Aaron is a sweet, kind and active guy who enjoys being around other people more than anything else in the world. He’s friendly, has a wonderful sense of humor, loves staying busy and involved, trying out new restaurants, going to wrestling events and to live performances, to comedy shows and musicals and especially watching movies. He loves to research and explore new places, enjoys all kinds of travel, both with family and with special population organized travel groups, and most especially going on cruises. Aaron’s life is happy and complete when he’s busy and engaged, surrounded by other people, and when he feels useful. He’s miserable when he’s alone and bored.
we learned that Aaron has to be kept moving and occupied.
He has participated in Special Olympics (swimming, basketball, powerlifting) since he was a pre-teen, and enjoys being part of a team, mostly because he likes getting to know the coaches and being with his friends. Aaron has made some lifelong friendships with people he has met through his participation in sports and in special recreation programs offered in our community. Aaron is a loyal friend, who maintains ongoing relationships with some of his teachers and fellow students from elementary, middle and high school. He has a genuine interest in others and is always appreciative of their interest in him.
Aaron is a naïve person, an innocent who would give the shirt off his back to anyone who asked for it, and whose greatest joy is to feel included and valued. With supports in place, Aaron is able to manage the activities of daily living independently, but living away and separate from others is not what he wants for his life. Yes, he wants his own space and his privacy, but relationships are the oxygen of his life. Aaron would be happiest living in his own apartment, but in a setting where he would not be lonely, bored or isolated. He needs to be around friends with whom he can share meals, watch movies, go to fun events or just hang out. He thrives when he’s around people whom he can help, such as pushing a friend’s wheelchair, helping a neighbor move heavy boxes, or carrying packages for older folks.
Aaron has been working part-time since he was 18 years old. He worked as a dishwasher for a few years, but has found his niche as a supermarket bagger, because he thrives on being helpful and on interacting with customers, who have regularly shared with management their praise of his work ethic and his helpful attitude. Aaron is honest, truthful, responsible, and a very hard worker.
Aaron is the kind of person we would call “deceptively independent.” This means that he “appears” to be relatively capable and independent to those who don’t know him well and just see the surface. He has some ability to use the computer, smart phone, and tablet, but when something doesn’t work as it should (as often happens), he lacks the maturity and problem-solving capabilities that most people without disabilities are able to deploy to manage frustration and disappointment. In other words, things appear to “go well” as long as they go well.
As Aaron’s parents, we worry constantly about what will happen to Aaron after we’re no longer here to give him love, support and encouragement, and to manage the important details of his life. Knowing that Aaron and many others like him would be able to spend the rest of their lives living in a supportive, caring community, among helpful staff and friends who appreciate and accept him, would give us a tremendous sense of peace and serenity as we age. Aaron is a sweetheart, a lovable big bear of a guy, and we want him to live where he will feel valued and included, where he will be able to continue growing as a human being because his needs as a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities are understood and appropriately supported.