Ramea Rahim & Chathuvi Vinithan

Ramea Chathuvi

Bachelor of Science, Biology & Psychology, Double Major, Biological Sciences Minor, 4th Year 

Bachelor of Science, Psychology Specialization, 3rd Year

Course: PSYCO 325 (Winter 2022) with Instructor Dr. Wendy Hoglund

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives? 

Ramea: My community partner this semester was AdaptAbilities. I had the opportunity to participate in program support and activity planning. I spent the last few months making activities specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities tailored to foster emotional regulation, peer relationships, autonomy and self awareness.

Chathuvi: My community partner was AdaptAbilities and our role was to act as program support. The project objective was to support participants with their goal-oriented daily programming, and we were each assigned to make a set of 10 activity lesson plans to be incorporated into AdaptAbilities programming.

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

Ramea: Through this CSL placement I got to learn about the importance of strong programming and how important it is to have learning tailored to specific populations. Through interactions with the participants at AdaptAbilities I got to see and develop a better understanding of vulnerable populations and the different challenges they see on a daily basis. I also got to witness how capable individuals with disabilities are and how undercredited they are in today's society which is now something I am dedicated to shedding light on.

Chathuvi: My biggest takeaway from my CSL placement at AdaptAbilities was achieved by interacting with participants and front-line staff to further my understanding of vulnerable communities and the key role organizations, such as AdaptAbilities, play by providing support for these communities. AdaptAbilities provide services and programs for individuals with developmental special needs, encouraging them to grow and succeed, while also nurturing friendships and interactions that foster a sense of belonging and confidence. AdaptAbilities also provides essential respite services that have an incredibly positive effect on individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, as well as the community as a whole.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)? 

Ramea: The knowledge I gained this semester is invaluable. It helped me see individuals with disabilities in a new light as well as understand all the hard work that goes into program planning behind the scenes. I believe this information will help in the future when working/volunteering with vulnerable populations seeing as I now have a whole new outlook on the challenges and successes they may see.

Chathuvi: Through my experiences at AdaptAbilities, I’ve learned how to better support vulnerable individuals, especially those with developmental special needs. I’ve also come to learn how important it is to really interact with every participant to get to know each of them personally, because it plays an important role in tailoring the programs and activity lesson plans to better suit the participants and their needs. I believe this knowledge is universally applicable regardless of the population you’re working with, but it is especially true for vulnerable communities, and I will take these new skills I have learned to my future endeavors.

What are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

Ramea: COVID-19 definitely did decrease some of the hands-on work with participants however that did not take away from much of the knowledge I gained in program planning. Although COVID-19 did change things, I was definitely compensated by being able to walk away with lifelong knowledge and a new found drive to work within vulnerable populations, specifically individuals with developmental disabilities.

Chathuvi: One of the ways COVID-19 impacted AdaptAbilities, and my placement specifically, was requiring appropriate social distancing between the computers available for participants to use during tech time. This limited the number of available computers for participants to use during free/tech time. Another negative impact is one I learned about from talking to a participant at AdaptAbilities. They mentioned that they had a much harder time understanding what people were saying because the masks limited the sound and made it challenging to properly hear what was being said. The masks also hid half of people’s faces, which made it difficult to use context clues such as facial expressions and reading lips to better understand what people were trying to communicate.