Tonight, I am doing something new! Please take a minute to meet Matt who was kind enough to invite me to join Yellowbrick.me as a collaborator.
Lessons from everyone
Prior to getting my masters in Special Education, I worked as a job coach for a local non-profit that worked with individuals with special needs. During this time I worked both “in house” as well as at various group homes and job sites through-out the community. During my few years at this job, I met and interacted, and learned from the most amazing people.
The individuals I worked with had varying disabilities and varying levels development and communication skills. Working at job sites, busy insurance companies lunch rooms or at local grocery stores, I was always amazed and awed at my friends work ethics, at their willingness to help co-workers and customers. I saw social skills, as well as pride in their work that personally is lacking in many people.
When I worked “in-house” there was one individual that I worked one-on-one with. This one friend had Lesch–Nyhan syndrome (LNS). Along with cognitive disabilities, being non-verbal, LNS has a distinct symptom which includes self-mutilation. When agitated my friend would try to harm himself. He was missing numerous teeth as well as fingers. This is a very difficult disease.
However, what struck me most was my friends smile and his laugh. He loved “communicating” with others and he and I could be silly for hours. Some times when he became agitated I would calm him, he would nestle his head in my shoulder and I would hold him so he could not harm himself. We would stay that way until he was calm and then the smile would return.
I learned so much from him as well as the others I worked with. These friends showed such grace in the face of some major adversity. They put their all into everything they did, regardless of what it was they were doing. For the most part they were ready with a smile, they cared it you seemed upset and they really wanted to communicate. During my time working with these friends, I learned that life is meant to be lived to the fullest, that people should strive to help each other and try to comfort one-another. I learned, put your all into whatever you do.
I have not worked at this job for many years. Yet sometime I will see some of my old friends as I stroll through town with my family. They all remember me and I remember them. They now know my kids and we stop and say a quick hello. I have lived in numerous places and worked in even more and these friends are some of the best I have ever met.
Matt Connell, EdD., MBA is a Co-founder and CEO of www.Yellowbrick.me the online educational community for parents. His undergraduate education focused on the study of sustainable agriculture and energy as well as business. He taught special education to at risk students in the Hartford, CT public school system. His doctoral work was on group emotional intelligence and building teams. He has had the great fortune of traveling extensively; both domestically and internationally. He has had the even better fortune of marrying his amazing wife and having two amazing kids.
Lessons from my daughter is on :
Facebook: Lessons from my daughter
Twitter at @plebrass
Pinterest too: Lessons from my Daughter
Emily has a her own page in the family stories , you can find it here: Emily
Find more about about Cri du Chat syndrome at 5p- Society
Find my first post featured on Yellowbrick.me