It is easy to become all to altruistic when you’ve been around someone for long enough. That is the thing though, something I struggle with. I spend months in one town, working with people with special needs who can only communicate what they are going through or what they need through their own unique verbal or non verbal communication. I then leave, and spend months at a time in another town studying towards finishing my degree and all too easily detach from what I experience with the people I care for back home.
It’s interesting this intrinsic cycle that forms and then evaporates only to begin again.
I experienced this today with a young man that I support. He shows signs of ptsd from something in his past. Although I can only assume due to his limited communication. My biggest issue through working with him is my own experience of abuse and how this may in fact be my own stuff that makes me jump to my own conclusions.
The issue with this, is that I believe that something may indeed have actually happened to him. However, in the past when I spent months working with him, I forgot these potential assumptions of what he was trying to tell us and accepted these as who he is.
This is where a huge grey area lies in supporting people with intellectual and mental disabilities. I want to be able to support people to the fullest capacity, but limited communication makes this difficult.
So now I pose the questions; how do we as caregivers support people that may have possibly been abused in their past without them having the ability to tell us?
How do we put aside our own truths to support those we care about?
Can we do both, can we allow our life experiences to inform our assumptions and/or our care and support?