I have been saying this for as long as I can remember, and I do swear by it. Although I cannot take credit for this school of thought, I can certainly echo the wise words of Maya Angelou and now, Steve Jobs.
I consider myself blessed having the opportunity to come to work everyday and hope to help make a real impact in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Parenthetically, I do really hate to label them as I have come to know them for their unique personalities and exceptional abilities. Nevertheless, since IDD is the medically correct term; I will continue to use it.
I never dreamed that this line of work would become my passion, but I thank God that it did. I could not have chosen a better group of individuals to serve. I have said this over and over, individuals with IDD receive disproportionately lower standards of care than individuals without IDD. They require an individualized approach to healthcare that focuses on the most prevalent health issues that they face.
Three years ago, when I started my doctoral studies; I knew that I had to make this population my area of interest. Fortuitously, I have had much success with my research topics/posters. I developed a scientific poster regarding effective wellness approaches for individuals with IDD, and it was displayed at the following conferences:
- The American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD Global Summit on Innovations in Health and IDD- California, 2015.
- Florida Public Health Association (FPHA)- Orlando, 2015.
In the same manner, I recently developed the following manuscript: Intellectual Disability and Sexual Health: A Systematic Review. This review will be transformed into a scientific poster, which will be presented at the upcoming American Association on Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities AAID Conference in Atlanta, GA. I cannot contain my joy regarding this opportunity. I get to share with my colleagues about simple issues that could be easily addressed, if each one of us took it upon ourselves to make a small difference.
Finally, as a member of the Association of Interdisciplinary Doctors of Health Science (AIDHS), I had the opportunity to become a guest editor. I wrote an article regarding mindfulness about improving the health & well-being of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which was published in the AIDHS news-magazine. Here is the link to the article: http://specialolympicsflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Interdisciplinarian_March2015.pdf
Although, the list above is not extensive, I am sure that it has made a small impression in my quest to help bridge the gaps of inequalities that currently exist in this vulnerable population.
Why am I sharing all of this? I just want everyone to wake up every day and think about all of the possibilities that there is out there to do something great. Choose to do something that will have a far reaching impact in the lives of others. And always, remember to embrace individuals with IDD and volunteer/serve them at your respective capabilities.
The AAIDD Annual Meeting: