Developmentally Disabled Community
The social problem I chose to address was neglect and abuse within the developmentally disabled community, with an emphasis on adult consumers living in group homes. This is such a vulnerable population and they depend on others to help them with daily living. There are consumers who are verbal and some who are non-verbal. There are individuals with autism and some with down syndrome. These individuals have intellectual disabilities and are cognitively impaired. The special needs population is often patronized and segregated in the communities and they should be integrated into the community more without people making them feel like they don’t belong.
The activity I chose to do was a workshop/training on neglect and abuse in the group home and provided information on signs and prevention. The staff was also able to learn how to report and provided with the numbers to call to report. The purpose of this activity was to bring awareness and to encourage staff to be mindful of the way they handle the individuals. There was recently an incident in the group home where a staff lacked frustration tolerance and struggled with verbal de-escalation. While she struggled to redirect the consumer verbally, she used an item to hit the client and an investigation happened. The staff was fired, rightfully so, and the division of the developmentally disabled pursued the case. Training and workshops such as this, are imperative to gain information and to convey the seriousness of these matters.
The participants actively participated. They asked questions and were extremely engaged. They appeared to be interested and some even volunteered to speak on personal experiences. At first, the staff was reluctant to speak up because of the topic, but I saw staff take notes and share their thoughts. I was in awe at the support I received and the way the staff responded to the information provided. I even incorporated a role-play activity and the staff was compliant and engaged.
I consider this to be activism because individuals with intellectual disabilities are a marginalized group, and most of them cannot advocate for themselves. In recent years there is more awareness for autism, however, it’s just the beginning. There is a lot more to learn about this community and it has to start with psychoeducation people can receive in training, ads, community programs, TV, etc. it has to be talked about more and brought to the forefront. Neglect and abuse happens often in facilities. Many consumers grow old and no longer have parents to advocate for them, so they have no choice but to put their trust in the facilities that become their caregivers. The state is in charge of making sure these individuals have adequate care, and everyone involved with their care should be held accountable to assure their safety and well-being comes first.
The state and agency guidelines should always be followed. However, there is a lot of under-reporting that takes place in facilities. That can be due to a few reasons, fear, not knowing how to report, or they’re the perpetrator. The more people know the signs to possibly detect neglect and abuse the better for the consumers.