No one wants to be alone in the world, and yet helping foster healthy relationships for people with disabilities is something that is often overlooked.
Two recent articles from major news sites examine the benefits and the challenges of loving relationships involving people with intellectual disabilities. In ?A Life Defined Not By Disability, But By Love,? National Public Radio examines how Bonnie Brown, a Philadelphia woman with intellectual disability, raised her daughter, Myra, and how this relationship profoundly affects both. Like any parent, Bonnie encourages her daughter in school, is a regular attendee at parent-teacher conferences, and is proud to
see her daughter thrive.
And the feeling is mutual. ?I want you to know that even though our situation is unique, I?m happy that I am in it because I am happy that I am with you,? Myra says about her mother in the article.
When persons with intellectual disabilities fall in love and seek marriage, challenges can arise, from society at large, and even from within the family. The Washington Post?s Ellen McCarthy examines the story of Bill Ott and Shelley Belgard, a now-married couple, each with an intellectual disability, who fell in love in high school, and faced numerous struggles in trying to make a life together. According to the article, Bill and Shelley took their time developing their relationship, moving in together, and even seeing a couples? counselor. This finally convinced Shelley?s mother that theirs was a good match. ?I wanted to make sure this was the right person for Shelley,? she is quoted as saying.
The DirectCourse/College of Direct Support (CDS) curriculum has a new course that addresses such issues: You?ve Got a Friend: Supporting Family Connections, Friends, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. This four-part course is essential for a direct support professional (DSP), to help facilitate and encourage healthy relationships, perhaps one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Family members
and self-learners will also benefit from this thought-provoking course.
For more information on the College of Direct Support, please visit: http://directcourseonline.com/directsupport/about/
For more information about the You?ve Got a Friend course, please visit: http://directcourseonline.com/directsupport/core-curriculum/#YouveGotaFriend
National Public Radio article: http://www.npr.org/2013/02/08/171382156/a-life-defined-not-by-disability-but-lovefather/daughter
Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/liveblog/wp/2013/02/07/when-bill-met-shelley-no-disability-could-keep-them-apart/