Say hello to Joe B…

Meet Joe Broomall, Dinosaur Expert! 

Joe Broomall fell in love with dinosaurs the first time he saw Barney on TV. He was 4 years old. Now, at 26, Joe is a dinosaur expert. His interest in dinosaurs has served him well over the years. When he had difficulty learning to read, he worked hard to read books about dinosaurs. When he was older, it was his love for dinosaurs that motivated him to learn to use the internet and to use video equipment to make his own dinosaur movies. He has also learned to budget his money so he can make purchases to add to his large collection of dinosaur models, replicas, and actual fossils. By visiting the Mid-America Paleontology Society Expo in Illinois with his family each year, Joe has been able to overcome his dislike of crowds and long lines to find more items for his collection. Joe’s dream is to go on a dinosaur dig. 

When Joe was offered the Family Support Waiver in 2010, he wasn't sure it was for him, but his parents urged him to give it a try. Joe didn't have many friends and spent much of his time in his room with his dinosaur collection. Joe and his parents have chosen Developmental Services, Inc. to provide individual and community habilitation. IPMG provides case management. 

Joe wanted to have volunteer experience to help him prepare for eventual employment. Joe found his dream volunteer job! With the assistance of CHIO Support Staff, Debra Carmer, Joe interviewed and was selected to work in the Paleo Prep Lab in the Indianapolis Children’s Museum’s Dinosphere. Joe dons a lab coat and goggles and becomes an amateur paleontologist when he and Deb make the 80-mile round trip journey once each week. Joe works behind the scenes in the “personnel only” lab using actual paleontology tools to help clean dinosaur bones. Visitors to the museum can watch Joe work through a window looking into the lab. He also answers visitors’ questions. Joe modestly reported that he was able to answer some questions that baffled others. 

The Children’s Museum will soon train Joe to present a mobile exhibit of artifacts to museum guests. He will have the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for dinosaurs and answer their questions. 

Through community group habilitation, Joe has made friends with 3 other young men who live in his community. Not only do they plan and participate in activities with waiver support staff, they arrange things to do together during their free time. On one occasion the men visited the Children’s Museum, and Joe was able to show them where he works. 

Joe’s interdisciplinary team considers his volunteer job to be a means to increased self-confidence, improved communication, public speaking, and social skills, as well as, an opportunity to gain vocational skills. Joe just calls it, “The most fun thing I've ever done.”