by Rick Rowland 

Working with people with intellectual disabilities has given me tremendous opportunities. I have been able to see the world in a way that has made me grateful for the things that may seem small to most people. I have greater respect for the differences in people and enjoy when people are being themselves as opposed to what others think they should be.

There is an acceptance that most people with intellectual disabilities have of others that society, in general, should learn from. It has heightened my consciousness for the appreciation of others and to show it as much as possible.

Through my work, it has become very clear to me that all people have a real purpose and can contribute in making a very real difference in our daily lives. The mistake is so often we do not embrace what others are contributing. We don’t allow ourselves to realize the difference that others are making.

Take time to realize that the small things truly can make a big difference. That’s what I have learned from the people with intellectual disabilities that I have worked with and have had the privilege to know.

I can’t image my life without the experiences that this forty-four-year career has given me.

“The most important thing that we face in this century is a rediscovery of community.” – W. Gaylin