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“I’ve been committed to learning David’s language,” stated Direct Support Professional (DSP) Kendra Brown, who works closely with David, a man with special needs at HeartShare’s Hoffman Day Habilitation Program. The recent college grad learned how to become engaging and playful with David, which helped lessen his changing temperament. Kendra was able to achieve this by carefully reading David’s body language, as David cannot articulate many words. This dialogue between them is seen through their outings in the community. One day, Kendra had David accompany her to a store to buy decorations for the program. When Kendra started rolling David towards the door, he became excited, rocking back and forth. When David saw the sunlight, he laughed and vocalized as Kendra placed him on the bus. Walking through the store, David vocalized his favorite phrases as a way of asking Kendra to include certain items in the basket. Waiting for the bus, David made kissing sounds, which he only makes on rare occasions. Kendra knew that David was happy. Kendra’s thorough knowledge of David’s facial expressions, body movement and vocalizations keeps them in conversation. For this dedication to David, Kendra was nominated as a HeartShare Everyday Hero, an employee recognition program for outstanding frontline workers who uplift and enhance quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “David not only makes me laugh, but also has taught me that there’s always a way to communicate,” Kendra concluded.
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