A New Year

20/20 is hindsight, but 2020 was certainly not filled with clear vision.  It was a year that included more anxiety than aspiration, and more havoc than hope. The pandemic is surrounded by unknowns, which causes fears that are experienced by everyone in society.  As a behavioral specialist, I understand the definition of Emotionally Handicapped (EH), or what exceptional student education is now referring to as an Emotional / Behavioral Disability (E/BD).  As a former classroom teacher, it wasn’t uncommon to hear students say “I’m not handicapped”.  My response would be somewhat clinical, but relevant to their situation. “Emotionally Handicapped describes a person that allows their emotions to handicap them from doing what they are supposed to be doing.  Right now, you can’t do your math assignment because you are still upset about Billy breaking your pencil 3 hours ago”. The student would continue to argue their point, but at least they learned something from that teachable moment.

I am referring to Emotional / Behavioral Disabilities because it is relevant now more than ever.  The pandemic has caused us all to be a little emotionally handicapped.  Mainly because everything is out of our control and we don’t really know what to do, or where to turn.  WOW, this is another teachable moment!  We are all stepping into the shoes of an E/BD Student.  Granted, we are just getting a small and temporary glimpse of what they experience on a daily basis.  And we also have the benefit of seeing light at the end of the dark tunnel.  Students with emotional / behavioral disabilities usually don’t have the advantage of HOPE.  We may be able to assist them with coping mechanisms, but we cannot totally solve the problems caused by their personal crisis at home and in their communities.

This is another post about “Perspective”, and it is important that we continue to think about how others are experiencing this global crisis.  It is also important to lend a hand to your neighbors and coworkers.  Be kind and understanding, because we may never know all of the struggles they are dealing with in their lives.

I also want to thank all of our business / community partners who continue to host our Vocational Explorations Interns.  You are remarkable people who “Smell what we are cooking”, because you value our mission and the individuals that we serve TOGETHER. Their work experience teach them about the world of work and helps them make better decisions about career choices in the future.  And that is all enhanced by placing their recent employment references on their resumes.

Best wishes for a new year filled with happiness, hope, health, and resilience.

John Ficca, Director

by John Ficca