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Meeting a Dual Diagnosis

In all my years of working and serving in the special needs community, I think I have seen every type of diagnosis there is. In my opinion, one of the most challenging is meeting the needs of someone with a dual diagnosis, or someone who is diagnosed with both a mental illness and cognitive impairment. […]

In all my years of working and serving in the special needs community, I think I have seen every type of diagnosis there is. In my opinion, one of the most challenging is meeting the needs of someone with a dual diagnosis, or someone who is diagnosed with both a mental illness and cognitive impairment.

First of all, services are much harder to obtain in these cases. Typically, you have to register for services under one of the diagnosis categories but then the other diagnosis might prohibit you from getting the service that you need the most. Everything tends to be very “black and white” but in these cases, it is anything but that.

When you have cognitive impairment with a mental illness it is extremely difficult to navigate. How much is related to mental illness?  How much is related to cognitive impairment? How can you explain it to the person so they can understand what is going on? Most programs will only accept one diagnosis so the caregiver is left to care for the person themselves with minimal support. Things can go smoothly for weeks or even months, when all of a sudden there is a setback, usually without warning.

We have seen this at Dutton Farm and it truly breaks our hearts. It is a lonely place for these families. People make assumptions (mostly false ones) while the people’s’ lives are unexpectedly turned upside down by their situation and they struggle once again to get their bearings.

We want to be a place that can serve this population well. They need provision and opportunity like the rest of us. It’s a more strategic commitment but it is possible with the right staff and program.

Help us support these families anyway that you can: donations, attending our events, and of course, buying our products helps us give meaningful employment to all the people in our program. Our Fall products are on the shelves now.

Check our social media for upcoming events, Mothering Beyond Labels and Stoney Creek Football game are just a couple of them. Thank you for supporting Dutton Farm!

Originally posted September 23, 2019

About Michele Smither:

Dutton Farm is a non-profit organization in Oakland County that serves individuals with mental, physical, and emotional impairments. Staff are friends (no really) and work is meaningful. Our purpose is to positively impact the lives of our participants through partnership, dignity, and contentment. We provide an array of activities that foster self-belief and satisfaction. Our Community Integration Program and our Dutton Farm Market offer employment opportunities to people of all abilities. Here on the farm, we believe in the endless potential and worth of every human being and their ability to lead productive and fulfilling lives.
Read more by Michele Smither

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