Those unfamiliar with The Meadows are often curious about the men and women we employ. That is understandable, and we are happy to provide an overview of our operation and the adults who work with us.
But before we get started, here is some general information about intellectual and physical challenges.
Many folks are surprised to learn that individuals with disabilities comprise the largest minority in the United States. Roughly 16% of the population, or about 54 million Americans, have some type of disability.
It is also worth noting that being a person with a disability is a “minority” that any of us could join at any point in our lives. And, of course, that possibility dramatically increases as we age. An accident, a head injury or a medical crisis could all result in a significant change in our intellectual or physical capabilities.
With that in mind, here is a partial list of the types of disabilities our employees have had in recent years.
But there is an important point to be made concerning this collection of challenges.
Nothing on the list tells you anything about who they really are.
To give you a better understanding of the person, we need to focus on their humanity and not their diagnoses.
Let’s take a closer look at our employees.
*** Each man or woman with an intellectual challenge learns in their own way. In our vocational setting, guidance is tailored to the individual. One person might respond best to spoken instructions, while another could prefer a visual explanation. At our facility, it is not a “one size fits all” approach. We are happy to work with each employee in a way that makes them comfortable and allows them to understand their job with the least amount of stress possible.
*** Although a person has speech issues, that does not alter their desire to express themselves. In our work environment, we make every effort to ensure that each person’s thoughts, ideas, and opinions are understood and respected. Life is to be shared, and communication is one of the crucial ways human beings connect. But how a person communicates is not what matters. It’s what they have to say that counts.
*** An individual may have mobility issues, but they want to be as active as possible. Currently we have employees who use walkers and some who wear leg braces to assist them in maintaining their balance. In the past, we’ve also had individuals who used manual and electric wheelchairs. But how a man or woman moves does not affect their desire to participate fully in life, and that includes being employed in a safe and supportive setting.
*** Each adult we hire has their own unique personality. People often assume that because two individuals have the same diagnosis, they are the same in every other way. That’s like believing someone who drives a truck is like every other truck driver. You don’t want to be compared to anyone because there is no one else on earth like you. The same applies to every person, whether they have a disability or not.
The truth is, when it comes to the men and women we employ, they are no different than any other adult holding down a job. They constantly learn and refine their abilities while gaining valuable experience. They take on additional responsibilities as they become more confident. They develop new skills and enjoy the pride of earning a paycheck as they experience the dignity of work.
But the most important thing to know about our employees is that their success is the direct result of their commitment, dedication, and willingness to consistently give their best effort. Their positive attitudes coupled with a strong work ethic make us proud to have them in our organization.
Because, after all, what more could an employer ask?