Arc Baltimore honors intern for service to Dundalk Center
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:04
 by Nicole Rodman

    Janice Toothman perseveres in the face of a challenge.
    She has lived with congenital defects and illnesses that have led her to go blind and mostly deaf, yet she does not let that slow her down.
    Now, Toothman’s drive to succeed has earned her an award from The Arc Baltimore.
    A psychology graduate student at Towson University, Toothman feels compelled to help others facing their own challenges.
    “I wanted to become a psychologist so that I could help others cope with psychological effects of living with their disabilities or chronic medical conditions,” she explained.
    Toothman came to The Arc Baltimore’s Dundalk Center as an intern last September. Her internship ended in May.
    At the Dundalk Center, Toothman counseled clients, wrote case notes and participated in client meetings.
    Through it all, she never let her disabilities slow her down.
    She used a braille note-taking device to write up case notes, do web searches and send e-mails.
    She also used a personal FM system, consisting of a microphone that clients would wear, in order to hear clients clearly during counseling sessions.
    Toothman also overcame personal adversity during her internship, including repeated hospitalizations and the death of her sister.
    She returned to the Dundalk Center each time, eager to continue helping her clients.
    “I empathized with the clients at the Arc Baltimore in Dundalk,” she explained. “I know what it is like to feel powerless and to feel you have no control over your own life.”
    Toothman’s dedication did not go unnoticed.
    Sandy Shiflett, director of the Dundalk Center, nominated Toothman for The Arc Baltimore’s Intern Service Award.
    Toothman received the honor during a recent ceremony.
    “I thought she was outstanding,” Shif-lett said of Toothman.
    “With all of her disabilities, she was able to communicate with our individuals here.”
    Toothman is quick to note that she had much support along the way, including help from Shiflett, her supervisor Karyn Harvey, Arc receptionist Tony Ciampaglia, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program and the National Federation for the Blind.
    She also credits her faith for keeping her strong.
    Toothman is now looking for a paid position so that she can earn her counseling license.
    Though she is moving on, Toothman will always look back fondly on her time at The Arc Baltimore’s Dundalk Center.