Treating the disabled with Respect

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


Short blog about mental illness and violence

When hearing these gun debates, I can’t help but be saddned that they paint everyone who suffers from mental illness as a dangerous person. Some who are mentally ill are dangerous but certainly not all. The stigma about mental illness in this country is so strong and I only hope people in the coming years can educate themselves instead of making sweeping ignorant generalizations about millions of people; most whom suffer silently but would never hurt anyone. Something to think about…..

Still living at home?

You wanna judge adults who still live at home?. Just remember while prices for apartments, food, insurance has skyrocketed, wages have stayed the same. There used to be a time when you could work 40 hrs a week and afford a roof over your head, not anymore. And unlike the rest of the Western world, we dont have universal healthcare and are forced to spend a large part of our wages paying for insurance and paying the rest out of pocket. And lets not forget that most dont live in areas with public transpiration so we are forced to pay for cars we cant afford and drive to jobs that refuse to pay us a living wage. So before you judge realize that some of us dont have choice but to accept help from our families. We’re not lazy, the odds are stacked against us and the game is rigged.