Dr. Joan Beasley joined NHPR’s The Exchange program

Date: 
03/05/2015

This morning, our own Dr. Joan Beasley joined NHPR’s The Exchange program on the topic of assessment of New Hampshire's support system for individuals with disabilities. We received the following comment minutes after the broadcast aired:

I listened with great interest to today’s program on The Exchange at NHPR, particularly your comments. As the mother of a grown son who for much of his life has had difficulties when interacting with people in authority, I was intrigued by your mention of looking at the “vulnerabilities" of a person with mental health or developmental issues, rather than just “what triggers their behavior”. You are the first expert I have ever heard speak about this aspect of such situations, and I think you have really picked up on something very important. I have been an advocate for my son for many years now, and I know the pain he often suffers from people treating him as just “a behavior problem” without taking the time to look deeper and try to understand that even though he may seem angry and belligerent, he is in fact often feeling very vulnerable, and this can lead him to “fight or flight”-type reactions, and other behaviors that can be viewed as inappropriate by other people… if more people put this piece of the equation into practice in the mental health system and in the broader context of civilization, it would be a great help to many people and their families. I think our society would be better for it as well…

One other thing that someone else on the program talked about really makes sense, and that is when he mentioned the 5 “worst cases" being given jobs and then having their difficult behaviors nearly disappear, except when they were back in the institution at night. I have seen firsthand that my son is happiest when he can do a job and know he is doing it well.

Thank you for giving me hope that someday people will stop looking down on people with mental health or developmental issues and treating them so badly (often even "criminalizing” them), but will instead help them to be able to live happy, productive lives in everyday society, as should be their right.

Listen to the recorded broadcast and post comments on NHPR

Location: 
National