The Meadows Blog


Michael Crawley - Saturday, March 22, 2014

You are an important person, the result of a complex mixture of characteristics that combine to form your personality. You have both positive and negative qualities, strengths and weaknesses and personal likes and dislikes. This makes you totally unique and completely different from everyone else. You belong to the human family and yet you are an individual. You defy descriptions and labels because you are more than just a “type of person”. Each of us is convinced of our own worth. We each believe that the world would be changed forever if we were not present, and that is certainly true. We all play our respective roles in life, and without us things could not possibly be the same. These are the perceptions we embrace concerning our own lives.

But how accurate are the perceptions we have regarding people with developmental disabilities? To a significant degree, the quality of life they enjoy is based on how they are treated by others. That is why it is important to consider how perceptions that are not true can affect our attitude towards them.

Do we believe they are different?

Do we believe they are childlike?

Do we believe they can’t be understood?

Do we believe they can’t learn?

Do we believe they can’t be part of the community?

Do we believe they can’t be employed?

Do we believe they can’t be independent?

Do we believe they can’t be our friends?

Do we believe they are not equal?

All of these perceptions are wrong because they are not based on facts. They are just assumptions that focus solely on a single aspect of a person’s humanity. They fail to see the complete person who has so much to offer the world. Therefore we must learn to open our minds to the reality of what makes us human. An IQ score is not the determining factor of our value to society. We must look past the labels that are used to unfairly limit the potential of a person. Of the 7 billion human beings on earth, 3% are defined as having a developmental disability. That means that millions of people around the world have a label that follows them all of their lives. But there is so much more to a person than just a diagnosis that is imposed on them by others.

Unfortunately, our perceptions of intellectual challenges are sometimes completely off base. Just because an individual is nonverbal does not mean she doesn’t have thoughts, ideas and opinions she wants to share. We just have to find ways of assisting her in communicating. When an individual cannot count to 25 it doesn’t mean he can’t hold a job. We just need to make the necessary adjustments that allow him to be employed without the pressures of math. An individual who cannot stand for long periods of time can be accommodated so they can work while standing or sitting. That is a simple adaptation that can allow a person to remain productive. If an individual has difficulty understanding proper hygiene, it is not a reason for him to be ridiculed. We just need to assist him in improving his daily living skills so he can avoid unnecessary illness. Whatever particular issues a person faces we can find workable solutions that will help them thrive and enjoy inclusion in their community.  

Each person with a developmental disability is a completely unique individual. They laugh and they cry, they feel joy and pain, and they have achievements and setbacks. They are optimistic and confident as they make plans and reach their goals. They rise up to face challenges, and they are rightfully proud of their accomplishments. They long to be as independent as possible. They want to be accepted for who they are. They want the opportunity to participate in all areas of society, and they want to be appreciated and considered important.

For the world to ever be a fair and just place, all life must be valued. Every person, no matter what their intellectual challenge might be, has the right to pursue happiness, to enjoy good health and to have a sense of purpose in their life. In order for this to occur we must open our hearts and our minds. We must learn to overcome our preconceived notions about how much a disability should be allowed to define a person, and ultimately we must have compassion for everyone.

We all know that life can be difficult under the best of circumstances. It should not be made even more demanding because of the unfounded misconceptions of others. Men and women who happen to have intellectual challenges are more than just their diagnosis. They are real people living real lives. It is up to us to look past the disability and see the humanity of each person. If we will do this the world will change for the better. Certainly those that have suffered for so long from intolerance and neglect will enjoy a dramatic improvement in their lives, but it will also have a positive effect on the rest of us. Nothing but good can come from embracing each individual as a complete human being worthy of understanding and acceptance.

We cannot allow a person with a developmental disability to have their life diminished because of other people’s perceptions.



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Why We Are Not Hiring

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 25, 2018

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The mission of our organization is to provide employment and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities as well as other intellectual and physical challenges. 
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Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 11, 2018

For those of you who are familiar with the Meadows, you know that on this blog we focus primarily on intellectual challenges. That is because each of the men and women we employ has an IQ of 70 or less, which is the state’s criteria of determining a developmental disability. 
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Michael Crawley - Monday, February 05, 2018

As people drive past our building each day it is impossible to get a true sense of what is going on inside our 42,000 sq. ft. facility. That leaves the general public with a natural curiosity about what kind of organization we are and exactly what it is we do. 
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Michael Crawley - Sunday, January 28, 2018

Each one of us believes that our life is important. But, unfortunately, our fixation with our own significance can sometimes lead us to presume that other lives don’t matter as much as ours. We often fall into the trap of believing that we are superior and, therefore, by default, others are inferior. 
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Michael Crawley - Monday, January 22, 2018

Our jobs play an important role in each of our lives. In many ways, they help to define us. For some, it means having the ability to provide for their families. For others, it is a lifelong commitment to a meaningful career. But no matter what the circumstances, our jobs occupy a significant portion of our time. 
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Michael Crawley - Monday, January 15, 2018

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Michael Crawley - Monday, January 08, 2018

When an individual arrives for their first day of work at the Meadows, it is an accomplishment resulting from a lifetime of effort. It’s the culmination of years of commitment and dedication. It’s the achievement of a goal that at times seemed unattainable – but is now a reality. 
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Michael Crawley - Monday, January 01, 2018

Most people would be shocked to learn that three out of every one hundred Americans have a developmental disability and that in the United States there are approximately ten million adults, teens, and children with some type of intellectual challenge. 
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The Year Ahead

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A new year is a time to not only reflect on what has been - but to also anticipate what could lie ahead. 
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The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395