by Michael Smull and Mary Lou Bourne
All people respond to their environment. Whether we are happy or miserable is largely determined by what surrounds us. For happiness or even simply contentment to exist, certain things must be present and other things must be absent. What happens when we don’t have control over what is present or absent? Many people with significant disabilities live in just this way. They do not get to choose their environment or what is in it. When people with significant disabilities move to a new home they rarely get to choose where it is located or give input into what will be present or absent. Because control of their surroundings is in the hands of others, we need to look at the person’s response to the environment, learn from their response and act on what we learn.
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