Field visit

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Personal Life
Tags: , , , , , ,

I was on a field visit to a so called daily activity enter for developmentally challenged today. Friday was disco day, which meant that their disco room (a room filled with moving lights and music) was occupied by 10-12 people with varying types of learning difficulties. All of them had low cognitive abilities and most of them couldn’t speak and me and my classmate were supposed to observe how they communicated (using pictograms, body language and signs). It was a bit awkward standing in a room observing people without being able to explain to them why you were there and why you were staring at them.

I don’t know if it’s offensive to say that I found them “charming”. I know some people compare learning disabled people to children, and while there are similarities they clearly are adult in other ways. The people I met certainly had childlike traits; I entertained a man by clapping hands and playfully poking him like one would do with a toddler, but since he was full grown it was a higher risk that he’d unintentionally hurt someone. He was very affectionate and hugged both me and my classmate, but he hugged so hard that it almost hurt and with his arms around my neck (something the staff told him not to do). I can see why it’s very draining to work at that centre, especially since they were very understaffed.

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