Born and raised in Nigeria, Adedapo Laditan came to the United States to pursue higher education in information systems and sciences when his job search took an unexpected turn which led him to work in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
He began his career as a weekend counselor at a nonprofit agency, eventually working his way up to become the Senior Director for Adult Services at Benedictine.
At Benedictine, Ade oversees two programs: the adult residential program and the adult day services program. The organization currently supports 98 adults in these programs, emphasizing their right to live fulfilling lives and contribute to their community, just like anyone else.
Benedictine actively promotes this belief through a process called person-centered planning. Each individual’s preferences, interests, and strengths are considered when matching them with potential employment opportunities in the community. Benedictine also offers skill-building programs to help individuals meet the needs of local businesses.
As a result, many of the adults supported by Benedictine have found meaningful employment in various sectors, including graphic design, hospitality, and retail. Currently, about 20 individuals are employed in the community, with varying levels of independence and support from Benedictine.
Despite the success stories, there are still challenges in finding businesses willing to collaborate and provide opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Often, the problem lies in a lack of understanding and education about the valuable contributions these individuals can bring to the workplace.
To bridge this gap, Benedictine works closely with local businesses to ensure that they add value to their operations while addressing their concerns about potential barriers. By showcasing the benefits of diversity in the workplace, Benedictine hopes to create more opportunities for their community members.
Ade envisions a near future where individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are fully integrated into society, enjoying the same experiences as those without disabilities. By breaking down barriers and fostering acceptance, Benedictine is paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse community.
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