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Help for mentally retarded people ?

Jun 16, 2002

Doc, This is a great job which you do here ! My question is this - what special help is available for people with mild mental impairment ? I knew a young fellow who was mildly impaired - though still able to live in society. I dont know the name of his condition, though it was obvious that it was there from birth, and from observing him, I would estimate a mental age of about 10. He was a fun loving guy in his late teens when I first came across him, and , sadly, too independant. His inability to make complex decsions , such as financial commitments , led to several periods of homelessness. I took him in several times -he was a delight to have around the place, but he would always "meet someone" and move on. He was a very good looking kid, but incapable of committing to a relationship. Many people tried to impress upon him the importance of safer sex , and later, when the inevitable happened, the importance of taking his medications on time, every time This was beyond his capabilities, and , sadly, he passed away recently from an HIV related disease - age 24. He couldnt have been the only one in his position, can you suggest , to me, and to others any resources specifically designed to help people like him , in the hope that it can save at least a few lives ?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You raise a very important question. But unfortunately I am not as aware as I should be of what resources exist for helping people with developmental disabilities learn to prevent themselves from contracting HIV and remain adherent to the difficult treatment regimens if they do become infected.

The only resource I know about is here in Manhattan. An organization known as the Young Adult Institute is an agency that only serves people with developmental disabilbites. I know that at one time they did conduct HIV prevention programs for their clients. I am unsure of whether this is still part of what they do.

I suggest that you try contacting them to find out if they know of other agencies that do HIV related work with this very vulnerable population.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

anticiparoty grief and reversal of situation due to new medications
bipolar disorder

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