Thread: Working with handicaped people
08-26-2002, 08:31 AM #1
Working with handicaped people
I was offered a job working with handicaped people/children. Any of you guys do this or have done this?? Any experiences?? Please tell me!
08-26-2002, 11:00 AM #2
The first thing I'd suggest is that you drop the word handicapped from your vocabulary. People with disabilities find the term insulting.
I don't mean to come off as a politically correct asshole. But I've heard that many times from gimps and cripples.
(Yes, that was a sick joke, but it's cool. Even people with disabilities have a sense of humor.)
Seriously, the whole key to working with people with disabilities - whether physical, mental, or developmental (or, very often, a combination) - is not to stigmatize them; society does that to them every day.
That said, the work can be both challenging and rewarding. I started out as a counselor at an Easter Seal Society summer camp many years ago, working with kids who had significant physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida. Many of them were brighter than their so-called normal counterparts, but they have to take a lot of crap from the peers who don't understand their condition.
The first thing you should do is take the time to learn about the specific conditions of the people you would be working with. Unlike the days when I started out in this gig, today people of all ages are proactive patients who often end up knowing more about their conditions than their own doctors, having a proactive voice in their treatment and therapy - knowledge is power. Also, as a staff member, you should develop skills in anger management - it will help you and your patients/clients cope with what to do when y'all get pissed off.
Don't deny the negative (or, as one deaf comedian put it, "Hearing impaired? Fuck that - I'm deaf!"), but do reinforce the positive. Don't do everything for them, but do help them do as much as they can for themselves. And don't be a bleeding heart - with rights come responsibilities, and neither they nor you should have to take shit from each other. Accept that you'll be used, but learn not to allow yourself to be abused - especially by your co-workers and superiors (as in, "Give them a hand, they'll want an arm.").
Normalization is everything. One experience from my early Easter Seal days still sticks with me. I was pushing a girl with cerebral palsy and mild mental retardation on a playground swing. "Higher," she kept saying, and we went higher. Then, as she hit her highest point, she let go of the swing, flew through the air, and fell flat on her ass (fortunately, on grass rather than cement). Three of us rushed up to her, expecting tears, but she was laughing her ass off - the kid had never felt so normal. (But don't try this at home.)
Most of all, don't take everything too seriously. There is a very high burnout rate in human services, so never give up a break, and never take your work home with you. Yesterday I counseled a blind and mute (but not deaf) woman, two schizophrenics, two guys with mental retardation, a half-dozen alcoholics and addicts, and a pedophile - just another day at the nut house (also known as the looney bin or funny farm - and yes, that's what the patients call it, too). And I respect every one of them - yes, even the pedophile, because that's what treatment is about.
08-26-2002, 12:06 PM #3Anabolic Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
i was just working this weekend
it's so rewarding.my mother has an organization in NJ called Sailhabilitation and we take adults and children w/ physical and neurological limitations sailing!!it's wonderful to do it for them.they enjoy having people around them since many are confined to their homes w/ little family or friends.i just took 60+ people to the lakewood blueclaws game on saturday night. for those who don't know, it's the phillies minor league team.don't worry they didn't knwo either, BUT that's not the point!!they enjoyed themselves and were given the opportunity to go out, watch a game, have dinner, and mingle w/ other people. if you have the time to do it, DO IT!!!i honestly think they make me feel better than i make them feel!!!
see, partyboy isn't such a dick after all,hahaha
08-26-2002, 03:06 PM #4
Son of a gun . . . Partyboy isn't such a dick after all.
08-27-2002, 09:54 AM #5Anabolic Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
that would be great if you came down!!!we are having a community sail for the people in island heights(like 15 mins from sleazside on sept 15th).it's our last event most likely for the season. my job is to transport the people in wheelchairs and such onto the boats. they need guys who can life people in their chairs and stuff.some of the chairs weigh like 900 lbs so it usually take two or three people to do it.it's a fun day.laid back.you can go out on the boats if you want.i usually stay in the marina though so i can help people coming back into shore, but you're more than welcome to go out on the boats, hang out, eat , drink, enjoy yourself. i'll get you the info if you wanna help out.it's usually a few hours.maybe 4-5, but it's a nice day.and it's close to sleazeside if you wanna go get some girls afterwards!shit, i just ruined a nice post by adding that,haha
08-27-2002, 03:49 PM #6
I would like to thank you all for responding to my post.Your comments made me make an appointment with the guy who asked me if I was interested. Later this week we will talk about the possibillities for me at this place were he is a manger. ( foreign scumm so forgive my poor spelling). I will keep you posted for sure!
Sorry to hear about the virus your sister caught. But from what I read in your post, you, your sister and your family are making the best of the situation. Stay positive and I wish you all strenght in many ways!
08-27-2002, 06:04 PM #7
How is the word "handicapped" any worse than disabilities? I can't see one as being more offensive, nor a reason why it would be.
08-28-2002, 03:14 AM #8
wow good job guys great of you to volenteer your time for that
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