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Week 11

Final Impression
Intro Developmental Disabilities
Professor Adams

Matthew J. Struthers
March 17, 2019

I started off this course not certain what to expect. Through the course though, I found

that I really knew more about mentally and intellectually disabled people than I thought I did.

However, it did not mean that I understood many of the details, which is something that I already

knew about myself.

When I think about working with disabled individuals is that there will still be a stigma,

even for me. Part of it will always be the visible difference between the disabled and non-

disabled individuals. It is always momentary for me, but the initial “shock” probably will never

go away.

I really found that the details about how some of the various disabled people appear

helpful. Since I started working with students who are high-risk and behaviorally challenged, I

this very helpful. Being able to watch behaviors and manners is extremely helpful.

A lot of the last few weeks’ content has applied to various members in my family already.

My dad’s brother spent the last 4-5 months of his life spiraling out of cognition with dementia. It

was hard to see because he was the type of person who would sit and do puzzles of all sorts, all

day long. (Jigsaw, Crosswords, Sudoku, etc.) Finally, it’s starting to go downhill for another

family too. She was diagnosed with the initial stages of dementia several years ago. When my

sister got a phone call at midnight about some mis-planted flowers, I knew it was the beginning.

Getting back to this class and life in general, I will always advocate for everyone to be

involved in their own decisions as much as possible. It irks when I think about how a person is

left out of decisions of their own life. When I was driving for South Lane Wheels, I primarily
Week 11
Final Impression
serviced elderly and disabled individuals from personal or group homes to appointments. For the

individuals in wheelchairs, I really tried hard to look them in the eye and greet them. I forgot to

do this one day with a rider. When I picked her up for the return trip, I took time to look her in

the eye and apologized for not noticing how nice she looked. Her face brightened right up and

thanked me for taking the time to notice her. Our conversation then turned to how most people

in the public don’t take time to actually notice people around them, especially people in

wheelchairs or who are disabled.