mentally disabled woman with a second woman and a companion dog, concept learning by animal assisted living
Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz / Shutterstock

ICAN Foundation of Missouri

I want to give a shout out to a group of individuals, not just one:  all my coworkers at ICAN Foundation of Missouri and anyone working with individuals with developmental disabilities. Our population often does not understand what is happening right now. They don’t get the very sudden change in their normal routine. They don’t understand why Friday trips to Pizza Hut buffet are canceled, why can’t we go to the store to shop, why can’t they play on the park equipment, why can’t family visits happen. They are frustrated and bored. It’s up to us as their caregivers to help them through. To replace Easter visits with families with Egg Hunts at home and Easter activities/dinners, it’s up to us to find alternate activities, alternate ways to fill their days to take the sting of isolation away, alternate ways to stay in contact with loved ones because not all of them can handle phone calls and face time. We sometimes get hit out of frustration or other forms of lashing out. It’s up to us to take the blow and keep calm and reassure them their world will return to normal. It’s up to us to hug them when something we see as trivial is taken away through no fault of theirs, and they are in tears saying “never again” because they just don’t understand. Direct Support Staff are one of the helpers right now providing a small sense of routine and reliability for our individuals in a world turned upside down.

From Karla

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