Showing posts with label nowhere near holland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nowhere near holland. Show all posts

July 7, 2015

Future Perfect

This week at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt:
I feel fear for Schuyler, so much so that it weighs down on me, probably more than most people realize and sometimes more than I think I can handle. The future is an oppressive thing for me, but every now and then, with Schuyler's help, I can allow myself to imagine that it might not be bad, that she might have a shot at being happy, and maybe, just maybe, so might I.

June 29, 2015

Assembling Schuyler's Armor

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
When things go wrong, when Schuyler meets up with someone who doesn't understand or care, when she hears the words meant to demean her or is simply treated with disregard, I think I've taken that as a larger affront than it probably is. They're not just hurting her feelings or standing in her way. I think on some level, they're tearing down her world. And that's something I simply can't let go unchallenged.

June 22, 2015

Untold Stories of the Secret Heart

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
There's so much that Schuyler is going to learn about her emotions, and the emotions of others. There's so much I want to tell her, the lessons I've learned the very hard way in my own life. I want to explain to her that her heart is fragile, but it's also tough, and that may not seem to make sense but one day she'll get it, when she thinks it's too broken to survive until she wakes the next morning and the morning after that and realizes that it perseveres. Somehow I want to tell her that she'll have people in her life who don't like her, and that's just part of life, but the hits that'll leave a mark won't come from them. They'll come from the people she loves, and who maybe even love her, but who won't be careful with her heart.

June 15, 2015

The Freedom of Summer

This morning at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
Summer is Schuyler's time to be herself. She doesn't know what that means, not exactly, and there is always the possibility of change, something that scares the adults in her life a lot more than it scares her. But given her own space and her own pace, she's got a pretty fair chance of beginning to put all the pieces together, and preparing for the chaotic and unpredictable life that awaits her.

Filing STAAR test results in the appropriate place.

June 9, 2015

Might Have Been

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
Schuyler is, by a country mile, the happiest human being I know. And it's not because she doesn't know any better. It's because she does. She gets the beautiful parts of the world, while I often only see the pain and the cruelty that it holds for her and for us all, I guess. Schuyler holds on to the aspects of the world that she cherishes, and she tries very hard to throw away the rest. I don't know if that's a plan for success or if it's going to bite her face off one day. I only know that it works for her, and it gets her through days both simple and complicated. 
And I know that in that regard, I envy my daughter very, very much. As I should. As should we all.

June 1, 2015

Transformation

This week, at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
Because she knows. Schuyler knows she's different. She senses it every time she verbalizes in public and gets that quizzical look from strangers. She absolutely knows it when she orders at a restaurant, her iPad reading her order aloud through a Bluetooth speaker with a crisp English accent, an accent specifically chosen because why not? Schuyler watches the kids around her grasp concepts that she has to work hard to handle, and she knows that this happens, the difference happens, because her brain isn't like everyone else's. In a world of special snowflakes, Schuyler is another thing altogether, and of this she is entirely conscious.

May 25, 2015

The Faith of Monkeys

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
When you see monkeys travel through the jungle, the thing that is most striking is their speed. They move fast, and when they release their grip on one vine, they are already reaching for another. They operate on faith. Faith that the jungle is healthy and the growth is consistent. Faith that there will be another vine waiting, and they won't reach out and find only air and a long drop to the jungle floor. It's not hard to imagine why parents of special needs kids might envy our monkey cousins and their confidence, and their faith that they won't fall.

May 18, 2015

A writer in the family

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
These days, Schuyler is interested in writing, which of course makes me happy in the most egotistical and selfish way. She writes, and not just for class but rather because she likes it. She wants to take her imagination and put it into motion. She doesn't usually write about herself or her own life, not just yet. Schuyler creates stories, almost always of the fairy tale variety, and she peoples them with heroes and villains and princes and queens, and monsters. Always monsters, usually antagonists but not always evil. Even now, she understands that sometimes the monsters of the world simply have their own agendas, and they need to be taken seriously.

May 12, 2015

Running the clock

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt:
We talk about this a lot, and I suppose I write about it pretty often, too. I won't apologize for the repetition; it's the colossal bugbear that haunts our thoughts and disrupts our sleep. Three years. Just three years remain before Schuyler is out of school. Three years to figure out what that looks like. One more year of high school, then two years of senior high. (Don't ask; her school district does things weirdly.) And then she's away, off on the next adventure. What that looks like, no one knows. But it's coming up fast, and that inevitability is beginning to inform more and more of her life.

May 4, 2015

Between Friends

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
Every now and then, Schuyler has the chance to connect with another AAC user. It doesn't happen as frequently as it once did, and certainly not as often as she would like. She doesn't have many classmates using AAC devices at school now; I think she might actually be the only one in her particular classes. She no longer has her tribe, which I suppose is as expected. She was always going to be an outlier. But when she finds herself with another user, she falls into a comfort zone that I can't even begin to understand in a meaningful way.

