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Jun. 25th, 2003

Periodically, a group of physically and mentally disabled adults comes to city hall to do some work for the recreation division. Mainly, they fold printed flyers, label them and staple them. A small group of them comes in with a leader, or two leaders if there are more of them. They sit at a large table in the storage area, which also happens to be where my little cubicle sits. I have two dividers so I am not watching the activity, but I do hear them. And they talk! Constant talk about who is doing what and how fast, reminders about folding first, challenges to those who have fallen asleep, and just chatter by the "leaders". Today's chatter was led by a young woman who told about her phone conversations with someone who apparently wanted to date her.

Sometimes I can filter it out but today I was unable to do so. They were here only about 90 minutes altogether, though, so didn't cause me any big concentration problems. I think if I'd been pressed to finish something and had to focus intently I might have had to move to another area in city hall.

Of course I think about programs like this, about who is helped and who is not. It probably saves us a little money, not much, and it gives the group a sense of accomplishment. They are probably paid for it, too. In a way, though, it seems like make-work, and I wonder if any of these disabled adults figure that out. I would think so, really. I suspect that at least some of them can understand far more than they can communicate.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
nickyludd
Jun. 26th, 2003 05:02 am (UTC)
chatterers
Sounds to me that you were feeling irritated with them, and not liking yourself for feeling that.

It seems to me that if they are somewhere doing some work or whatever, then she should behave like the other people there - unless of course loud chatter is the norm there!If they lack the social skills/knowledge to realise that they are being irritating then the person(s)in charge of them/looking after them/supervising them should make them aware of it.

How about taking a Walkman into work so that you can block 'em out?
judith
Jun. 26th, 2003 06:50 am (UTC)
chatterers
I agree, the leaders should not be chattering in this way. It is no worse, though, than their urging to "wake up", their comparing one's work with another (she's faster than you are). I don't see this particular group goign at it in silence, and I wouldn't expect that, but I agree, the leader chatter about her so-called love life was ridiculous. I think that irritated me the most.

As for blocking it out, it doesn't happen often. So not a biggie. If it were frequent I would figure out some way of dealing. At a previous time one of the leaders asked me if they were bothering me and I said no.

I was, as usual, thinking about the "purpose" of it all. I do not know enough to know if these kinds of vocational events are therapeutic. I presume they are thought to be. i wonder if they really are.
nickyludd
Jun. 26th, 2003 09:28 am (UTC)
Re: chatterers
Well whether they are or are not therapeutic, the issue remains: should you have to suffer (albeit mildly) for it?

Now, if you stepped outside of yourself (yeah I know that's silly, but you know what I mean) - surely the obvious answer is: No. OK maybe there are situations where someone should endure minor discomfort for the greater good of persons who have I a hard time of life; but here it seems so obvious that the hard time is unnecessary - it even makes me wonder as to whether there is a hidden agenda of making you (not you in particular, but whoever happens to be there) suffer for the sake of the hard-done-by.
judith
Jun. 28th, 2003 09:13 am (UTC)
Re: chatterers
I am certain there is no hidden agenda. Mainly because I believe everyone involved is just an employee. Each trying to get the job done. I doubt any thought comes to these leaders that they would want to "inflict" their charges on us, as some sort of restitution maybe. I think they are not bright enough for that, these leaders, certainly they are not of the type of do-gooders that you love to hate.

And again, it is so rare an occasion that it doesn't matter. When they first started coming in to do these little jobs there were no persons working there. It was just our "library". Then Michael was moved in, and I replaced him later.
nickyludd
Jun. 29th, 2003 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: chatterers
Fair enough. I was thinking that way because of remembering being in a health-food shop and a deaf guy coming in, taking my place in the queue and brandishing a sign at the counter-person asking for a donation for some deaf-persons' charity. He was just amazingly aggressive.

Around this time there was an issue because several London pubs had barred deaf groups from meeting there, on the grounds - as I remember - that they were noisy (yes) and generally disruptive.

Mebbe I'm oversensitive.
judith
Jun. 29th, 2003 01:16 pm (UTC)
Re: chatterers
You may or may not be oversensitive (you'll remember, I tend to like "oversensitive"). But I do get your meaning. Sometimes people with disabilities do get chips on their shoulders. I guess it's understandable, and people may not often call them on it, will just avoid them, making the chips larger.

I am reading a book I've had for a while - Emotional Intelligence - specifically, I am reading a section on anger, and how it builds so that the last thing that provokes a person in a long string can make that person not amenable to reason, can lead to violence. Of course, self-awareness is a good preventive, can help head off such things.

I just thought of this when you mentioned how aggressive this guy was.

It does seem a bit weird for pubs to bar deaf groups - IN GENERAL - from meeting there because they are too noisy. A pub?? Are pubs church-like in their quiet?? I think not. I wonder if it may be that 1) yes, they can be noisy, some of these groups, and 2) it's a noise people don't always identify with.

This kind of thing - I think people should deal with the specific, not generalize. At the same time, I do see where one might be able to see a trend or understand a situation by generalizing. I just don't think rules like this make sense. It isn't because the people in the groups are deaf that they are noisy. It isn't a trait inherent to deaf persons. I suppose all of this has already been aired in letters to the editor...
nickyludd
Jun. 29th, 2003 01:28 pm (UTC)
Re: chatterers
I think it was a deaf-rights group or similar. Yes, the idea of them being noisy does seem wierd. But that guy in the shop made sense of it for me.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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