Mini-Posters – Also suitable for printing and giving are four fun CD-box-sized mini-posters: “22 Ways to Love Your Child,” “Take a Day Off,” “A Special-Needs Parent’s Wish List,” and “IEP Meeting Alert Levels.” – http://specialchildren.about.com/od/needinspiration/ig/To-Do-Lists/?nl=1
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” (Albert Einstein)
“The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears.” (Ellen Goodman)
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault
“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” -Thomas Carlyle
“Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway!” -John Wayne
“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” -Dalai Lama
“If you’ve told a child a thousand times and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is the slow learner.” -Walter Barbee
“What lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Children remind us to treasure the smallest of gifts, even in the most difficult times.” – Allen Klein
“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter the way you meet them.” (Phyllis Bottome)
“G-d doesn’t give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with Down syndrome doesn’t TAKE a special family, it MAKES a special family.” – Anonymous
If I had my child to raise over again
If I had my child to raise over again
I’d build self-esteem first and the house later
I’d finger paint more and point the finger less
I would do less correcting and more connecting
I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites
I’d stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I’d do more hugging and less tugging
I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often
I would be firm less often and affirm much more
I’d model less about the love of power
And more about the power of love.
Heaven’s Very Special Child
by Edna Massimilla
A meeting was held quite far from Earth.
It was time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the Lord above-
“This special child will need much love
“Her progress may be very slow
“Accomplishment she may not show.
“And she’ll require extra care
“From the folks she meets down there.
“She may not run or laugh or play
“Her thoughts may seem quite far away
“So many times she will be labeled
‘different, helpless and disabled’.
“So, let’s be careful where she’s sent
“We want her life to be content.
“Please, Lord, find the parents who
“Will do a special job for you.
“They will not realize right away
“The leading role they are asked to play.
“But with this child sent from above
“Comes stronger faith and richer love.
“And soon they’ll know the privilege given
“In caring from their gift from heaven.
“Their precious charge so meek and mild
“Is heaven’s very special child.
The Power of Believing
(An oath for professionals who worked with students with severe and/or multiple disabilities)
1. Believe that all students can learn and have the right to.
2. Believe that all students can communicate and have the right to.
3. Believe that all students have the right to choose and should be given the opportunity to do so.
4. Believe that there is always hope.
5. Believe that small miracles are the best.
6. Believe that all movements, signals, cries, and gestures are a form of communication.
7. Believe in patience.
8. Believe each individual has something positive and valuable to share with you.
9. Believe that if there is a will there is a way.
10. Believe that you have something positive to give to individuals with severe and multiple disabilities.
11. Believe that all students need to be cognitively challenged.
12. Believe that if you believe that the child will believe.
@2001, Creative Communicating. This article was taken from a work in progress by Pati King-DeBaum titled “The Power of Communication”.
A Quote from Mr. Rogers
Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” was not only a friendly face on television for children everywhere, but was also a great advocate for kids with all kinds of challenges. He once said,
“No child is ‘perfectly’ whole in mind, body, spirit, ability… nor can any child meet all of a parent’s hopes and expectations. Yet there is a wholeness of each and every child, a wholeness that is unique and brings with it a unique set of possibilities and limitations, a unique set of opportunities for fulfillment.”
God Chooses a Mom for a Disabled Child
by Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit. This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth; son; patron saint, Matthew.”
“Forrester, Marjorie; daughter; patron saint, Cecelia.”
“Rudledge, Carrie; twins; patron saint… give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God.
“Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”
“But has she patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence. She’ll have to teach the child to live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles. “No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, there is a woman I will bless with a child less then perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word.’ She will never consider a ‘step’ ordinary. When her child says ‘Momma’ for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.
“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see — ignorance, cruelty, prejudice — and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”
“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in midair.
God smiles. ” A mirror will suffice.”
Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
Celebrating Holland – I’m Home
By Cathy Anthony
(my follow-up to the original \Welcome to Holland\ by Emily Perl Kingsley)
I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I’d planned.I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger, the pain and uncertainty. Inthose first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.
I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.
Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn’t so bad.
I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I’ve wondered what life would have been like if I’d landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?
Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.
I have come to love Holland and call it Home.
I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn’t matter where you land. What’s more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.
Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn’t planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!
I am the Child
I am the child who cannot talk. You often pity me, I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of — I see that as well. I am aware of much — whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do.
You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world’s standards — great strides in development that you can credit yourself; I do not give you understanding as you know it.
What I give you is so much more valuable — I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine; the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. I am the child who cannot talk.
I am the child who cannot walk. The world seems to pass me by. You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children. There is much you take for granted. I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom, oh I’ve dropped my fork again. I am dependent on you in these ways. My gift to you is to make you more aware of your great fortune, your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself. Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent. I give you awareness. I am the child who cannot walk.
I am the child who is mentally impaired. I don’t learn easily, if you judge me by the world’s measuring stick, what I do know is infinite joy in simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the strife and conflicts of a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity. I am the child who is mentally impaired.
