As a dietetics and nutrition intern with Ms. Emile, working with the IDD population has been a learning experience both on a personal and professional level. On the professional level I learned to effectively apply nutrition education to the IDD community. It was my experience that with this population traditional PowerPoint and lecture was too boring and hard to capture the attention of the audience. However, when we used non-conventional methods of teaching such as dancing for physical activity, or food models to illustrate examples, and taste tests, clients were more interested in learning.
Furthermore, in teaching this population I learned to be very interactive when teaching a concept. For example, I could ask a general question to the group and have 1 or 2 clients respond as opposed to personally asking each client and having a one-on-one and have each client respond. Paying attention to details such as these helped me better understand how to teach the IDD population and conduct an effective class.
On the personal level I learned that this population is very giving emotionally. There was rarely a when I was working with the clients because they are so eager to learn and have a good outlook on life. There was always someone who had a smile or a hug to give. There was one client who I especially enjoyed because every concept or learning opportunity he received with open arms and was willing to participate in everything. Like him there were many individuals who taught me to appreciate every learning experience and to simply smile at life.
After working with this population, the most important thing that I take away is that the IDD population is truly special. They are eager to learn, loving, and friendly individuals who view life in a different way and teach others to appreciate it.
FIU Department of Dietetics & Nutrition- http://stempel.fiu.edu/academics/dietetics-and-nutrition/