With the numbers growing, many communities are looking for innovative ways to serve the disabled. Solutions that will allow Individuals with Differential Abilities to continue learning and growing as individuals …without creating and adding to growing budget deficits and over taxed systems.
When I was seven years old I sat on the floor watching the Muppet show on channel eleven. The topic for that day was death. I started crying because I didn’t want to die, and my mother walked in. She said, “Shut up that crying boy everyone dies!” That’s when I knew I want to be control! I didn’t want anybody to tell me what to do or how to do it. So I started learning how people moved, talked, reacted and felt. That allowed me to understand a little bit about the world.
Eight years had passed, and I was 15 years old. I attended Litzsinger School where I ended up only in the fifth grade. I realized that the things I have learned, wasn’t sufficient. I wouldn’t have the knowledge to acquire wealth or a proper education. I wanted to attend another school due to the lack of effort, because my teacher couldn’t teach me by law academically outside of my IEP. The goals set forth weren’t going to help me succeed, and I needed to have a stable skill set outside of working in sheltered workshops.
I did not want to leave my mother my sister and my brother. That was my family. So one day my mother’s refund check came in the mail. She’d said that she was going to buy me a computer so I opened up the letter. I didn’t think anything of it, but she came home and said, “Why did you open up my letter? My response was, “I wanted to”. I don’t know why she got mad or what her line of thought was, but she decided to whip me what a telephone cord. Every time she hit me I got mad. I didn’t move …I didn’t flinch, it was making up my mind that I need to control. So when she got through whipping me, I called my dad and tell him to come get me.
I moved to my fathers home in Desoto, Missouri at the age of 15. My IEP was still implemented at the school in De Soto, but a teacher found interesting me. She took it upon herself to review and change the goals of my IEP. When she changed the prior goes that have been set, it led me down the path to academic success. I graduated from high school at the age of 19. When I came to that school I was in fifth grade, and have been placed in the 10th grade. The principal fired her because she took matters into her own hand. So not to understand why she lost her job over me, to question my ability to be put “regular” kids, to be included with everything they did, created a new vision for me.
High school was fun to me! When people treat you like one of their own and there’s nothing wrong with you, it creates an environment of feeling like there’s nothing you cannot do. So to walk across the stage with my peers and receive a diploma, everyone gave me a standing ovation. I didn’t understand because I felt like I was just one of them.
Living with a disability doesn’t end your life, it just opened up different doors. If you choose the right path you will have an awesome life. You will have you have to advocate for yourself, and network with the correct people. Surround yourself in and intellectual setting, and never give up on yourself. Organize, create and follow through with daily task, and events that will keep you motivated to achieve amazing success. -Adonis Reddick
No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity, has dignity and importance should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
According to an article in the Boston Globe by Bella English, “Nationwide, only 14 percent of adults with such disabilities have jobs outside a care facility. In Massachusetts, developmentally disabled adults are less than half as likely as their peers to be employed at all — and those who are generally work at minimum wage jobs with no benefits.” This lack of resources and programs for those with differential abilities that are adults leads to a greater impact on them, and their families; impacting millions of adults across America.
These numbers are even more staggering when we look at the growing population of those with differential abilities. One study conducted by Doctor Amy Houtrow, Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2001-2002 and survey data from 2009-2010. Results showed that the prevalence of disability increased 16.3 per cent from 2002 to 2010.
Understanding the unique challenges to working with these individuals, Adonis Reddick works closely with organizations, and individuals in St. Louis to bring ideas and unique perspectives as to how our core curriculum can be perpetually modified to help individuals with differential abilities express their story. To do what their peers are doing in the program around the world: getting what’s on the inside …out.
The result of this effort was realizing the importance of a unique plan for each individual participant, and a focus on activities that allow for creative expression through writing, art and story telling -while still producing a work of expression included in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ for group publishing! These group publishing projects provide sustainable funding for the organizations offering the program, as well as a chance at financial independence for the participants.
Writing for the Soul Workshop™ for Individuals with Differential Abilities is currently looking for Community Coordinators, Facilitators and Mentors to accommodate the growth of this program. Certification is required. For more information about our program, or to give it a test drive in your community, use the Contact Form below to connect with us.