They Are Humans Too
What if every time you walked out your front door you had crowds of people staring at you, whispering? What if you were told that you do not belong at common venues? Imagine watching the world around you talking about you, calling you names, laughing at you, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. This is what it is like for each and every one of my clients when we step out of our vans and buses. Actually, this is what it is even like when they are in the vans and buses we own because of our logos on them. I work as a direct care giver to adults and children with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.
When we were raised we were taught if you had nothing nice to say, you said nothing at all. Yet we still have grown adults, in this day and age, that gawk and ridicule people with IDD. Where have our manners gone? So what someone might not look like you, how cares if they cannot communicate like you? They still have feelings, they still know what the word “retarded” means. It is still a word that can shatter their hearts, as it shatters mine. I see every day, in and out how the public can treat them, and how it will affect them.
It does not matter where we go, even such a family oriented place as the zoo. On an occasion, we had what looked to be a three generation family, they stared at us, they pointed, and they even had the nerve to come up to us to say something. They told my staff and myself that our clients did not belong or deserve to be there. That it was not appropriate to bring them out in public. Though those specific clients may not look to be observant, they are. They could need years of therapy from the one word you chose to use or from the one look you chose to give.
So when will our world learn to get over their fears of the unknown? When can adults with IDD walk through a crowded room and not have the room go to silence and get stared at? I do not know when or if that day will ever come. I can only...