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I find it very ironic how some people voice their opinions. Consider this: Joe (not his real name) gave George (not his real name, either) a verbal thrashing that cut deep into who he was, because he was making fun of his friend who had disabilities. (Wouldn’t it seem that Joe’s respect for others is conditional?) And, yet, this is what happens all too often. And the problem WILL NOT go away. The only thing that will change are the people. The disrespect -couched in conditional respect- will continue.
This pic on the left might not be able to be fully comprehended by someone in the throws of suicidal thought, but for my readers who are thinking clearly, who have hope even in the midst of frustrations…this post is for you.
Suicide has claimed another life, this time it is one of our most beloved comedians, Robin Williams. And, while I am saddened by his death, I am more saddened that he found no more hope for which to live.
At one point in his life, some say he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior but that he was still looking for more. And his “looking for more” is what I want to address in this post.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
As I continue my journey working and volunteering with those who have disabilities, I am continually noting that the biggest problem these folks face is acceptance for who they are.
That is too low, and from my experience I think that, at least, part of the reason is FEAR.
Talk about exploding STIGMA of disabilities out of the water!
This young man, David -and I get to call him my friend! (how cool is that)- is about to enter college this Fall.
As you can gather, David has disabilities.
But, let me tell you what else David has.
- Wonderfully supportive parents
- A community that has supported him AND HIS FAMILY throughout the years.
- Joni and Friends of New England who is bursting with pride for all that David has done
- a Lord and Savior who loves him incredibly much.
Today, I want/need to highlight an article stating, yet another, crime against one who is disabled. The mother continues to look for her son’s attackers!
I have many friends who are disabled, and if this happened to anyone of them, I would be undone if not for the grace of God.
Stories like this stir us to action, and I am hoping/praying that sound judgment will accompany any action towards justice. While not knowing ‘why’ this happened, we may surmise it to be a hate crime, and the irony of hate crimes is that they can easily breed more hate towards the perpetrators of the crime.
Defining People or Listing Symptoms
If you read through such manuals as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders you will find phrases like this to describe how an individual might be presenting himself before a mental health professional.
Yet… to one too many people, that individual is lost. That individual’s personality, that individual’s dreams, that individual’s hurts, and his desires can so e a s i l y become lost in our rat race of doing our jobs.
…feed by lambs.
Jesus (John 21:15 New Century Version)
The lessons I daily teach, at times, seem to be so quickly dismissed.
And, I leave the group while wondering if what I taught was in anyway understood.
Like the lesson on the social skill of developing empathy: “Why”, I asked myself, “don’t they treat their peers more kindly?”
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit;
for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
I had some wonderful talks with people who have disabilities at camp, yet too often I leave a conversation with a person who has cognitive difficulties feeling incomplete. It is not that I did not pour my self into the discussion or the brief encounter, but the fact is that the person showed to me that he had difficulty processing what we had talked about.
I hope that you have been taking something away from my camp posts
Today, I want to talk about how we can -and, I believe, should- learn from others, specifically, those for whom we care.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
Support can be Icky
Icky is a word that I don’t use much, but it pretty much accurately describes what I want to share today.
Lessons for Caregivers
As promised in my previous post, I wanted to share my thoughts on my camp experience of working with individuals who are disabled in hopes that these stories can help you to be a better care giver.
So, one lesson that I learned is this…
Never in my life would I have imagined that I would be here or doing what I am doing. Let me reword that: “Never in my life would I had imagined that I GET TO DO what I am now doing”
I know that other caregivers look upon their work as something that they GET TO DO, also. But, I also realize that there are days when caregivers do all they can do to just get by.
One of the biggest stereotypes that I have encountered as I have been working with individuals who have disabilities is that ‘they are all the same': they are broken, and if they get lucky, someone can fix em.
This type of pidgeon-holeing is a slap in the face to them and the rest of humanity as it continues to foster short-sightedness in the eye of the observer by way of their assuming that that person is a cog in the system that when rotated enough times in a certain direction will produce predictable results. And thus, we have one counseling session after another, one doctor’s appointment after another, one set of medications after another…
Over the last couple of months the New England team for the Joni and Friends Family Retreats have been working at a feverish pitch to get our first camp of the season ready to go for it June 9 opening.
Meet Coco: A lady who is both deaf and blind. While our world attempts to make people with disabilities into second class citizens, just listen to what Coco has to say:
In January of 2009, I backpacked through Europe alone, visiting and giving lectures in England, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and touring Ireland, Scotland and London.
How could a young lady do this ALONE with a double disability if she allowed the naysayers of the world to have their way? Though Coco admits to having gone through trials, her attitude towards them are that some are good, some bad, and some challenging. Clearly, Coco has broken free from the chains of negative stereotyping the world places upon her.