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Interacting with Developmentally Disabled Adults 

I was talking with Sam Tenuto, Co-CEO at the Pioneer Center for Human Services recently and found that we have similar goals and love for humanity. This article is to help humans interact with each other in a positive way. We hope you like it.

The aging population includes older adults living without a disability and a population of people who have some noticeable differences than others. This community wants to be included and have moved beyond their challenges to have a full and meaningful life in the community. These are your neighbors, your friends and community members. When we meet someone who looks different, acts differently or even behaves differently we tend to back off and not include them in conversation or activities. Rather than reacting negatively we should embrace their differences and accept that we are all different.

When meeting someone different than you start by saying “hello” and giving them a smile. They most likely will do the same. If you are just passing by you can move along. If you are at an event, now is the time to invite them to join in whatever you are doing. It’s fun to learn new ways to do things.

If you notice behavioral differences such as a verbal exclamation, a non-reaction is best. Sometimes our brains don’t have the correct synapse and the verbal communication may be skewed. They might be trying to say “hello” and it’s coming out differently.

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