Nature vs. Nurture

The age old debate

of nature versus nurture.

I say its equal!

In my opinion,

Fifty percent each is right.

Though nobody knows!

In response to:

Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #279 Nature&Nurture

by Ronovan

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Nature – God”s gift & Genes

Family picture 1999

Nurture –  family, friends, life events and environment

Elderly Forced to Move Due to Corporate Greed

Elderly Forced to Move Due to Corporate Greed

This story headlined my Seattle CBS news affiliate. Ballard is a suburb of Seattle. We must remember that a society is judged by how well it treats its elderly, disabled and children, its most needy and vulnerable population. This is an example of how terrible we are doing; 48 seniors have to find a new, affordable place to live March 31st because the owner wants to convert these assisted living apartments into regular apartments.  I would appreciate your thoughts on this important issue. Here is the link to the full story:

http://www.kiro7.com/news/local/seattle-assisted-living-residents-told-to-move-because-of-apartment-conversion/490393054

 

graham-johnson_20170202234535642_7219125_ver1-0_640_360

More About Me & My Journey

My religious and spiritual identity has always been Christian. However, my Christian identity has always been a bit eclectic because I do not identify all that strongly with a Christian community or culture because there is something good that I have learned and taken from all of them.   I have gone to a number of churches: Methodist, Baptist Presbyterian, Episcopalian and a number of non-denominational churches. I find that God is in my heart. He is in the forests, in the ocean and bays, in the sunrise or sunset, and in the starry sky. I do not feel Him so much in a building but I find him in the kindness and love of others, and I see Him in the natural beauty around me.

My economic class has always been of the working class background. However, I have never gone hungry, always had a place to rest my head at night, and I usually have had just enough to keep the bills paid. Ironically, my Dad’s small $400.00 monthly income was enough to buy a decent $23.000.00 home forty-two years ago. My old home would be worth about fifteen times that amount today.

I have always been heterosexual with rather traditional values. By that, I do not mean that I would not have compassion for a same sex couple, but I do not feel that I may relate to them as well if the couple had problems or confusion in that area. As a matter of fact, I do not know a huge amount about sexual issues, so that would not be an area that I could speak on with much knowledge. As for gender roles, I believe that each should do whatever they can to help the other. For example, my husband is a good cook, but I am better with the household budget.

P Psychological Maturity I believe that I have always been psychologically mature for my age. My mother expected that of me.

I consider my ethnic identity to be a European mutt because I am a Caucasian Norwegian-German with a pinch of English, Scottish, Irish, and Italian. But, I am Norwegian for the most part because both of my parents have ancestors that came from there. My maternal Grandma had Aunts who still lived there in Oslo until their deaths. My paternal Grandpa was almost born on the ship coming over here from Norway.  He was the first Gilbertson. His parents changed the name from Gulbrunsen to Gilbertson because they felt it was difficult to spell and pronounce.  Gilbertson literally means the son of Gilbert. To illustrate this, my Great-Grandfather’s name was Gilbert. On the major holidays, my mom or Grandma used to make lefse, a potato bread similar to a pita. It is served with butter and/or sugar while some people eat it as a sandwich wrap.  Another holiday food tradition among Scandinavian-Americans is dried fish (normally cod or ling, but haddock and pollock can also be used) that has been brined in lye, and then steamed until it flakes (although it still looks and feels gelatinous). It is typically served with a warm cream or butter sauce and ample amounts of beer. I do not care for it because it shakes like Jello gelatin. My family did without the beer.
While I feel this section is probably meant for discussing developmental challenges due to aging, I have had developmental challenges all my life due to my Cerebral Palsy.  I even introduced myself like this; “Hi, my name is Kathy Baker, and I have Cerebral Palsy.” I felt the need to face all the obvious questions that everybody has when they meet me. It has always been easier to deal with it from the beginning since it is visibly obvious. Besides my spirituality, this has been a huge part of my cultural and personal identity all my life. I am also in the somewhat unique position to be married and have a non-disabled daughter. I am equally a part of the disabled and non-disabled world. I have also known the pain of discrimination, being left out of things as well as being called “a stupid retard.” However, I became used to it.
The first real trauma I had was my parents’ worsening relationship and eventual divorce. This was largely due to alcoholism, infidelity and abuse. My second and worst trauma occurred when my daughter was molested and raped at four years old. I felt so terrible because I did not protect my daughter well enough. He did go to prison because I set him up to be arrested. Child Protective Services (CPS) came to the door; I thought that my daughter may be taken away because the CPS worker may feel that I could not adequately supervise her. Both my husband and I were scared to death!

