We are working hard to continue to expand in order to be able to meet these needs for these precious individuals.