Ingrid Jimenez is a 38-year old woman who was born in the Dominican
Republic. Ingrid developed Maccum Albrights Disease at the age of
8 months. Maccum Albrights is a disease that affects the growth of
the skeletal system. It causes bones to easily fracture and is most
commonly seen in females.
Due to limited medical resources in the Dominican
Republic at the time, Ingrid and her family moved to New York to
be able to provide her with the medical care she required.
Lack of Communication
Ingrid spent her first three months in New York at
Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after undergoing surgery. She had
a rough time at the hospital due to the language barrier. At the
time there were not many Spanish speaking nurses or doctors. Ingrid
had to use gestures in order to communicate with the hospital staff.
Due to the frustration she felt about not being able
to express herself verbally, she began to have behavioral problems
at the hospital. Ingrid's behavioral problems ended after
receiving tutoring from a Spanish speaking teacher. Ingrid learned
English and began to communicate with her doctors and nurses. She
also made friends with the other patients.
Difficult Integration in School
Ingrid went on to school where she attended special
education classes. Although she made friends with other disabled
students, the non-disabled children at school and her neighborhood
did not accept her.
Ingrid had a difficult time during her younger years
due to her disability and adjusting to a new culture. Ingrid's
life changed during her high school years. Her disability was stabilized
and she moved with her family to a new neighborhood in Queens, New
York. She attended a school that was more accepting of her disability.
Ingrid was integrated with non-disabled students who did not treat
her differently because of her disability. While in high school,
Ingrid overcame a few obstacles in her life such as learning how
to drive and studying nursing.
Beginning to Work
After graduating from high school, Ingrid attended
a business training school for disabled people where she majored
in clerical and secretarial studies. During this time Ingrid also
worked at a home health agency for nurses doing data entry. She
later went on to work at the Harlem Independent Living Center as
an Office Manager for about 4 years. While working at HILC she realized
she was not alone and became sensitive to the needs of other disabled
individuals. Ingrid learned how to advocate for herself. She moved
into her own apartment and bought a car. She showed her family she
could be an independent woman.
Ingrid stated she feels like "una mujer realizada"
(a fulfilled woman). Ingrid currently assists elderly residents
in her apartment complex as a translator at appointments and running
errands. She's also self-employed creating decorations for
parties and bridal showers.
Ingrid's Advice: "If you are a disabled
person your life has not ended, it has just begun. Do for yourself."