Down Syndrome Awareness
My Special Friends
I would like to introduce you to some very special friends of mine and share some of their stories. These disabled adults have taught me some important lessons on what is important in life. They have also opened my eyes to be more open to caring for people who may be different due to disabilities, and just how their difference makes them the special people they are. And they are special in so many ways. They are loving, caring people like anyone else.
I would like you to meet Jenny Lou, Brenda Jo, Carl, Mattie and many others who have made a difference in my life. Hopefully, their stories may make a difference in how others view them as well.
All of them have some sort of special disability that require them to have constant care by parents, siblings or other relatives. Most are born with disabilities while some have developed disabilities as the result of accidents or seizures. Many have cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, mental challenges & disorders, while others are also physically impaired.
One thing they all have in common is that like you and me, they simply want to be accepted as they are, and loved for who they are.
All names have been changed to protect my friends privacy.
Meet Jenny Lou
I first met Jenny Lou several years ago when I was hired as one of her aides responsible for taking care of her. Jenny Lou is one with physical disabilities and uses a wheelchair. I was fifty five at the time and she was twenty five. Jenny Lou liked to talk and was a very social able person. She had two very important questions to ask me:
- Did I like animals? She did and she had several pets. She wanted to be sure I would take care of her animals also.
- Was I old fashioned? For her, this was important to know that I would respect her taste in entertainment.
The first few months with Jenny Lou there were times we did disagree and I even worried about losing the job. But as time passed, she learned to trust me, a very important issue with her. Gradually, we formed a bond of trust and friendship.
I had been told that Jenny Lou was hard to get along with, was badly spoiled and wanted things her way. I was also told that she never thought she was wrong about anything. Did I find that to be true? Yes, to some degree, she was spoiled. But I came to know a wonderful young lady that was very vulnerable due to being rejected and hurt by so many people in her short life. I came to admire her strength and courage in dealing with very real hardships that sometimes left both of us crying. Many of us take for granted the ability to walk, shower, and do whatever we want to do. Caring for Jenny Lou taught me just how fortunate I am.
In time, things changed for Jenny Lou through circumstances she had no control over and she was moved from her own home to a group home. What a big adjustment that has been for her. Although Jenny Lou is a very social person, her outings are limited, and she is unable to attend a lot of family functions that she would love to attend. Jenny Lou spends most of her time in her room with a television, computer and her cellphone. Few family members ever visit her.
Hattie is a very loving, sociable young lady in her late thirties. Hattie loves animals and is involved with many activities in her community. Hattie is capable of doing most things for herself and has no physical disabilities but has childlike mental abilities which make it easy for others to take advantage of her. She lives in a group home but still visits her parents and an aunt she is close to. However, most of her relatives have reached an age that they can no longer take care of her so although she would prefer to live with family, her family chose the option of a group home.
Update: Hattie's parents have now passed away and Hattie had some trouble dealing with that. She will now always live in a group home with no family to visit her.
Carl is thirty four and has down syndrome. But Carl is unique. He has a great sense of humor and could make me laugh. Carl is very smart also. He has pulled off some pranks that proved to me just how smart he could be. Carl loves reading poetry and enjoys different types of music.
Carl's family realized they would not always be able to take care of him as they got older, so when he was younger they placed him in a group home so that he was better able to adjust to being away from his family. They do still visit him and want him to go home for holidays, but Carl now considers the group home his home.
Meet Brenda Jo
Brenda is a young woman in her late twenties who chooses not to live with her elderly parents who she feels do not understand her. Brenda Jo prefers to be called BJ. She is a quiet person and dislikes it when there is chaos and fighting. Brenda Jo would prefer to live on her own and do as she wants but she is not fully capable of taking care of herself in the outside world where people do take advantage of young women in many ways. Brenda Jo is like any other young woman. She dreams of being in love, having a husband, her own home and children. Unfortunately, that does not seem like a possibility for Brenda Jo.
Children with Down Syndrome
They Have Touched My Heart
So many others with special needs have touched my life and heart. Most have a very loving, caring nature, although there are some with grave mental disorders. Most only wish to be loved, accepted and treated with respect. Sally, Edie, Betsy and Matt. All have their own wonderful personality, likes and dislikes. They simply have different problems and behaviors than most of us have. But I have found that they have the same desire to be loved as the rest of us. So make an effort to get to know someone with special needs. Be their friend and their support. You will be amazed at what they can teach you.
The Other Sister I loved This Movie
L.M. Hosler (author) on December 07, 2013:
I loved working with each one of them and I go to visit them when I can. Some of them are so alone and some things just broke my heart. I was hoping to make people aware of how they are disabled and may need help but they are just like anyone else. Thanks for the comment.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 07, 2013:
Such loving, compassionate profiles! I agree that the physically and mentally challenged can teach us a lot. Among other lessons they teach us to be grateful. Thank you for sharing.