Personal Strengths

A key component of the DDS mission includes the vision statement that “Individuals live, learn, work and enjoy community life in places where they can use their personal strengths, talents and passions.”

Research suggests that people who use their strengths in new and creative ways see a significant boost to their sense of happiness and well-being.  Identifying genuine strengths and using these skills and talents throughout the day holds the most promise for future development and enjoyment.  Working on weaknesses is not as much fun, but even tackling weaknesses is less draining when strengths are utilized – like using the strength of competitiveness to tackle a weakness by keeping track of your progress and competing with yourself to improve.

Successful implementation of a vision of personal strength occurs when family members, staff and other support persons change the focus from limitations and barriers to assets and gifts.  Imagine the difference in working with a person stuck on the question “What does this program have to offer me given all of my problems and challenges?” to working with someone engaged in the question “What do I have to offer the world and how do I go about finding the best place to utilize my strengths and gifts?”

The role of people who are supporting individuals with disabilities is to help individuals identify their talents, personal strengths and passions and to help locate activities and places where these assets can be utilized most effectively.  It is important to remember that just because someone is good at something doesn’t mean it is a strength.  Genuine strengths are energizing and bring a deep sense of meaning by facilitating connections to people who value the person for who they really are.  A successful strengths based approach results in the development of relationships that are meaningful and satisfying to the person.

Ideas to assist people with disabilities to use their strengths, talents and passions are listed below: