The social model of disability and the neurodiversity paradigm can help show problems and discrimination. More importantly, the social model and neurodiversity can design solutions to make life better for people with developmental and learning disabilities. In his investigation of neurodiversity, educator and researcher Thomas Armstrong (2010) advocates for what he calls “niche construction”—what disability studies scholars would call removing societal barriers. Armstrong writes that for neurodivergent people, “instead of always having to adapt to a static, fixed, or ‘normal’ environment, it’s possible for them (and their caregivers) to alter the environment to match the needs of their own unique brains” (2010, p. 18).
Advocates with developmental disability have paved a path toward better tomorrows for all disabled people. When it comes to disability rights, there is still far to go for people with developmental disability. From inclusion and accessibility in the community and access to supports for a self-directed life to shifting language around disability and fighting violence against disabled people, there are many fights ahead. The self-advocacy movement has proven that change can be made and fights can be won.