Tag - disabilities

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Disability Awareness
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I Lied To My Child About Back To School For A Good Reason
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You Want A Child With A Disability In Your Kid’s Class
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Because She Was
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Team Canada (Special Abilities Division) World Cheerleading Champions

Disability Awareness

The hashtag #disabilityawareness is a curious one. I mean, if you have a disability or love someone who does, you are well aware. But alas, making others aware is the point of such social campaigns. You might think you understand what it’s like living with an intellectual or physical disability. But, unless it’s your reality, you don’t know. Not truly. Last week was the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities.” It’s a day, primarily on the internet, created as a means to celebrate differences and to educate about life with disabilities. It’s also an opportunity to discuss what it means to be ableist. As the parent of a child with a disability, I’m learning to embrace the words disability and disabled. I’m of the “special needs mom” generation. But, it turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. Yes, I referred to myself as an old dog in this scenario. Avery’s class honoured the day by each sharing a bit about their particular disabilities. Here is what my daughter proudly shared. While you’re here, I wrote this a few years ago about why disabilities are not “special needs.”

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I Lied To My Child About Back To School For A Good Reason

Today may have been a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t? But it certainly felt wrong at the time. But maybe it ended up okay after all?? I’m second guessing the crap out of my parenting choices these days. We’re keeping our youngest home from school this fall. We were rock solid in our decision. But now I’m not as sure. Our daughter should be entering her first year of high school in a Community Pathways Program (aka Spec Ed/Lifeskills) this year. We’re keeping her home for obvious reasons—health risks, what about masks, social distancing is difficult for her, I’m home anyway, blah blah etc.  This cohort of grade nines who will be Avery’s classmates for the next seven years seem friendly and funny and full of spunk and personality. These kids are destined to become Avery’s “people” and it breaks my heart that we’re keeping her from them. Of course, that’s my heart speaking. My brain knows her place is safe at home. And when the time is right, she’ll go to school and it’ll be perfect.  A few weeks back Avery was invited to attend a virtual tour of her new high school. We declined. I mean, why rub salt in[…]

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You Want A Child With A Disability In Your Kid’s Class

Every parent should hope there’s a student with a disability in their child’s class. Your response to this might be, “Obviously. Being exposed to differences will help my child develop compassion and empathy.” It’s a no-brainer, I agree. But not all parents feel the same. Earlier this week I sat on a bench at a playground watching my daughter. At first glance you wouldn’t know she has special needs. It’s not until you hear her speak that her differences are revealed. But while she was running with the other children she blended in and I remained undetected as the special needs mom. This is probably why the woman next to me spoke openly to her friend about her displeasure at having a “special ed kid” in her son’s class. She didn’t name the grade, but I’m assuming by scanning the playground that her kid is in fourth or fifth grade. She complained that this student was disruptive. She said it was unfair that he required so much of the teacher’s attention. I don’t know the classroom situation so I can’t comment on that except to say that yes, when a child has behavioural challenges, it can be tough for everyone involved. And now larger[…]

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Because She Was

When I first met Shelley Brouwer on Instagram I felt her warmth instantly. She was genuinely interested in my daughter and happily cheered on each of Avery’s little victories. At the time I had no idea what Shelley had been through. Then one day she messaged me to say she had written a book about life with her daughter. She asked if she could send me a copy of Because She Was. I was hesitant to read it at first—through Shelley’s beautiful Instagram posts and blog, I’d already discovered the ending. I brought the book with me on a road trip and read it from cover to cover in a few short hours. I couldn’t put it down. As my husband drove and the kids were busy with tech and snacks in the backseat, I read and cried intermittently along with the windshield wipers. At one point my husband said cautiously, “Lis, I don’t know if you should be reading this…” He was worried because of the tears. And yes, parts of the story are heartbreaking, but I was completely drawn in. Shelley’s beautifully written story weaves forward and back in time, outlining the history of her family’s remarkable life. And though[…]

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Team Canada (Special Abilities Division) World Cheerleading Champions

When doctors express concerns about something being “wrong” with your new baby, you can’t believe it. You refuse to believe it. Looking down into your child’s perfect face, all you see is beautiful potential.  But when the chromosome test comes back, and you eventually accept that your child is in fact, imperfect (genetically speaking that is, because she is perfect in every other way), you make plans.  When you are the parent of a child with special needs, there are so many plans that need to be made—for her health, for her education, for her safety, for her development, for her future. All to ensure that despite her disabilities, she will have the chance to be the best version of herself and to, as they say, live her best life.  So we taught her (and ourselves) sign language. We took part in too many therapies and programs to mention. And when she expressed an interest in a sport or activity, we put our fears aside and let her try.  Last fall Avery joined the special abilities cheer team, Team PCT Eternity, at Power Cheer Toronto. Her excitement trumped my hesitation.  Lead by the most incredible team of coaches and volunteers,[…]

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