Often we hear the quote that if we have a passion/love for our work, we will never work a day in our life. Andre (not his real name) feels that way about lawn and garden care. His passion is evident when looking at a sea of elephant ears planted in his yard. When he was a little boy, his mother made him help her with yard work. He was not too enthused about it at first, but the work began to grow on him and the enjoyment came. For several years now, he has been operating his own lawn care business.

This is the final segment in a four-part series by the Texoma Community Center marking March as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month nationwide.


Often we hear the quote that if we have a passion/love for our work, we will never work a day in our life. Andre (not his real name) feels that way about lawn and garden care. His passion is evident when looking at a sea of elephant ears planted in his yard. When he was a little boy, his mother made him help her with yard work. He was not too enthused about it at first, but the work began to grow on him and the enjoyment came. For several years now, he has been operating his own lawn care business.


Last summer was a slow year, so he has taken a job in janitorial work at Texoma Community Center (TCC) where he receives services for intellectual and developmental delays (IDD). He loves the janitorial work, but he is hoping that the coming summer will bring enough yard work for him and his brother in-law who is his business partner. Andre has worked in janitorial before and really liked his it. Another job he enjoyed was working in a nursing home laundry facility.


Andre is considered to have a dual diagnosis of mental illness and IDD. A conservative estimate of 33 percent of individuals with IDD will also show signs of mental illness. Signs most often appear in adults rather than children. This population is more susceptible to mental illness because of biological and social factors. A damaged brain is at a higher risk for biochemical imbalances.


Social isolation, exclusion, and brain differences also set the stage for mental illness. Mental illness may be overlooked due to focusing on the IDD behavior and lack of social skills. There are effective treatments available such as psychopharmacology, counseling/psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, behavior management, social skills training, and activity therapy.


A judge ordered a mental health evaluation for Andre due to a couple of bouts with the law. He was diagnosed with bi polar disorder and uses mental health services through TCC. He is now on medication for his mental illness and is doing well. His medications have made a great difference in his behavior and relationships with other people. It took several years for him to realize he has bi polar disorder. Recently, his pre-teen son has also been diagnosed with the same mental illness.


Andre is now on probation, but he is complying with the terms. Some of his terms were to use services available through TCC and its IDD program. He attends a day program after he finishes his janitorial duties, has a service coordinator to identify his needs, and uses Community Support Services to help him with daily living needs. His previous service coordinator helped him search for and find a house. In the past Andre has needed help paying his bills on time and budgeting. TCC is his payee and things are taken care of in a timely manner. He is helped with his budgeting and taught how to use his budgeting skills when shopping. TCC is also helping him with reading lessons. He hopes to get his driver’s license after his reading is improved. There are many positive things in Andre’s life and he is looking forward to the future.


Other services available through Texoma Community Center are consumer benefits, continuity of services, intake/eligibility/diagnostic services, service authorization, service coordination, DADS waiver programs (HCS and TXHML), DADS ICFIDD residential program, in-home and family support, transition planning, adult day habilitation, behavioral support services, community support services, respite services, and supported home living services. For more information call 903-957-4795.