In my family history, I lived as an only, lonely child until I was eleven years old when my brother was born. Our parents split up about a year later. We stayed with our mother, .and we saw our father once a week if the two of them did not start an argument. Dad would either go home early or not come at all if that happened. After the divorce was final, they both remarried quickly, about two months apart.

Since I have been in a wheelchair or power chair for if I can I can remember, my chairs have been my unique characteristic, something that I alternately blessed and cursed because the chairs gave me a measure of independence, yet not as much as I desired. I now consider the chair a part of me – as much a part of me as my own legs.
I grew up in San Diego County, California near Camp Pendleton, a Naval/Marine military base. Dad and my husband both served there in the Marine Corp. This contributed to making the area quite a melting pot. When I was growing about half of the students were Caucasian. When my daughter was in high school seventeen years, the same district Hispanics were in the majority, and there were issues with gangs in every neighborhood! In many of these areas, Spanish was the primary language.

When my daughter was six years old, we lived in Bossier City, Louisiana for three years. My husband had been raised there. It was quite a culture shock for me because it felt like we had moved to a different country. I had never lived outside of California before. There were people who were still angry about the Civil War; this included my husband’s father. Racism and the nigger were a part of daily life. There was racism against the whites as well. Children tried to take my daughter’s coat right off of her. Her glasses and her shoes were taken during P. E. class. My husband was nearly robbed and beaten on the way to the car after work a few times. Employees began to walk in groups to their cars at night.

My Significant Culture Identities

            My belief in a higher power will help me show compassion and empathy toward my clients. It will help me to put myself in their shoes enough to understand their point of view. Even though I will not be able to overtly share my beliefs with them, I can certainly pray for wisdom so that I will help them to improve their lives. I can ask that they will be receptive to my ideas and suggestions because I only want the best for them. I hope that will be evidenced in my words and actions.

I would imagine that I will have little trouble relating to my clients in terms of economic background either. Many of the disabled and retired people are on a limited fixed income. This should allow me to direct them to helpful resources right away as I know about some of them from my own experiences. Knowledge of what type of resources are in the community is very helpful and will probably save me a great deal of time in researching them.

I view of how much of my ethnic identity has been lost in my own family, I believe I can understand the struggle to assimilate the “new” American culture vs. keeping some and passing down the cultural belief from the home country? How much of the new culture does one learn and incorporate into life? How much of the old culture does one keep or give up? Those are difficult questions to answer, yet they must be answered by each family. In centuries past, it seemed as though the decision was made on the ship on the way here. My great-grandfather changed the family name to assimilate much easier. But, the process of legal immigration was much easier when the U.S. had a much more open door policy toward coming here. In California, I met several families where some members were here legally while others were not; consequently, they had a terrible fear of being found out and deported. This may have a great deal to with how much they assimilate – their legal status. The path to citizenship can take years, and the amount of time varies widely (U.S. Immigration, 2011). My time living in California and Louisiana will help me to understand some of the challenges and differences of ethnic diversity that may face some of my clients. There are things that whites could learn from other cultures as well. For example, African-American or black churches really reflect joy in the worship while we tend to be very quiet and serious.

I can certainly empathize with the physical challenges that face the young couple in our book that have the young boy with Cerebral Palsy since my parents and I dealt with many of the same difficulties. For example, my mother was unable to work because arranging care for me was not an easy task and the cost of it was prohibitive. However, there are more services available than I was a child. I would love to work with such families to offer them hope and support.

My family had enough trauma and dysfunction that I will be able to recognize it and offer more effective ways to cope with it. For example, my mother was molested by the neighbor, but she kept it a secret because she did not think anyone would believe her. I handled it very differently when it happened to my daughter. I knew something was wrong, and she finally told me. I would pass that on to my clients that secrets solve nothing and to trust your child if he or she tells you this because it is seldom made up, especially by a young child. According to the American clients Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2014), the cases of reported cases of molestation are about 80,000 annually, but the real number is much higher. There can be many reasons why the child may not say anything; fear is a major part of it. Without going into personal details, I can share some of the things with my clients what I know about it such as never blaming the child for what happened.

As for privilege, I am a Caucasian-Anglo American and was born and raised here in the U.S. However, I feel that I have enough disadvantages that I am still able to relate well to most of my clients. I am a disabled woman; that makes many types of employment difficult, if not almost impossible. I cannot drive either; this means that I depend on the city transportation system. This keeps me home at night and on holidays because it does not run late at night or on major family holidays.

Visual Identity vs. Self – Identification

            This can be a touchy subject. It has to do with how others see me versus how I see myself. I am a female and I see myself as one. However, many people hear about my Cerebral Palsy or see my power chair, and they incorrectly assume that I am lacking intelligence and/or common sense. I try to prove that assumption is wrong as fast as possible. A few minutes of conversation usually does it without me having to directly address it. If it should come up in a work setting, I will do my best to put them at ease, and I usually succeed at it.

How the RESPECT Model Helps Me

I feel that the RESPECT Model helps both the client and me, the counselor, in the first few meetings most of all. It gives me a guide in which to obtain helpful information. The ten elements or factors will give me an idea of the current state of mind of the client and his or her way of thinking. Based on the responses of the client, I should get some knowledge of what the issues are that causing problems for the client or family. At the same time, I will start to form impressions of strengths and issues that do not need so much work. Does the client or family have any other supports to help get through difficult times?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Ivey, D’Andea, Ivey et al (2002) Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy – A Multicultural 

  Perspective (5th ed) Allen & Bacon Publishing pp. 1-9.

 

 

 

 

 

About Another Country

I had to read this book for 1 of my final assignments for my BA. Since there are readers and writers here, I thought that you may enjoy it.

 

 

A Book Review of Another Country

It is interesting to note that from a historical perspective, growing old is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the 17th century, it was rare that someone lived beyond thirty years. He or she probably did not have wrinkles and gray hair. There were huge advances in medical care in the late 19th and early 20th century and going forward. For example, doctors began learning about germs and started washing their hands.  In spite of these advances, there is no doubt that the oldest in our country were born and grew up in a very different era than in present day. In the 1920’s and 1930’s. Automobiles were not parked at everyone’s home, telephones did not inhabit everybody’s’ kitchen, the family gathered around the radio, and not the television.

If someone had told them that there would be personal computers and mobile smart phones in sixty to seventy years, they may have thought that that person had been into the whiskey or the moonshine too much. The thought of flying across the country or the world would have been a terrifying prospect to most people. Many grew the majority of their own food, unless they lived in the big cities. Although the demographics began to change dramatically in the 1920’s and ‘30’s, more people began to live in cities, as opposed to small farming communities. In order for an area had to contain one to two thousand people. While more people lived on the farm, there tended to be big families with multiple generations needed to work the farm (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.).

More Historical Context

However, history tells that it started many decades before when pioneers left their extended families to travel westward. This coincided with the growth of the industrial revolution. Many men took jobs, largely away from home on the railroads and other places. Farming has always been a hard way to make a living. It is worth noting that the places described in Another Country could also describe small town Wisconsin, or any small Midwestern town. It almost seems like time stands still – there is still a sense of community and neighbor helping neighbor. Most people have moved to the big city these days; only about sixteen percent of the U.S. population lives in a rural area versus thirty percent in 1973 (Haber, 2013). The smaller families, who more often tend to work outside the home, have led to fewer family caregivers over time. In the early 20th century, an urban area meant that the population was greater than 1,000 persons (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.).

How is Old Age Defined?

            Age is usually understood and defined by the numbers, especially when we are young. However, as we turn forty, it starts to become murky. People as young as forty are legally protected against age discrimination. Haber defines young-old as between sixty-five and seventy-five. Old-age is loosely defined as over seventy-five, possibly even eighty-five (Haber, 2013). Conversely, Pipher has two definitions that make an impression on the reader, and both have to do with life circumstances, the death of spouses and the loss of health. It is surprising that finances were not mentioned here as well. Income loss can also play a huge part in older people’s quality of life. If they lost a spouse, got divorced or were never married, women especially tend to have less disposable income. Therefore, they may not have money for leisure activities, regular doctor visits etc. After all, there is still a pay gender gap that persists today. Loss of health or finances can also mean that older persons have to move away from their beloved home (Pipher, 2000).

