Imagine A Different Reality
As you read this, you are, hopefully, leading a relatively comfortable life. If you’re fortunate, you are working full-time while also engaging in leisure activities that you enjoy. You are able to travel whenever and wherever you want, and you have the financial resources to meet your basic needs with enough extra to save for the future. You most likely rent or own a home, and you probably have at least one vehicle and possibly two.
You are active in the community and accepted as an equal member of society. Consequently, your rights as a citizen are respected. No doubt you have freedom of choice in almost every area of your life.
However, millions of Americans live with a very different reality. They are men and women who have a developmental disability.
The following is a list of some of the challenges these individuals experience. Please take a moment and try to imagine what your life would be like if -
* You could not safely live independently
* You could not drive a car
* You had serious health conditions that required constant monitoring
* You had significant issues with your memory
* You had difficulty following verbal instructions
* You struggled to focus for long periods of time
* You were not able to control your emotions
* You could not speak clearly
* You did not understand money
* You could not read labels on medicine
* You were not able to write your name
* You did not know how to tie your shoes
Unfortunately, too many of us make the mistake of taking our lives for granted, and we forget to be grateful for all of the positive things, big and small, that make up our daily existence. We fall into the trap of assuming that, for the foreseeable future, we will continue to be blessed with good health that allows us to be active and live the way we want.
But consider this fact. The challenges listed above are not always present from birth. That means, in a heartbeat, any of us could have an accident or medical crisis that would change our reality forever. For the rest of your life, you could be living with some of the same issues.
Of course, as you tried to adjust to your new circumstances, you would not want people to think of you differently. You would not want them to focus exclusively on your disability. You would not want to be defined only by what you could no longer do. You would not want to be thought of as being less.
It is the same for individuals who are born with their challenges.
People with developmental disabilities are just that. They are people. They have the same hopes and dreams as anyone else. They often succeed, but sometimes they fail. They can be happy or sad. They are not trying to be inspiring, nor are they someone to pity. They are flesh and blood human beings trying to live their best lives, and they each deserve the opportunity to learn, grow, and reach their potential. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is through meaningful employment.
Because having a job can change someone’s life in so many positive ways, the Meadows is proud to hire those who have so much to offer if they are only given the chance.
Most of the men and women who work with us have at least a few of the listed challenges, and some have more than others. So, from outward appearances, their lives might look very different from yours. But it is important to remember that in the ways that really matter, we are all the same.
Whatever our particular situation in life, it has no bearing on our humanity because we all have challenges of one kind or another. It’s how we react to them that makes the difference.
The adults we are privileged to employ face their challenges with perseverance and dedication. They are committed to doing their best as they display a tremendous work ethic while performing their jobs. They do not let their disability stand in their way or hold them back. They continue to live their life to the fullest, and they enjoy being the person they are.
And even though their reality may indeed seem different from yours – it is a reality these men and women embrace with grace, determination, and courage.