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Patricia Whalen chapter 8


Chapter 1: Background and Early Career
Chapter 2: Pat Hired as School Nurse for Chester County ARC
Chapter 3: Tom Thumb Program, Looking for New Ways to Support Children in the Classroom and at Home
Chapter 4: Isolation of Families, Need for Services
Chapter 5: Looking for New Service Models
Chapter 6: Empowering Families, Infant Stimulation Program
Chapter 7: Buy-In from the Medical Community, First Step Program
Chapter 8: Pat Moves to Virginia, Leaves ARC of Chester County (you are here)
Chapter 9: Reflections on Work with Chester County ARC

transcript - entire interview

Patricia Whalen Interview (Word)

transcript - current chapter

20:02:34:19 - 20:06:05:14

Lisa: Pat, when and why did you leave the ARC of Chester County and your work with the First Step program?

Patricia: Well I left in September of 1977 because my husband was transferred. He received a promotion and he was transferred to Virginia and it was the accepted thing to move with him. I thought, briefly, about well maybe I could do something part-time. We talked about it at the office. Maybe if you, could you move to Maryland and maybe could split and you could drive up here and the answer was "no" so we moved to Virginia and had a very sad leave-taking here. I was very bereft without my program down there. For about two years I kind of sulked. I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to work for the Association. I worked for wonderful people who gave me wonderful freedom of opportunity to do this. I mean when you really think about it and you think about when I did it that they were, that the agency was so supportive of these little theories of mine that we could work with babies and this would be a good thing and not a bad thing and that we could do head control activities with newborns. That was really wonderful, and it wasn't only with the infant program. I do have to say that the Association also gave me plenty of opportunity to look at all areas of services that were being provided for the mentally retarded. I was able to go to Embreeville and Pennhurst to see the programs there; to take good from what was good and to be very glad that we were looking towards normalization and closing those institutions down because in my own personal opinion they needed to be closed down. It's not that everybody was unfeeling and uncaring but the end result was; it was warehousing and that isn't good and now we have group homes. I was able to be in on the beginnings of the group homes as it was taking place here in Chester County and pleased to see how that was going. The ARC continued to move into other areas; recreation for the older retarded child young adult and those were all things that I had had no experience with and so giving me an opportunity to see all of these things was marvelous. I certainly learned a lot about public health nursing from my outreach.

20:06:12:07 - 20:06:29:17

Patricia: So I will always be very grateful that my little resume came into the office there at 20 North High Street and somebody picked up the phone and called me and hired me.

20:06:29:25 - 20:07:44:25

Lisa: You said you were sad to leave and sulked around Virginia for a couple of years after leaving. Did your family understand the depths of your feeling and connection to the program?

Patricia: No, no they couldn't have because you know mom was mom and you know life goes on with the kid even if you have a job, you know? There was still the soccer game to get to and the drum lesson and all of that so they were pretty much taken up with was I available to drive them places. I don't mean to say they were callous. They knew. My daughter, I think, responded more. She was younger and she seemed to know a little bit more about mom is going off to do this and she would hear the different names and so forth so I think she maybe understood a little but more and of course she was there those first two years that I sulked in Virginia too so she understood that mom wasn't very happy but for my sons; they were busy. They were young teenage boys so they don't really care as long as the food is on the table.

20:07:46:16 - 20:08:48:01

Lisa: Did you continue to work with children with disabilities when you were in Virginia?

Patricia: No. I did work with HeadStart and in its own way HeadStart has children with disabilities because economic disabilities are very real. Poverty in Virginia, poverty for children, is devastating, okay, and it always will be. And if there's one thing that I would wish is that we could finally get a program that would solve some of this poverty with children because it's so devastating - Philadelphia Public Schools is just one example- but I never went back to work with children who were disabled. I went on into community health nursing and did a lot of hospice nursing and finished my career in hospice nursing.

20:08:48:15 - 20:09:19:25

Lisa: Why did you never go back to working with children with disabilities do you think?

Patricia: Because I left my heart in Chester County. Would that be the reason? I don't know. Because I think the opportunity that was given to me by the Association for Retarded Citizens in Chester County was so and I have to use the word 'unique', could never have been done again. I never could have found that again.

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