 

 

Pros and Cons of City Life for the Older Adult

There are undeniable advantages to bigger city life, especially for older people. The biggest one is probably easier access to goods, services and medical care. Larger places have senior activity centers that offer a variety of things to do. The one in Bellingham allow people to participate as young as fifty. They offer a number of health/wellness and other programs: immunizations, dance, exercise, computer skills, current events, and playing games/cards etc. (Bellingham Senior Center, 2016). As pointed out in the book with Gladys and Roger, loneliness can cause as many problems as physical, chronic illness. It definitely often leads to severe depression. Like Roger, Gladys also missed Nell’s companionship. Several things happened to improve her quality of life: a nice girl came in to work as a caregiver, Gladys began to participate in social activities outside the home and Roger along with his new girlfriend began to spend more enjoyable, quality time with her. Another thing that was so important to Gladys was that she was able to cook with her caregiver, and she wanted and needed to pass on years of cooking advice, recipes, and some wisdom along the way.

There is usually at least one hospital and a complex of different medical offices nearby In tiny in a larger city, towns, one may have to travel hundreds of miles for specialty medical care. For example, Bellingham has a hospital, but any acute or specialized care is done in Seattle. That is about ninety miles away. An older person, who may not be able to drive anymore, may have a particularly hard time getting there. In addition, if she/he needs to use assistive equipment, wheelchairs, power chairs or walkers, this makes traveling great distances even more difficult.

In cities, there are more housing options. Caregivers can be hired so that the person can remain in the place that s/he is most familiar and comfortable with – home.  There are assisted living homes: these are a hybrid between living in a skilled nursing facility, nursing home, and living independently. Both of these options are very costly and not covered by Medicare. Nursing homes are often thought as the option of last resort. They can be rather unpleasant places, and as illustrated in the book, the resident has little autonomy; she may not even be able to open a curtain without disturbing the resident on the other side of the room. There are few private rooms, and those that are available are reserved for those few who can afford them. Some of them are trying to do better, making them more like home and less like a hospital. They also need pleasant areas outdoors with trees and flowers. People with carpentry skills can make plant or flower boxes up high enough so that people that use wheelchairs can help with the gardening. There is something almost spiritual and healing about getting the hands into the soil that gives life to flowers and plants; it is very therapeutic for many people. Yet, is possible to be alone in a crowd.

However, a sense of community may well be lost. A rural setting offers opportunities for solitude allows for reflection and life review. There is also something to be said for the rural country life and its far slower pace. The noisy hustle and bustle does not exist. Housing tends to be cheaper as well, so it may be worth it to be farther away.

What is Cohousing?

            As more baby boomers age, there is a need to come up with innovative ideas to take care of them in the future. Cohousing is a possible answer. These home communities are designed to provide both privacy and community. Each resident may own or share a home, but they have common areas. One such area may be a community house. All the residents share chores like housework, laundry, lawn mowing, driving and cooking. Cohousing developments usually have a communal garden. The cohousing option in Bellingham is quite a bit costlier than the average cost of housing for the area. The median cost of a home today is $330,000 in Bellingham (Zillow, 2016). The cohousing option in Bellingham ranges from $350,000-$560,000. It also makes very clear that it is not a housing option for people who need “therapeutic care.” However, this neighborhood is for all ages, not only the elders (Bellingham Cohousing, 2016). There is also a requirement to devote twenty hours per month to community activities and committee meetings. It is also necessary to give up some level of autonomy because the majority rules when it comes to decisions involving the community. For example, should pesticides be used on the garden? The idea behind cohousing is good, but it is expensive to get old – too expensive like the other options for many older people.

The Gift of Hospice

            It is not an overstatement to say that that hospice is a blessing. It is very difficult to make wise decisions in the midst of grief. The hospice program gives comfort, palliative care for the person in the last six months, (as estimated by a physician) of life. It is not uncommon for family members to disagree about how care should be handled. The hospice nurse will act as an advocate for the ill person. The physician and the nurse collaborate together for the care of the patient. The wonderful thing about hospice is that the person does not have to go to the doctor’s office or to the hospital nearly as often. The hospice team will guide the family through the most difficult choices that involve the end of life. It is especially hard to know what the loved wants if he or she does not express the wishes in an advance directive, living will or last will and testament (Haber, 2013). Hospice was involved with the care of my grandparents and my mother. It was a blessing each time because it takes some of the burden of decision making away while giving comfort to my loved ones.