I am the disabled child. I am your teacher. If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you. I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted. I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams. I teach you giving. Most of all I teach you hope and faith. I am the disabled child. – Author Unknown
Special Child by Sharon Harris
You weren’t like other children,
And God was well aware,
You’d need a caring family,
With love enough to share.
And so He sent you to us,
And much to our surprise,
You haven’t been a challenge,
But a blessing in disguise.
You winning smiles and laughter,
The pleasures you impart,
Far outweigh your special needs,
And melt the coldest heart.
We’re proud that we’ve been chosen,
To help you learn and grow,
The joy that you have brought us,
Is more than you can know.
A precious gift from Heaven,
A treasure from above,
A child who’s taught us many things,
But most of all – “Real Love”
Different Like Me by Kathleen Freeman
My name is Thomas and I’m different you see,
But a whole lot of others are different like me.
There are kids different colors and kids different sizes,
Kids who win contests and kids who win prizes.
Kids good at math, science, spelling or reading,
Kids good with drawing, at games, or at beading.
There are kids who catch baseballs, and kids not so fast,
Kids scared of nighttime, or dreams from their past.
There are kids who feel squashed when their pants are too tight,
And kids who feel itchy when a tag isn’t right.
There are kids who will wiggle, both sons and daughters,
There are kids who are thinkers, designers and plotters.
There are kids who spin round, or jiggle their hands,
And kids who have crowded teeth in bands.
There are kids who dance, and kids who sing,
Kids who learn about most everything.
Some are in wheelchairs and some kids get sick,
That’s just how we are, and we don’t get to pick.
And some kids remember and some kids forget,
Some kids are glued to their TV set.
Some kids read maps, and some don’t, I bet.
That’s how we were made, and you get what you get.
Some kids pretend, and some like things real,
But really it isn’t that big of a deal.
My name is Thomas and I’m different they say,
My friends are all too, and I like it that way.
I Saw A Child
I saw a child who couldn’t walk,
sit on a horse, laugh and talk
Then ride it through a field of daisies
and yet he could not walk unaided.
I saw a child, no legs below,
sit on a horse and make it go
through the woods of green
and places he had never been
to sit and stare,
except from a chair.
I saw a child who could only crawl,
mount a horse and sit up tall.
Put it through degrees of paces
and laugh at the wonder in our faces.
I saw a child born into strife,
take up and hold the reins of life,
and that same child was heard to say…
Thank God for showing me the way.
-John Anthony Davies
A Walk in My Shoes by C. Waeltermann, 2007
Twas the Night Before Christmas
And all through the house
The creatures were stirring
Yes, even the mouse
We tried melatonin
And gave a hot bath
But the holiday jitters
They always distract
The children were finally
All nestled in bed
When nightmares of terror
Ran through my OWN head
Did I get the right gift
The right color
Would there be a tantrum
Or even, maybe, a smile?
Our relatives come
But they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets
Just from flapping his hands.
“He needs discipline,” they say
“Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent..”
And on goes the attack
We smile and nod
Because we know deep inside
The argument is moot
Let them all take a side
We know what it’s like
To live with the spectrum
The struggles and triumphs
Achievements, regressions. .
But what they don’t know
And what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel
He said “hello”
He ate something green!
He told his first lie!
He did not cause a scene!
He peed on the potty
Who cares if he’s ten,
He stopped saying the same thing
Again and again!
Others don’t realize
Just how we can cope
How we bravely hang on
At the end of our rope
But what they don’t see
Is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with Autism
Make the tiniest stride
We may look at others
Without the problems we face
With jealousy, hatred
Or even distaste,
But what they don’t know
Nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism
We don’t get excited
Over expensive things
We jump for joy
With the progress work brings
Children with autism
Try hard every day
That they make us proud
More than words can say.
They work even harder
Than you or I
To achieve something small
To reach a star in the sky
So to those who don’t get it
Or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes
And I’ll assure you.
That even 10 minutes
Into the walk
You’ll look at me
With respect, even shock.
You will realize
What it is I go through
And the next time you judge
I can assure you
That you won’t say a thing
You’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did
When the tables were turned
The Parable of A Cracked Pot – Author Unknown
A water bearer in Babylon had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it up a bit.
But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I put it to good use. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table.
Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
The moral of the story: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. In this world, nothing goes to waste. You may think like the cracked pot that you are inefficient or useless in certain areas of your life, but somehow these flaws can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Remember, nobody is perfect.
Special Needs Christmas Carols
Mini-Posters Also suitable for printing and giving are four fun CD-box-sized mini-posters: “22 Ways to Love Your Child,” “Take a Day Off,” “A Special-Needs Parent’s Wish List,” and “IEP Meeting Alert Levels.” – http://specialchildren.about.com/od/needinspiration/ig/To-Do-Lists/?nl=1
Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
A story about how one deals with adversity.
Lists of Inspirational Books, Videos and Web Sites