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Vulnerable Populations And Self Awareness Essay

1083 words - 5 pages

Vulnerable Population and Self-Awareness
University of Phoenix

Vulnerable Population and Self-Awareness
The vulnerable population chosen as the focus of this paper are the mentally retarded or intellectually disabled. According to the tenth revision of the WHO (world health Organization): intellectual disability (ID) is a disorder defined by the presence of incomplete or arrested mental development, principally characterized by the deterioration of concrete functions at each stage of development and that contribute to the overall level of intelligence, such as cognitive, language, motor, and socialization functions; in this anomaly, adaptation to the environment is always ...view middle of the document...

I am keenly aware of certain physical attributes such as the flat widely set eyes, short broad body and protruding tongue when I see them but the way I treat this population may be a little reserved. It has been my experience that this population is usually very friendly, curious and affectionate. The affectionate quality of these people is where my reservations come into play. I would rather not be touched and especially not hugged or kissed by a total stranger. Being randomly hugged and kissed by a young intellectually disabled woman is a not so fond memory that I can recall. After this particular interaction, I learned to keep my distance when this population was around.
While researching this vulnerable population, I learned that negative social responses to persons with mental retardation and mental illness have persisted across generations despite improved care, legislative support and a more sophisticated understanding of the causes and origins of the disabilities (Gordon, Chiriboga Tantillo, Feldman, & Perrone). For some reason, this surprised me and reminded me of my ignorance and lack of exposure to this population. In addition to pervasive negative social attitudes toward people with disabilities, research has also shown that a hierarchical order of social acceptance of disabilities exists. Within this hierarchical order of social desirability, mental retardation and mental illness have consistently been identified as the least accepted disabilities in social relationships, resulting in greater social distance and resulting in few friendship opportunities (Gordon, Chiriboga Tantillo, Feldman, & Perrone). Knowing how this group is shunned and without no or very few friends will influence how I respond to and interact with the intellectually disabled. The thought of no one wanting to befriend you because of your disability saddens me. Having an intellectual disability sounds like a lonely existence. I suppose I must watch too much television and believe the images portrayed of the intellectually disabled as living full and active lives; lives with friends. This is not to stereotype all intellectually disabled persons as friendless but to highlight my ignorance on this subject matter.
As a health care professional, my newly acquired knowledge of the mentally retarded would affect my delivery of care in a positive manner. I would approach this type of patient with kindness, patience, and compassion. An intellectually disabled patient would be a good...

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