It seems that too often in today’s society, priorities are backwards. Parents of people with disabilities are not given the real support and opportunities they truly need to live their lives and grow and develop into the healthy-minded people they choose to become. People with Cerebral Palsy are no different. We need to flourish too! We need a set of circumstances that makes this possible. A set of occasions, moments, and options to make potential, hopes, and dreams happen. We need to open new doors and seek out new avenues to make these ideas achievable, so that those with disabilities can engage in activities and interests that spark a desire, that foster motivation…. that give our lives meaning!
Instead, the money allotted is wasted. Little really goes toward nurturing and developing our disabled children’s hearts and minds. Parents try to speak up, be an advocate for their child’s needs. They try to work through the noise and chatter, but is anyone really listening?
Experts in the field, who have attained so-called “special skills” to work with the disabled and their families, are obsolete. They try to guide our children with their scholarly thinking, but have little or no insight regarding what it is to live or be impaired with a physical disability. Their methods and ideas are old fashioned, outmoded, and out of date. These experts, who are not directly involved, make (or try to make) decisions for our children, along with both young and older adults, based on temporary conveniences, quick fixes, and what they “think” might be best for that individual. They try to push their own specific belief onto the child and the parent.
As the daughter of a very progressive parent, raised in the 1950s with Cerebral Palsy, I know firsthand how my mother did everything in her power to make me the best person I could become. She wasn’t intimidated by the experts, she wasn’t silent, and she didn’t stop pushing to be heard.
When will our educators, counselors, and social workers be willing to start listening to us, to face us? When will they answer our hard questions? When will they master new tools to use? When will they stand up to the truths that harm and hurt and that no longer work for our children with disabilities? When are they really going to give more of themselves than they take? When are they going to listen to our cry and be more sensitive to our voices? When will they be taught and trained to be quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences? It isn’t impossible, if we all have an open mind!
I will close with a quote from ESPN magazine that I found very poignant:
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
How will you choose? Will you take the dare?