On Sunday we had the pleasure of hanging out with the kids who were spending a weekend respit at Camp Baker. These weekends away allow their caretakers some much-needed free time, as one can imagine how hard it is to take care of someone with developmental disabilities every day. It was really rewarding to be able to connect with these kids. At first, many of them were difficult to understand because of their disabilities. You could tell they were trying to express themselves, so we tried really hard to figure out what they were saying. When we finally did, it was an amazing feeling for us and the kids.
I think one of the more difficult aspects we faced was dealing with the non-verbal kids and adults. They’re mostly unable to speak, but they’re still very much cognitivelyt aware of their surroundings. It’s like their stuck in their own minds. However, when we were able to communicate through hand motions and visual cues, it was incredible. Suddenly it became obvious as to what they wanted, and we were usually happy to oblige.
Today, we worked with the adult day support program. We were all apprehensive because none of us had much experience with adults with disabilities. It ended up being a really great time, making crafts and doing aerobic stretches with them. I look forward to working with them again throughout the week and getting to know them better. I feel like we can develop great relationships with them, and they will open up and let us make even more developmetal advances with them. Even if they’re small victories, it will still be great for all involved.
We spent the evening in beautiful Richmond, walking around and eating some authentic southern food. It gave us a chance to bond as a team and learn some new things about each other. We also saw other ARC (the parent organization of Camp Baker) facilities, and saw disabled individuals preparing to live in the community, which was fantastic to see. They have the opportunity to work for wage, something many disabled people have not been afforded in the past.
We’re all incredibly excited for the coming week! We’ll continue to interact with both the kids and the adults, and at the end we get to organize a carnival. I personally cannot wait, and I know my team feels the same way.