Last time, I told you that I wanted to introduce you to some of my friends with autism. Now, let me preface this by saying I’m only introducing you to a few. There are many. And, they are all different. I don’t want you to think this is an all-inclusive representation or that we only have a couple of people with autism.
Let me introduce you to two guys in our Sky is the Limit program who are productive members of our organization. First, Robert. He was one of the first guys I met when I started working at Bona Vista. He’s about as sweet as they come. Now, there are days when he wants to participate in classes and days he doesn’t. Sounds about right if you think back to your own school days as well, I’m sure. Robert can speak, but he also hums and makes noises to himself. I always know where Robert is when I’m in the room because my brain now recognizes his noises. Music to my ears. One cool fact about Robert? He can tell you every single game show host and what show they hosted. If game shows were a category on Jeopardy, he would be a clean sweep. It’s astounding, and impressive.
Robert lives in one of our group homes as well. So, he spends time with us all day, every day. The same can be said for my friend Jeremy. He lives at Laguna Commons, which is a Bona Vista-owned housing unit – each with its own bedroom and bathroom, accompanied by a shared kitchen and living, dining and laundry room. He has a meaningful day with us in our adult day services, and then lives in our housing in the evenings.
If you’ve ever taken a tour of our Crossing location, you’ve probably shook hands with Jeremy. He may have even asked you to take your shoes off. This guy has an obsession with knowing what your socks look like. They don’t have to match, be a certain color or be anything fancy… he just wants to know. The first time I ever met Jeremy, I had a hole in my sock. Talk about a great first impression, but one I will always remember. If you’ve ever met me you know that I just laughed and laughed at my luck, but Jeremy didn’t care. That’s the kind of guy Jeremy is. He wants to know you. And, he will remember you by name.
Our folks are all unique. They all have quirks and traits that make them different and special. They are just like you and I. I have many quirks (no comments from the peanut gallery), and I’m sure you do as well (and if you don’t think so, just ask the person sitting next to you). We are all the same in that way. I point that out to simply say this – our people are just like you! Just because they may look at things a little differently or need additional help with things, does not make them less than anyone else. They are part of this community the same as you and I. We need to value them as such.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: If you’d like to meet some of the people we serve for yourself, take a tour of our facilities or see if employment with Bona Vista is something you’d be interested in… let me know! You can call me at 765-457-8273, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by 1220 E. Laguna St. in Kokomo Monday through Friday.
Until next time… keep a good view on life!