Gail Goldsmith has been a case manager at Northern Lakes Community Mental Health for 21 years. Not an easy job but the right one. "I was meant to do it," she says. "When I was about 16, I met a girl who was autistic and took her to the playground. She screamed a lot but for some reason it didn't bother me."
Today, Gail is responsible for developmentally disabled children. "They need help getting around or with speech or maybe learning to take care of themselves," she says. "I work with their parents and encourage them to let the child be as independent as possible."
The general public needs to be better educated, too, she says. "When you work in this world, you're more aware of accessibility issues-such as the pop machine being in the way of the bathroom." Other situations are much more difficult, Gail admits. "Sometimes I can't help," she says, "and sometimes children die."
She also experiences success. "It's progress when someone goes from severe behaviors to riding the bus with no assistance," she says. "I have a kid who has some significant challenges and now he's going to be graduating. And he'll be working."