I just walked out of my last day at internship. I’m really emotional right now because it been a dream of mine for a long time to help the disabled and make a difference and that’s what I felt I did; it’s an amazing feeling to give back. They gave me this card where the clients signed saying how much they are going to miss me. Someone gave me this big hug and said “David, I am to miss you so much” Wow, that meant a lot to me. I’m sad to leave but I think I’ve found God’s calling for me. This has been a life changing experience and while I’m sad; I can smile knowing that with all of that anxiety and fear; I got through it in one piece.
I didn’t realize it was teacher appreciation day. Thank you to all of my friends who are teachers and educators; you are making a difference this world. I am so grateful to all the teachers who were so kind and patient with me throughout the years; the one’s who never gave up on me; they believed in me and I wish I could tell them someday what they meant to me. So thank you teachers; you may never know the impact you have on your students but believe me; you are doing a great service. Feel free to correct my grammar.
I want to preface this blog by saying I am not currently working in the disability field; I don’t have a degree; I’m not an author, a medical professional; I myself have disabilities but have never been a caretaker. But I am in school learning about developmental disabilities and I am passionate about those who have challenges and struggles; I want to help. I hope to get my degree very soon and find a job in the helping field; where I can make a difference in the lives of the disabled. Right now I am an internship where supporter workers bring their clients; we have classes, activities, and a lot of the time they sit around and play board games or arts and crafts; they have a lot of fun; it doesn’t always feel productive though and find myself getting frustrated at those working for the agency; never with the clients. I found immediately that I have knack for relating to the clients; I joke with them; I help with classes and just enjoy their company; we are always happy to see each other. I am keenly aware of my tone of voice and how I come across to them. I try really hard to relate to them on their level and talk to them like I would anyone else; obviously you set boundaries; but for the most part I treat them no differently than the staff; which may or may not be a problem. But I think it’s important to treat the disabled as you would want to be treated; because I have disabilities I can sense when someone is talking down to me; they may speak slower because they think I can’t understand; what they don’t realize is my hearing isn’t great. They may give me a funny look while they are walking by me. Some I think have mistaken me for a client which to be honest is pretty insulting; maybe I shouldn’t be insulted but it’s how I feel. And a lot of times people are just rude and dismissive; not just towards me but to another worker who has disabilities as well. I can tell that they talk down to her; or get annoyed with her easily; and she just takes it in stride but it upsets me. I was listening to a supporter worker with her client; asking the same question in a voice that you would talk to a toddle in and I all of sudden figured out the word I was thinking of : patronizing. It isn’t rudeness per see but a condescending attitude that these workers have; as if the clients are children; their children. I hear workers bark orders sometimes; SIT DOWN!! WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TODAY, COME ON!!” and they repeat they same question over and over. What I love the most is that when a client may say or talk about something that the worker doesn’t understand ( it seems that is a lot that the workers don’t understand) they always reply in this patronizing tone; ooook and then walk away. Damn, does that shit get on my nerves. For me personally, I try to probe. What does the client mean by that? If he is talking about a movie or a song I don’t understand; I actually google so I can have an idea of what they are saying. I try to meet themon their level. They aren’t kids; they are grown ass adults and I treat them as such. Hell, I’ve even gotten the oook response at times I just shake my head at their ignorance. I know what it’s liked to be talked down and I would never do that to anyone else. Sometimes I wish only disabled people worked in this field because they seem to be the only ones who truly understand; they can reach out to this community without feeling superior. I really feel I can do this and frankly I feel it’s unfair that these people have these jobs when they don’t how to properly communication with those who have developmental disabilities. I am glad that I am seeing this; I know exactly what not to do when I am in this field; so I guess I’m grateful for that
I have always had the fear of failing at everything; sometimes it feels like no matter how hard I try; I’m bound to fail. My outlook is has been skewed towards the negative and maybe that contributes some of my failures in life. Today I realized that I needed more hours for my internship than I realized and my first thought was oh my god; I am going to fail this semester; I can’t do anything right; I AM A FAILURE. I think my anxiety got the better of me; that catastrophic thinking. I started thinking about it was unfair that I worked almost full time and struggled to get enough time off to show up at my internship. I complained about the little 20 year old kids in my class that didn’t have to work like I did; I was just in an anxious state. I stopped to get lunch somewhere because I hadn’t eaten all day and suddenly a thought came to me in my head. I just thought ” You are going to be ok; God is taking care of you” I said to myself that I will what I can to make this happen but if it’s doesn’t work out; I did the best I could under the circumstances; I put an 110% effort with a supervisor at the agency who was less than willing to work with me; I had a job that didn’t give me the days off I needed, I was sick and missed some time; so saying it has been difficult has been an understatement. But having faith in God has calmed me and I have faith things are going to work out the way they are supposed to if I do the footwork. I went home; calculated my hours and figured I could make it; I just have really put in the hours and with a lot of hard work; I will make it; I am determined. But I am trying learn that everyone has failed at something in their lives; whether it be a class or a marriage or a career; we have all been through that. And failure doesn’t mean you yourself are a failure; no human being is a failure. Failing is a part of life and we all go through it. And there have been times where I lost a job and felt like my whole world had fallen apart. Little did I know it would lead me back to school with dreams of a career helping the disabled. I am hoping that I can succeed and trying to have a successful attitude; but I also prepared for this not to work out in my favor. Either will I’ll get back up; dust myself off and keep on keepin on.