 

The More Personal Side – Relationships

The heart and soul of the book, however, is its personal stories – poignant, heartwarming and Kleenex worthy stories. It is impossible to read the book without being flooded with this author’s own personal memories. The guilt and the uncertainty are all very real. When away from the loved one, it is easy to feel guilty for not doing enough to help.  It is a heart breaking agony to watch a once vibrant person leave this earth inch by inch. The book begins with Mary Pipher talking about the mixed feelings she experienced when her own mother was going through the last days of her life. It was a wonderful, touching and difficult time for her. Every moment became more precious than the last because it may be the last one, at least for a long time, (if one believes in an afterlife). Most everyone who has lost loved ones can relate to her experience, and/or relate to someone in the book (Pipher, 2000).

The end of life can be something quite different in some families Fractures in relationships that have existed and have been strained for years between family members can crumble with the stress of a sick and needy loved one. This was illustrated in the case of Granny Zella Mae, daughter Beverly and her teenage daughter Abby. Beverly had a lot of stress in her work environment, and she has been in the middle of her aging, head strong mother and her equally stubborn daughter. It is clear that this three generational living arrangement is not working out well for anyone in the home.

Zella and Abby did not even come to the next therapy session; they were so angry about it. However, Beverly and Ms. Pipher came up with a plan to find a nice assisted living situation for Zella. This turned out to be a win-win situation for all three of them because Beverly did not have the stress of being a caregiver to her aging and critical mother, yet she visited her daily. Abby even visited her Grandma. Zella was in a situation where she was getting better care and not complaining as much (Pipher, 2000).

Another example is the older father dying of tongue cancer. The mother needed help, but none of the adult children had the free time to devote to his care, except the gay daughter who was a freelance writer. Her family had made her an outcast after she came out as gay, but she did keep in touch with one or two of her sisters. When she learned of her father’s cancer, she returned home to help her parents and care for her dad. It took some time for all of the family members to come around, but they saw the love and compassion she showed to their father. The fact that she was gay no longer mattered. Her father said that he was glad that cancer had brought them together again. It is tragic that it took cancer and the father’s impending passing to bring the family back together once again, but it would have been even more tragic if the chance for the family to mend its hurts had ever come at all. The daughter/sister had a great capacity for empathy and forgiveness (Pipher, 2000).

Concluding and Personal Thoughts

            This book was a beautiful one, but it was very hard to get through it. There are parts that reminded me of my Grandfather who was taken by cancer in 1985 when he was only sixty years old. He did not even make to the young-old stage. He faced it with grace, dignity and courage. Ironically, Grandma was a nurse in the oncology unit. I do not know how she was able to manage dealing with cancer, illness and death both at work and at home. Grandpa made sure to tell us how much he loved us. Just as Pipher talked about, Grandma felt guilty about going to work yet she had to keep the insurance going to pay for his care and medicine, otherwise, she would have taken a leave of absence. This was an impossible choice. Mom and her sister took turns caring for him.

There were sections that reminded me of Dad. He was taken in 2010 by COPD. I wish that he and my step-mother had wanted hospice to come, but I do not think Dad could face his own mortality. He made no end of life plans. My step-mother made all of the decisions; she did not allow my brother or I to be a part of the decision making process, even though I offered my help in the past. Like some in the book, I was uncertain as to what to do. He and my mother were both in the young-old category. Neither of them made it seventy.

Mom was the only one who did not pass away at home, but she died alone in a nursing home. She was debilitated by strokes, diabetes and vascular dementia. This made her even more stubborn and irritable than she was before her chronic conditions. She would not listen to anybody, unless that person agreed with her. Like Dad, she had made no type of will, although she did have an advance directive. It was up to my brother and I to make after death decisions for her. I was angry with her for leaving it to us. Grandma died this year; she was the only one to make it to old-old age, ninety-one years old, and die of natural causes. Aunt Rose lived with her.

However, Pipher gives me and every other reader permission to have our feelings because I and most everyone else are doing the best we can under very trying circumstances. As long as we handle old-age and its pitfalls with love and empathy, we should not beat ourselves about it. She poses interesting different definitions regarding old age. Does a death of a spouse or disease make a person age? It depends on a person’s perspective. I have always had Cerebral Palsy, CP. It and other comorbidities have always been a part of my daily life. Lack of mobility is something that is usually associated with older age, but I have always had to ask for help with ADL’s, Activities of Daily Living. I am used to it. Now, it is time to answer the question that this paper began with; what happens that transforms anyone from the young-old to the old-old? Losing health is serious, but losing people that I love is worse. However, reasonable minds may disagree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Bellingham Cohousing (2014) Aging in cohousing Retrieved from

http://www.cohousing.org/aging

 

Bellingham Senior Activities Center (2016) Health & wellness Retrieved from

http://wccoa.org/index.php/Home/

 

Haber, D. (2013). Health promotion and aging: Practical applications for health

professionals (6th ed.). New York: Springer Pub.

