When it comes to people who are developmentally disabled, people often make assumptions about what the people can and cannot do. Unfortunately, many of these assumptions are incorrect.
Earlier this year, a developmentally disabled fireman in Washington state was given the Silver Coin, an award given to members of the fire department for their exemplary service to the public and the department. The 21-year-old volunteer fireman, Ryan LaFave, has Down Syndrome. In July, he helped four children 6-13 years old after a kitchen fire. LaFave called 911 and made sure the children, who were outside when LaFave made the call, did not go back into the building.
While LaFave's efforts are impressive, he is not the only person with developmental disabilities who has provided something great to those around him. Those with developmental disabilities have a lot to offer the world.
Like other people, those with developmental disabilities may share some of your same interests. They may like the same football team as you or share a love of your favorite food. They may also love quoting your favorite movie. Perhaps, the person even shares a love of your favorite song. Forming a friendship and getting to know someone with a developmental disability is as simple as talking to the person. You might be surprised at how quickly you can form a treasured friendship if you are willing to put aside what is perceived as a disability and come to know the person.
Many people with developmental disabilities have achieved things beyond what might be expected of them. Among those most successful in any career field, there is likely someone with a developmental disability. For example, Josh Blue, who won the fourth season of Last Comic Standing, has cerebral palsy. Temple Grandin, who is on the autism spectrum, is a highly successful animal science professor. Knowing that these people achieved success despite being developmentally disabled gives hope to others, both those with and without developmental disabilities, as they struggle to find success.
Of course, these are not the only positive qualities people with developmental disabilities can provide to those around them. If you are interested in learning more about working with those with developmental disabilities, contact us. And, to learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.
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