Florence Jelks

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Florence Jelks - Family Living Section NAPLES DAILY NEWS,,...
Family Living Section NAPLES DAILY NEWS,, Thurs., Feb. 3, 1977' Group Home Needed TECH Gives Handicapped a New Life By JULIE ROBINSON Staff Writer Try to imagine the joy on the face of a 56 year-old woman who has, for the first time in her life, printed her name. . . . or the sight of a 26 year-old man breaking into very real tears because his teacher has told him there is no school tomorrow. . . . and the gratitude of a mother reporting to the teacher that she just had the first logical conversation with her 33 year-old son. EACH OF these .very real wonders took place last m o n t h in Naples. Thanks to TECH. Until the establishment establishment of TECH (Training and Education Education Center for the Handicapped) at 3727 Prospect Rd., there were ten. profoundly and severely retarded adults in our area who had never before had the benefit of a stimulating stimulating group-learning e n v i r o n m e n t . Some had.seldom been out of their homes and have been cared for on an around-the-clock basis by their parents since infancy. Today, there are ten clients at TECH. Ten more adults, who meet the federal classification of the adult disabled, have been located through various local agencies. The infant nurse at TECH has a case load of 15 infants, each of whom will fall into the classification as severely and profoundly retarded. She goes to their homes to assist them and the parents. TECH moved into new quarters on Jan.3 and when the additional adult clients are admitted will have outgrown their quarters. Richard Suquay, an educator with 25 years experience in the field is TECH director. "WE WANT to become a total rehabilitation center," he said. "We must provide a network of services for these handicapped citizens. Our greatest and most urgent need is our own group home where our clients can work and learn together in a peer group situation." He cited the example of a client, now in her 50's who has been cared for all her life by her 85-year-old mother. "What happens to her when her mother passes on? Suquay asked. "There are no other relatives and the only place in the world she has to go is to an institution. This becomes an expensive proposition for the taxpayer." taxpayer." "For every retarded adult we can keep out of an institution, we can save the taxpayer some $5,000 per year," he added "If we could establish establish a permanent group home we can create an environment for our clients which will enable them to maintain their dignity, engender self-respect and will give to each of them an expanding intellectual and emotional life. We exist to develop Dr. Burl Jordan gives TECH patient a dental check each of the clients to their highest potential." Many of the clients were not given the necessary s t i m u l a t i o n as children. It's really been only in the past few years that the nation has begun to recognize the severely handicapped handicapped and moved toward a goal of treating them with dignity and concern, concern, Suquay said. Suquay continued, "In the past, the severely handicapped were almost literally locked up within the four walls of their homes. If no one likes to look at you and no one drops by to v i s i t , you certainly suffer from a diminished self-image. Don't-toreet the mother! She too is lost to society. They are confined to their homes day and night. The mother might be a highly qualified worker but is unable to use her skills. Our economy is being being deprived of a potentially productive productive member. We have lost her contribution." contribution." TECH IS looking for a group home in the Naples area -- a small apartment apartment complex or large home. And even though no offer has been forthcoming, forthcoming, TECH is preparing their clients for the day when they can learn to live a normal, everyday life within a home. The clients are learning the first steps of meal preparation. Several were taken by one of the two vans used for TECH transportation to a local supermarket where they learned to shop for food, to count out change. On Tuesdays the group uses the kitchen of a local church where they are being taught the basics of preparing their own lunch. TECH classes for the clients are held five days a week for six hours per day. The program is not a workshop training program. These clients are under Federal law, receiving aid because their handicap is so profound that it will be impossible impossible for them to ever earn a living wage. TECH, f u n d e d by 75% Federal monies; 12'/£ per cent state and 12'/ 2 per cent local, is the outgrowth of the Guadalupe Educational Improvement Center founded three years ago in Immokalee by four concerned concerned citizens. The Rev. J e r r y Singleton, Rev. Allen Tracy, Joe Callan and Florence Jelks wanted to bring educational advantages to the profoundly retarded preschoolers in the Immokalee area. They found they had to reorganize the Board a f t e r seeing the needs of the retarded adults. SUQUAY IS the driving force behind the Naples center and is backed by a s t a f f of dedicated educators. Two instructors, Laura Fox, who holds an M,A. in education, and Franky Hurly, a candidate for his Master's degree in mental retardation retardation from Florida State University, handle the class work. Debbie Webster Webster is the social worker and music therapist and Yvonne Callan, RN, is developmental therapist with the children who are confined to the home. Suquay is deeply concerned about Sla/t photo by Shearer TECH's Richard Suquay presents plaque to Dr. Raymond Duncan the needs of his clients. "The public is not yet aware of one mind-blowing fact, and that is there are no more cases of mental illness in the handicapped than in the general population. Imagine trying to live out your life in a body some consider deformed, shunned by normal society, yet living mentally healthy- lives! "THE MEDICAL needs of the handicapped handicapped are unique," he continued. "Often they can't tell you that they hurt or where it hurts. They simply sit and suffer. He mentioned one of the very few clients who behaved in an agressive manner. She was w i t h d r a w surly. When the nurse finally got the woman to open her mouth, she saw a mouth full of abcessed teeth. After extensive dental work, the client no longer hurts and she responds to everyone with hugs now rather than aggressiveness. "A complete personality personality change, simply because she no longer bad to sit in pain." Suquay had great praise for two local physicians who have volunteered volunteered their time to all of TECH's clients, regardless of their ability to pay. The project leader said, "Dr. Raymond Duncan is there whenever (Continued on Page 2D) Stelf photos hy Motfe Richard Suquay is TECH director

Clipped from The Naples Daily News03 Feb 1977, ThuPage 29

The Naples Daily News (Naples, Florida)03 Feb 1977, ThuPage 29
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  • Florence Jelks

    pins360 – 28 Jan 2013

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