One of the gifts Ive received via blogging online has been to meet so many wonderful parents of children with disabilities. These are people I may otherwise not have met.
When I read Kathryn's introduction to the disability carnival yesterday, where she spoke about learning about disability from people in the disability community who have disabilities, I was struck by the fact that I've never written about all I've learned from people like her. There are many of them online-some of them regular readers and others who stop by once in a while.
I want all of them to know-and I want everybody to know-what a wealth of information and resources parents of kids with disabilities carry with them. They are advocates, nurses, research scholars, teachers and professors, doctors, lawyers, cashiers, secretaries, waitresses and more. Some are stay-at-home moms, and some are single parents. These parents often raise children with disabilities in spite of obstacles faced that involve financial, legal and medical hurdles.
These parents are resourceful and creative because they learn quickly that they have to navigate the system, often at times only with the help of other parents. Sometimes they have to do this when they are tired, stressed and raising a number of children without disabilities who also require their attention.
They want the best for their kids, but they also want their children to have manageable lives. This doesn't always mean they agree with the IEP programs set out for their children and sometimes they are at odds with educators about what is best for their kids. Sometimes they are, I've learned, at odds with each other and disagree on issues just like the rest of the disability community.
Why should they be any different? After all, one of the things I love about the disability community is its diversity and its ability to include people, even when we live different lives and have different perspectives. When East meets West is really when we learn the most.
So may I say thank you to all of you parents for teaching me about your perspective. My understanding of living with a disability is enhanced because you have shared your experiences and writings with me and with many others. As the disability community grows online, I hope more and more people read blogs written by parents of children with disabilities. It will give you an understanding of disability issues and experiences that is necessary for all of us to have if we are going to be able to relate to each other.