When it comes to school, some kids kind of live on the edge. And that can be a pretty tough place, for them, their parents and their teachers.
The kids I’m talking about have mild intellectual or developmental disabilities that result in disruptive behaviors. They’re capable of learning, but their behaviors make it difficult for them to sit in a classroom and difficult for a teacher to focus on a whole classroom full of kids. That’s why they live on the edge: They are close to staying in the classroom, but also close to having their parents asked to find another option.
Angel and AvaMariee were born early at 33 weeks. Within the first year, both children struggled to meet developmental milestones. At each well-visit checkup, we would identify our concerns, only to be told things like, "Children can catch up later in development."
Summer is a great time for kids: School’s out, the weather’s great and days are long and lazy.
Unfortunately, summer also can be dangerous time, especially for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’ve all heard stories about a developmentally disabled child who wandered away and suffered an injury or met with danger.
Most families would find it difficult to imagine the challenges facing a family when a child has a developmental disability. They might find it even harder to imagine being able to rally the relentless hope and perseverance that, sometimes, can help that child grow into a bright and energetic person.
Angel has severe autism and has a history of running off. His lack of verbal communication is extremely challenging and can be dangerous. If Angel was lost or injured, he would have no way to communicate his needs.
Brittney Kalmas has been with Damar for 10 years. She leads a team of master level clinicians providing one-on-one services for Damar clients. Kalmas says the work/life balance and daily reminders of the impact she’s making is why her role at Damar is remarkable.
From the entry-level employee to the clinical specialist, and from the Direct Care Technician to the Accountant, every one of us can say, “I don’t just work at Damar … I am Damar. I make a difference.”