Sunday, July 15, 2012

the special needs battle Of and For perspective:Us Versus Them-WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE??

Greeetings my readers, for those of you anxiously waiting for an update on posts, well here it is.. this one is conflict theory based. For those of you not familiar with conflict theory paradigm, its founder was the same person who was responsible for the phenomenon known as Communism. Yes, you guessed it, Karl Marx. While i MUST take exception to his ideas about the uselessness of religion (due to the fact i am a man of faith, always have been and always will be), i do relate to his idea that the upper and lower classes struggle for dominance and control, which is the basic strife of society in his view. Enter the special needs funding cuts and what have you, and you definitely have a battle. There's a battle of ideas and attitudes about special needs. In my blog hopping i came across a comment Love that Max, where a person stated that she was told by a person she was having a conversation with that she wouldn't want special needs kids in the school because it would-get this-LOWER THE TEST SCORES OF THE SCHOOL. Not because she feared that the kids wouldnt be accepted, not because she felt that they would disrupt the environment of learning (which MIGHT actually be more valid concerns), but rather it made the school look poorer academically The commenter noted how she felt like her head would explode in anger, and I myself was incensed enough by the remark to not comment, but write an entire blogpost about this. Perhaps the person here was approaching the cynicism of Marx so the reference is apt. Indeed, the totalitarian regimes often were abandoning of people with special needs. In the blog post itself, the author related how she was having a conversation with a woman about autism and budget cuts and that money should only go to those with moderate to light autism versus sever autism because those with severe autism have less chance of benefiting society. Quite frankly, this utilitarian approach scares me. Every child regardless of ability or lack thereof deserves to receive any and all support they need to live the life to the FULL. THAT is where money should be spent, NOT on bridges that lead to nowhere, or buying a politician a Lear Jet. Some might argue that we have to take a rational approach to this, sort of like Rebecca Payne took in the Movie John Q when Mike Archibald was dying. So, in order to be rational then, we as a society have to be utilitarian? I think not. We lose our humanity, our sense of decency. It is this attitude that i have seen where people comment on YoutTube videos about special needs persons that they should be left to die, that they are burdens for society etc etc. if this is being rational, then I for one REFUSE to be rational. Why does there have to be a fight for those with disabilites? Why is there an us vs them mentality? It's like i said before, that either you get special needs or you dont, and if you do, you have either special needs yourself or you know someone who does. If you dont get it, you have the very real and scary potential to be crude and rude. IT is peopole like those that use the R word without regard to who they are insulting. It is very late here and i must bring this blogpost to a close. Please find below the link to the blogpost in question; be warned reading it may make one's blood boil. NOT because what the author says, but what other people say. But, it also may inspire hope. The blog writer, Ellen S, writes a very compelling blog about life with Max, an 8 year old with cerebral palsy. This has become one of my favorite blogs to read..highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Unexpected turns

Life often takes unexpected turns... case in point.. i was expecting to finish out the year substitute teaching and then go back to the special needs camp again this summer.. But, that all changed when I was offered a part-time job involving finding resources for people who need them. And I accepted, of course. I would be a fool not to take it, after all, its a regular 20 hour week job. It's just that i was attached to the special needs camp to a degree where i actually went through with withdrawal, and it took time to come to terms with the fact that i probably won't return to work there THIS summmer..there is always the hope of next summer. Another unexpected turn is that this job involves driving out of town, as far as an hour away on a semi-regular basis. Oh boy. Well, if i ever want to become independent in driving long distances (which I do) now is the time. Oh, for those of you who don't know, I do well enough driving independently around town and for relatively short distances (read: hour or less), but when it comes to driving say, 4 hours, ive never driven that far by myself. So, now is the time where i drive an hour and a half west of here and an hour south on a regular basis.

Also, ive thought a lot about where my life is leading. What will i do with my life after ive reached the goals ive set out for myself( pay off college debt). Will i obtain my goal of marriage? Of rasining a family? Of total independence, moving out of my parent's house? Of working as an occupational therapist? To be perfectly and utterly bluntly honest, I don't know. But what i do know is i will never give up striving to improve myself, even if the days seem like there are days where i feel so lazy i dont feel like doing the tasks i neeed to do.

As a cradle Catholic, i have a strong faith in God and i know He has a plan for me. It is that assurance alone that has brought me this far. I don't know if i would have made int through college without His help. Praying to him through the intercession of St Jude, patron saint of impossible causes seemed to help mounds. I found a focus i didnt have before. So, There is strength that i can have to overcome daily struggles.

To anyone who is reading this who may have a child with a disability, be it developmental or otherwise, autism or cp, etc, know this: You are not alone in your fight, and you do not bear your burdens alone. There are people who live the same struggles as you do. Keep up the good fight, fight for your child to the death, and NEVER give up hope, do not lose heart. For those of you who have a child recently diagnosed, i say this: take the doctor's words WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. Often times, doctors and other "experts" take a very pessimistic view of your child's quality of life. My mother was given the same bleak prognosis by either doctors or teachers or psychologists, i couldn't remember. My mom decided to ignore that bleak prognosis, and never discouraged me from following my aspirations and dreams. Look at the result: a 28 year old man, graduated from college, with a Bachelor's and an Associate degree, studied abroad in China, gainfully employed (part time, but still gainfully), driving independently, and working to pay off his loans in hopes of becoming an occupational therapist someday in order to help others with the same situation. I could have been like so many others i have rad about who are higher functioning who don't finish college. I could have thought, i can't go any farther, i might as well stop here. And those of you who have read my previous blog posts know that there were times that i didn't know if id make it through college. But, NO. I am a fighter. I see what i want in life and pray for God's grace and perseverance, and try my darnedest to LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL. It isn't always easy, but when is life ever easy?