Saturday, October 30, 2010

Intellectual Disabilities

For the sake  of people who are bombarding the people closest to me with questions about what I am doing here in Australia..

I volunteer at a disability centre. Intellectual disability centre. I have been doing this twice a week for several months now, and I am happy doing it. It is something I look forward to most days, and apart from having to wake up at a ridiculous hours of the morning on the days that I go to the centre, I actually don’t mind waking up. On the rare occasions that I dread having made this commitment, I regret feeling so the moment I walk into the centre and see the smile on their faces.

You see, I’ve become accustomed to them. I have to admit that right at the beginning I was a little bit apprehensive about this decision, having to work with people who not only have the mental age of about 2-5 years old, (some of them even have the emotional control of a 2 year old), but these people look a little bit different. I’m not saying like, Down Syndrome different. We’re talking about 50+ year old kids who can’t control their saliva and take care of their hygiene, heck, some have problems eating like the way we do. What worried me most was, communication. Some cannot even understand simple words, and some of them cannot speak properly. I was worried I might not be able to cope with their indifference.

Fortunately, they welcomed me into their group unceremoniously, but warmly. Over the months, I’ve seen their attitudes change from ‘not preferring me’ to ‘shouting my name from over the other room so that I help them out with something’. For example, one of the girls, who previously did not like me touching her things at all was calling for me when she saw me pass by the room she was in, and even though she knew I was not scheduled to assist in that class that morning, she insisted to wish me good morning before turning back to her own work. Awww. She remembered my name, and I didn’t even know when she had started learning it.

And this is why, I fell in love with going to the centre. The boyf’s getting sick of the fact that I cannot stop talking about it, and the people whom I work with, and the people whom I help with. Twice a week, I am reminded why I am taking this difficult road.. Most of my peers have started on their postgraduate pursue, and I am still stuck with no proper plans for the future until a university accepts me into their Clinical Psychology program.

I know that I’m saying might give you the impression that I’m really doing good, that I am indeed helping those who needs it, who needs me (a girl who’s got nothing but a better mental functioning), but really, it’s the other way around. I am not ashamed to admit that I am doing this for selfish reason. Because in truth, it is I who need them. Every time I walk into the centre, I feel the innocent love that only they are able to produce and I am once again reminded why I want to do this. I am passionate about helping them because the radiation of their innocence give me  the satisfaction that no other job could possibly provide me with.

I want to be able to help them, and the likes of them. And I want to be able to assist those whose kids are for whatever reason, like that. I want to be able to help those who are not able to help themselves. And I believe that, especially those with higher mental functioning, there is a way to bring them back into society. But there is no way I can do this without having that damn degree.

Every career pathway is about education these days, and unfortunately, I picked the road less taken.

All I ask from you, are prayers and hope. I know that someday I will get accepted into a university here in Melbourne, because I am a very good student. I just have a lesser background because I am not locally educated. So, keep me in your prayers if you’re religious and if you’re not, keep me in your hopes and dreams.. And in return, I promise to make it my mission to continue serving and helping the intellectually disabled. I feel that calling and I know it is my vocation. So, help me God.

(I have heaps for photos of them, but for their privacy’s sake and the centre’s policy, I cannot post them here.

But I’ll be happy to show them to family and friends).


1 comment:

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