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The Life Lessons I Learned While Working With Adults With Developmental Disabilities.

Updated on February 28, 2020
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Linda's two favorite passions in life are writing and cooking. Her cooking skills were taught by her dear father when she was a young girl.

Witchypoo Linda

Painted Pumpkin Witch
Painted Pumpkin Witch | Source

Definition of Developmental Disabilities

Definition of Developmental Disabilities according to Wikipedia:

Developmental disability is a diverse group of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments. Developmental disabilities cause individuals living with them many difficulties in certain areas of life, especially in "language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living".

Working as a Resident Counselor

I was a nervous wreck the day I met Kathy and the rest of the gang. Fresh out of college, I had stars in my eyes. I was green as they come as a new upcoming professional in the Social Services field. I was hired as a Resident Counselor, working with adults with developmental disabilities.

I will never forget meeting the seven residents I would spend the next three years of my life with. Before the front door of the group home opened, I had such excitement but also worried I might not have what it takes to be a good Resident Counselor. Maybe they wouldn't like me, what if I couldn't connect with them? So many thoughts but something deep in my soul knew this job was going to change my life, and it did.

Kathy Held a Special Place in my Heart

Each and every person I met at Dell's Place became very special to me and made me a better person. I worked with "adults with developmental disabilities" but believe me, they taught me so much more than I taught them. Everyday, my friends lived and worked "life to the fullest." They were involved in so many social activities and events that most "typical" adults either take for granted or are too afraid or embarrassed to try. Each resident became like family to me but one special lady found a part of my heart that I never knew existed. It would be too difficult to describe all the wonderful attributes that made Kathy so amazing. All that really matters is that Kathy was my friend. We connected in a place that had nothing to do with mental capacity or IQ. We were two women that had a blast together and loved each other unconditionally. Our relationship was one of the most beautiful friendships I've ever had the honor to experience in my life-time.

We loved singing songs in unison as the radio played our favorite tunes; giggling and ribbing each other. Our favorite song during those days was a song by Phil Collins, called, "It's just another lonely day in paradise." Driving home from Buffalo, Minnesota where Kathy and the rest of the gang worked at Functional Industries, we would belt out our new favorite song. Instead of singing "oh, think twice, it's just another lonely day in paradise; Kathy revised it lovingly and eloquently. We sang our better version this way- "oh, sink twice, cause it another lonely day in paradise."

Another favorite memory I have of Kathy was our mutual love for the Halloween season. Every year we attended a Halloween party with staff and residents from neighboring group homes. Everyone put in a lot of thought picking out the perfect costume. I have always been partial to dressing up as a scary witch since I was a young girl, and continued the tradition while working at Dell's Place. Kathy never let me live it down and would give me her beautiful smile as she called out my new given nickname of "Witchypoo Linda." Whenever she got in a silly mood or just felt like teasing me, she would let out a loud giggle followed by my new witch name.

Sadly, Kathy lost a courageous battle with cancer a few years ago but I can still hear her proudly exclaiming, "Witchpoo Linda." I will never forget her and the beautiful smile and spirit that made her so special and made me a better person. You are forever in my heart beautiful Kathy.

The Other Sister

Have you Worked with Adults with Developmental Disabilities

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Linda Rogers


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