Congratulations on your tenth birthday! You asked me to comment on the past and also on the Review that has just begun in NAMHI. For my own perspective, I think that NAMHI is quite a unique organisation. The diversity in its membership allows it to tap into the expertise of the many disciples involved with, and servicing, learning disability. The main aim of NAMHI is as relevant today as it was when the Association was first founded in 1961 ‘to promote the general welfare of mentally handicapped persons’.
In holding true to those guidelines, NAMHI has won high esteem at local, national and international level.
My suggestion for a review of NAMHI is not, therefore, to change these aims, but rather to make sure that these aims and the needs of the people we serve are being met and serviced in the best possible way. It may be that we should change our focus in order to better meet what will be required of us in a world of accelerating change. I want NAMHI to face into these changes with the skills and confidence that will allow it to fill the role for which it was set up.
The needs of those with an intellectually disability in our community have not yet been met. For this reason there is, at the threshold of the twenty-first century and for the foreseeable future, a paramount requirement for a strong NAMHI to speak with knowledge and authority on behalf of this group.