Happiness should be main focus

Remember the kid back in grade school who had Down’s syndrome, autism or some other form of developmental delay and sat in the back of the classroom with an aide by his side? 

He wasn’t able to perform academically at the same level you could, but he was able to socially work a room of people better than you could. 

He learned those skills by being in the classroom, watching you and everyone around you and paying attention.

Do you ever wonder what happened to him? 

I’m blessed to have a job where I actually know the answers to those questions. 

I work for a company that services adults who have special needs and disabilities. Most of the clients I work for suffer some type of developmental delay or have Down’s syndrome or autism. 

Back in grade school, I never thought about what would happen to those students when we left the fifth grade. 

The whole point of going to school is learning life skills and gaining an education that will further you in life so that one day you can be successful on your own as an adult. 

These students that we used to know aren’t capable of these things. 

Their brains won’t let them retain information so much as to remember to brush their teeth or comb their hair, in some cases. I work with adults who have no family left. I work with adults who can’t perform simple daily tasks on their own, like hygiene, preparing meals or taking their meds. They depend on me and other staff to do things and to be there for them. 

Even though they can’t do those things, they can still talk and play and laugh and enjoy their days. They are happy.

They got these skills because most of them went to schools around here. 

Around here, students with special needs are included in classrooms with students who don’t have special needs. This way they can learn and develop those social skills they need to acquire so  they can be successful and happy in adulthood. 

What I’m trying to say is that I’m glad to live in a community where these people who are restricted so much by their special needs and handicaps are so easily accepted. These people whom I work with every day, on most days don’t know that they are different. They’re just … happy. 

I can’t imagine what kind of job I would have if these adults hadn’t been so integrated into our lives as children. Most of them don’t have the experiences they had in school anymore. Most of them only venture out of their homes once or twice a week now. 

It haunts me to think that these people I work for could have missed having the experiences that they did and learn the skills that they did because believe it or not, some don’t in other places around the country. 

What’s important is not that my clients are handicapped in any way, shape or form, but that they are happy and they are happy because of what you taught them back in the fifth grade. 

Kudos to you.