 

Pipher, M. B. (2000). Another country: Navigating the emotional terrain of our elders. New

York: Riverhead Books.

 

  1. S. Census Bureau, (n.d.) Urban and rural areas Retrieved from

https://www.census.gov/history/www/programs/geography/urban_and_rural_areas.html

 

Zillow (2016) Bellingham home prices & values Retrie

My Pictorial Examples of Inclusion

3rd gradeSenior '83hs 80's

3rd grade class trip                                            83 Senior photo                      A.S.B. senior photo

 

Inclusion is the act of including someone or something. That does very little to help us to truly understand what it means, so what does include really mean? Here are some definitions that make it a bit clearer: comprise or make part of a whole set. A second definition is to allow somebody to share in an activity or privilege (Google, 2016). An activity or a privilege does not begin to describe the way that I, and other disabled people want to be included. We want and deserve to be included, as much as humanly possible, in every aspect of our own lives! For almost all my life, I have accepted exclusion as a fact of my life. After all, I have thought that people and the laws were making progress toward allowing me and others with disabilities to have more freedom and equality, weren’t they?

I have gained so much from all my educational experiences. It always makes me sad and angry that those who came just before me did not get the same opportunities that I have; that is why I value education so much; it is a privilege to me. I am still working on the goal of employment. This is more difficult than school, my own glass ceiling

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men {and women} are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men {and women} deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

As we just celebrated America’s birthday, it’s 240th, how far have we come in nearly two and a half centuries? We, as people with disabilities, are people with the same natural rights to life, liberty workplace and the pursuit of happiness – just like everyone else. In my opinion, we have so much farther to go!

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. To say I was elated that day would be an understatement! If I could have leapt for joy, I would have done it. At long last, there were laws on the books that protected me and others from discrimination!  I felt that in only a few short years that I would be able to join the workforce. I tried to go back to school in 1999. I was treated just as I was before the ADA passed, obstacle after obstacle was thrown in my way. If I enrolled, I would not be allowed to take a full schedule of classes because I had no caregiver.

Fast forward to the present – 2016. I started an internship in order to complete my BA online program. I was finally finishing college. The agency’s motto and mission statements seemed to mirror my own: “Opportunities for Everyone.” It also had its roots in Christianity, something else I appreciated. Of all organizations, this place would surely respect me, my skills and the ADA laws. By now, I had less than a year before I would get my Bachelor’s in Human Services. To be completely fair and honest, I was told in the beginning that there was no possibility of a paid position, however, I was given no reason for this. I thought that perhaps all that I had to do was impress them with my passion, empathy, education and skills. Some wanted me to stay, one was willing to modify the job so that I would be able to stay, but the agency administration would not go along with the idea. The “Opportunities for Everyone” slogan was/is a complete fallacy; this was/is equally true of the mission statement: “Empowering individuals with disabilities to enhance their quality of life.”

The ADA says this: “If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, the ADA protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. Under the ADA, you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” However, agencies can and do get around the law by adding job requirements that many people with disabilities cannot do: have a driver’s license, have the ability to lift 30-50 pounds, have the ability to stand for long periods etc. During my internship, I worked in the main office for the supported living division. I was not alone with clients. I did task analysis, behavior analysis, writing functional and positive behavioral support assessments. I also took part in writing goals and working one on one with the client.  However, it was stated in an email that I did nothing that anyone else could not do and nothing that I did was worthy of a paid position. I could be not alone with clients, could not learn to perform CPR and other home care aid requirements, including driving.

Thank God that Jesus did not feel this way. “Matthew 20:16 New Living Translation (NLT) states:

16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Here is another example that means a great deal to me.  I will give some background to clarify my point. A man with leprosy approached Jesus. Everyone was encouraging not to waste a moment on this poor man. There was not a single individual that wanted anything to do with this man because he was diseased and demon possessed. Yet, Jesus ignored all of those around him and spoke to him with love, respect and dignity: “Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. [a] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” (Matthew 8: 1-4.).

Lord, please let people see the gifts and talents that You have blessed me with, allow their eyes to clearly see my abilities, not my dis-ability {Emphasis intended}. I also ask this for anyone else in similar circumstances. In Your name, Amen.

 

BA GRAD 7 2016