Thanks for listening,
It’s Autism awareness month and I wanted to share my experience working with those who have developmental disabilities. All my life I have been passionate about helping the disabled; it’s a population I have always enjoyed being around. In fact some of the nicest; least non-judgmental people I have known have been disabled in one sense or another. It doesn’t take much to be their friend; you just need to be kind and understanding and have to ability to talk to them on their level. I think that because I have disabilities myself and was in special needs classes for most of my schooling; I am more sensitive about it because I see myself as part of that community. Like a lot of disabled people I had trouble in social settings; making friends and building relationships. I also had difficulties finding and maintaining work and even more problems getting the understanding of my supervisors and co-workers. Just getting through the work day was a struggle; because I’d run to the bathroom every 5 minutes ( I have physical issues as well) or lose my cool at inappropriate times. It felt like I had to work 3 times as hard and I still wasn’t as good as the person working alongside me; it was frustrating to the point where I had a breakdown and had no choice but to leave work and was unemployed for several years; feeling hopeless. One day a thought occurred to me that maybe I should go to school and finish my degree but I had no idea what I wanted to do. I remembered a friend of mine worked with people who had disabilities and I thought to myself: Hey I can do that. I looked through the program catalog and found a developmental disabilities degree program and before you know it; I was signed up and headed to class. I remember being really nervous because I kept thinking that I am disabled myself; how can I help others who are disabled if I am struggling so much? I soon found out I loved the classes and did exceptionally well because I was so passionate about this field. I may not have been able to express myself in the class the way I wanted to; but I shone through my writing; the papers I wrote about developmental disabilities. I found a few teachers and counselors who believed in me and encouraged me to continue. After a few years and a lot of apprehension; I started my internship at an agency that serves the needs of the developmentally disabled in our community; I was really nervous. I am actually on my second round of internship at the same agency. To be honest; getting along with my supervisor and some of the other workers can be challenging. I find some of them to be rude and not willing to help me or guide me; I feel left on my own. But what I do take comfort is the fact that I love working with the clients. I love to see them laugh and the smiles they give when they see me. That is my skill; the ability to connect with them maybe in a way that other workers can’t. I don’t bark orders at them and I speak to them at their own level; I never talk to the client as if I am above them. I try to be their friend and maybe that isn’t my role but I don’t know how to be anything but myself. Yesterday I saw a client who has down syndrome who I hadn’t see since I was last there ( about 2 years) He ran up to me gave me a high five; and said “DAVID!! I can’t believe it; you’re here; where you been? I missed you, man”. That brightened my whole day and that’s the reason I show up; to make a difference. So when did I feel dismissed or not understood by staff I can take comfort in the fact that I care deeply about the clients and that my kindness is my gift. I know God placed me here for a reason and he doesn’t want to me to give up on my dreams. It may be tough but I will continue my education so I can get a job in this field; I am determined.
Thanks for listening,Dave.
Me voy comenzar de esribir en espanol porque necesito la practica y tengo ganas de hablar el espanol si esta bien. No hay tema, no es un poema solo es mis sentmientos. Y tambien no uso un diccionario de espanol o google translate asi que mi espanol no es perfecto. Bueno te dire una historia sobre el razon que hablo dos idiomas ( obviamente ingles es mi idioma primero) Soy Cubano Americano pero cuando era un nino nadie me ensenaron el espanol porque no podia oir bien y tenia problemas aprendiendo de hablar. Mi abuela no hablabla ni sigueria una palabra en ingles. Asi que nunca tenia el opritunidad de hablar con ella directamete que me hacia triste. Cuando estaba en mis 20’s decedia de ensenarme el espanol. yo miraba television en espanol y escuchaba el radio ( celia cruz) y leia libros en espanol. lo que podia encontrar. estaba determinada de aprender espanol uno palabra en un tiempo ( at a time) Aprendi los dias de la semana, los numeros, los meses. Muchas cosas. Estaba aprediendo muchas palabras todo el tiempo. Entounces un para de anos despues tome una clases de espanol en la universidad y hice muy bien. Mis grades ( como se dice?) eran muy bueno y me encantaba de hablar el espanol. Ahora trato de hablarlo mucho porque es imporant para conocer mi cultura por el idioma. Yo se que mi espanol no es tan bueno pero es mejor que nada. Gracias para escuchar.