The program will teach the medical students how to properly interact with those with developmental disabilities.Approximately 60 students have gone through the program this year. The students are broken up into groups of 15 and visit JARC corporate offices in Farmington Hills for one-hour presentations once a month.
Then the students go to tour one of JARC’s homes to learn how people with disabilities live with around-the-clock care in a community setting. The students are from the class of Dr. Ernest F. Krug, III, professor of biomedical science at the medical school at OU.The overall goal of this program is to teach the medical students ways to become better doctors in the future. They learn about the history of developmental and intellectual disabilities, how the two overlap, and most importantly, how having a disability affects a person’s life.
Eye contact with the person that has a developmental disability is stressed. Students also are taught effective ways of communicating with those with disabilities, how to be more inclusive, and how to deal with someone who is non-verbal and doesn’t want to be touched.Students are also taught the philosophy of Gentle Teaching in which a trusting and loving rapport is developed with the person with a disability and others so the individual feels safe and cared about.
JARC, a nonprofit in Farmington Hills, serves both children and adults with disabilities in terms of housing, life planning, social inclusion, education, and recreation.Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence and advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Central. He can be reached 586 263-8950.