April 27, 2015

Tag Out

This morning, at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
I need to quit worrying about the people who are supposed to be helping our kids but aren't, or about the society that should be opening doors for them but is politely but firmly closing them instead. For just a little while, I need to step away from the fear, and from the sense of injustice and from the feeling that I am growing old at a far too rapid pace and that time is running out for me to be able to fix everything for my little girl before I go, because goddamn it, that's what fathers are supposed to do.

April 20, 2015

The Little Fish

This week at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
As parents of kids with disabilities, we step up to the big fights, and while they can be exhausting and definitely take their toll on us, I think in some way we prefer them to the alternative. The struggles that truly tear us down and leave us dispirited are the little ones, the tiny indignities that defy our long-developed skills for the Big Fight. They can't be confronted with a sword, and we're not necessarily adequately armed with flyswatters. We fear our children being eaten by alligators, only to discover that they are more likely to be devoured by little fish, one tiny bite at a time.

April 13, 2015

The Invitation Game

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
Sometimes I learn things about Schuyler the hard way. Important things. Things I feel like I should have figured out by myself. Often they're things she keeps to herself, little pieces of inner sadness that she silently holds in her pocket until the day comes when she hands one to me. I don't think she shares so that I can make those tiny sadnesses go away; at least I hope not, because otherwise I'm failing her miserably. I think Schuyler just wants to be heard, and for her anxieties to be aired once in a while. That seems fair.

April 6, 2015

Schuyler and the Big Questions

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
When speaking to groups where I know there are going to be a lot of people of faith present, I still talk about God. I talk about Faith and God and my own broken spirituality and what kids like Schuyler may be able to teach us about such things. I kick open the door to a conversation that isn't about convincing anyone or being convinced, either, but rather an exploration of perspectives that might just bring us all a little closer together. I'm not religious, and I'm certainly no Christian, but I don't need to be snotty about it and assume that believers won't listen to me or treat me with respect. I like those conversations. I try to draw them out with my speeches when it's appropriate.

March 31, 2015

Letter of the Law

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
Dignity isn't a treat for the fortunate. It's a basic human right, one that you get to put in your pocket the day you're born. It's not something you're granted by the world. It can't be given to you; it can only be taken away.

March 23, 2015

Dragons Transformed

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
Sometimes I don't have words for the things that keep me up at night, the things that keep so many special needs parents awake, staring at the ceiling. Institutions that don't adequately value the amazing human beings they've been entrusted with. Voices from the outside tearing us down, in the guise of civic concern or advocacy or just plain ugliness. And most of all that wordless thing waiting in the future, the one that scares us most of all because we can't see it, we can't even imagine it, and when we ponder it, we are reminded of our own aging frailties and a clock that feels like it's running out far, far too fast. I don't always know what to say about these lurking phantoms and monsters. I'm struggling with them myself.

March 16, 2015

F Word

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt:

For Schuyler, I don't think it's being different that bothers her. She'll proudly tell anyone who asks what church she goes to, for example, that she is a theist, which means she believes in God but not religion. In this town, that's a bold statement. But the difference of disability still rankles her. She can hear a thousand times that being different isn't a bad thing, and I'm pretty sure she even believes it, up to a point. But only just to that point, somewhere shy of emotional truth.

March 10, 2015

Families Don't

This week at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
When we talk about a disability community, what I think we're really describing is a family of sorts. Much like family, very few of us actually chose this community as our own. We'd much rather be a part of the Easy Living On A Beach Somewhere Community, but this is the one we were handed, and we're mostly stronger for it. The beach still sounds nice, but whatever. Those families are soft.

March 2, 2015

The Separation Box

This week at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
This past week was IEP Week, which makes it sound a lot more fun than it is. (It can sometimes feel a little like Shark Week, probably for the wrong reasons.) Our experiences as special needs parents are incredibly varied and diverse, but it feels like for those of us with kids in public schools, the IEP is a universal hurdle. Sometimes it's a success story, but it's hardly ever an easy one. Many of us believe that in a perfect world, every public school student would have an Individualized Education Program. That's mostly because every student learns differently and would benefit greatly from such a focused and customized approach to their education. But there's this teeny tiny part of us that also just wants to share the fun with everyone. Misery loves company; anxiety does, too.

February 23, 2015

Dirty Bird

Today at Support for Special Needs:
Excerpt: 
I won't pretend that helping Schuyler program her device to sound like a George Carlin routine wasn't fun. But as I have been so many times of late, I was proud of Schuyler for taking another step in her journey towards independence and self-actualization. She understands, like any kid her age should, that saying those words in the wrong circumstances will result in a quick path to repercussions. The trick for her is going to be discovering the boundaries that she can push. If Schuyler is to truly own her prosthetic language as being truly her own, it's got to be without restriction. Helping her to take agency over her language possibilities doesn't make me a good father, any more than helping to give her the tools to drop an F bomb in class makes me a bad one.