Gratitude for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Dear Friends with Differing Abilities,Gratitude for adults with ID and DD

I want you to know that you are valuable even when society may question your very existence. You are better teachers than any of the one’s I had in my classrooms. That’s because you teach me daily what it means to live authentically. You are real with what’s going on if you are sad you cry, if you are mad you slam a door and storm away. You show true raw emotion. You express your needs and when you want something you show so much determination and perseverance. You show so much concern for others and sometimes that sensitivity opens you up to other people’s pain, but you still keep reaching out and showing care and concern. When you have a question you ask it, you see the world in all its changes and newness. Where I take for granted what’s going on around me you wonder and point out the building being built, asking, “what are they building”, “who’s going to live there.” You show interest in those riding the bus reminding me that we all have stories to tell if someone takes the time to ask and listen. Your inquisitiveness reminds me to ask questions I brush aside for one reason or another.

I see you struggle to be what society wants you to be. When you experience the world in such a different way, it’s hard to imagine all the challenges you have overcome and the things you have learned, and the suffering you have endured that has shaped who you are. You show me how to lean into and accept my own suffering and how to speak my own needs. When you want to go at a slower pace, you remind me that I need to slow down and I finally start to see the beauty in the details around me, the spring blossoms as they begin to bloom. The spider forming a web and the person walking with me. You also challenge me to be present in the moment throughout the day when I get caught up in my thoughts you pull me outside of myself. When I have trouble with my own anxiety, you simply pat my shoulder in silence letting me know it will all be okay. Sometimes, I can tell there is so much you want to say but you have no words to say it, or you have all the words to say but no way to understand or make sense of what’s happening.

You remind me that we are all human and although I may think I can cover up and hide my wounds you help me to realize they are there and then they begin to heal. As you confront the world and show the world that you are imperfect through things you may not even be able to control, you remind me that we are all imperfect and learning. That no one has it all figured out and that sometimes it’s through you that I learn what true forgiveness looks like, and what unconditional love is. You show strength when you reach out to a stranger or me in a way that only you could. You teach me about faith when you pray so genuinely and openly. You teach me about celebration when you get excited about welcoming a new guest, or help me set up for a party. It’s through the simple things like your joy when the wind blows the grocery bags that are attached to your backpack and your whole face lights up or when we get to share our enjoyment of coloring together that I’m reminded of the beautiful simplicity in the everyday. You have given me many names, Tiffany, Depadeen, Becca, and my most favorite of all ba-ba-ba-Beettthy. Just as you have changed my name you have changed my heart and continue to help my heart grow each day.

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Gifts I have received from some very talented friends.

Who has helped your heart to grow the most?

What impact has that person made on who you are today?

What words of gratitude would you use to thank that person?

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