Temkin and Peter
Diana Temkin is a community integration specialist. She describes her work: Thirty years ago they didnt have this service for people with developmental disabilities. They were shunned by society. Now they can do all kinds of activities with people who are able-bodied. We assist them and help them, and have a lot of fun guiding them along the way. We try to get them to take the initiative because eventually we want them to be independent.
The most challenging part of the job is the way people respond to Peter. They can be very ignorant, but then I speak to them and they understand. They ask me if Peter understands what I say to him, and I say, Yes, his mental capacity is pretty high up there. He can respond by shaking his head and nodding his head. We are trying to have a communication assistance device mounted to his wheelchair so that he can communicate in that way.
When I take him to the mall, well run into his old high school friends. He gets excited when he sees them, especially one woman he is attracted to. And he has his particular foods and flavors he likes.
One of Temkins favorite activities is taking Peter to volunteer working with children at a Head Start program. She comments, Once they get used to his condition, children like to play with him. They like to push his chair and hold his hand, and of course he enjoys all the attention.