Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chelsea Timothy and the Developmental Disabilities Month

When I first married my good wife, there was a young girl in our extended family, named Chelsea. She clearly had a lot of disabilities, and things were very difficult for her family (my brother- and sister-in-law). Even to this day, I’m not fully aware of just what her full list of diagnosis are, but she’s missing a part of chromosome 18. As a result, she’s very short, and her spine is misaligned. She’s had many issues in her cognitive development, and she struggles with her fine and gross motor skills.

When she was very young, she had surgery to repair her cleft palate, and after that she found she could communicate. I saw her go from a shy and isolated soul to a happy and chatty little girl in a matter of weeks.  Even though she still speaks very slow and slurred, the fact that she was able to begin speaking opened up her world.

I’ve watched her grow up and graduate from school. She’s had various jobs, including shampooer at a hair salon. Her jobs are difficult, because she tires easily, but her coworkers have always commented on her diligence.

In the early years, nobody expected her to live to be a teenager. Then they said she might not live to see 20. Now she’s 28. Over the years, she has brought much joy to our family.

I was a little surprised to see her profiled on the news, but not at all surprised to see what they said about her.  Check it out.

Here's the link to the page of the original report.

Having said all this wonderful stuff about her, it’s time for me to get up on my soapbox again, especially as the state legislature is busy determining the fates of many of us like Jacob and Chelsea.  DSPD (the Division of Services for People with Disabilities) set Chelsea up with her current job.  Chelsea is a productive, helpful member of society. Yes, she requires services and aid, but she gives, too, in very practical ways.

Many of Utah’s disabled are contributing in many ways, many practical ways.  It’s vital that DSPD get the funding it needs to continue to help the state’s disabled population be able to serve and function.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Disabled and The Mission

I read this blog post (now quite dated) with real interest.  My interest is obvious, as I have often wondered what would happen to Jake when the time came for his mission.  

I had assumed that there might be some sort of service mission he could participate in. This says that there might be some kind of hope for the many, many young men and women who have some kind of disability or mental illness.

I’m very excited by some of the things I’m seeing more and more in the organization of the Church.  I’m seeing much more openness and compassion being shown for the disabled. I'm excited because a mission is one of the primary goals of the youth in the Church. From the time we're babies, and through primary and scouts, we're primed to go on our mission.

Now, I realize that a mission is not required for salvation and exaltation. But I also know just how much my mission changed me and helped me grow to maturity. I want as much of that as possible for my boys, and for Jacob in particular. Any way that it can be done or adapted is fine with me!