Thursday, May 27, 2010

Children, parents

Today I was on a conference call where we were discussing a program to teach daycare centers the basics of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Some things have been started - drafts - they are interesting. Immediately memories came flashing at me. And something was missing. There was a lot in there about children with disabilities. And there should be. There was generic stuff about the ADA in there and how the daycare centers fit. And there should be that. There was nothing about parents with disabilities. I asked that they add this, as going through daycare, I really did feel like the ONLY parent with a disability. Someone else spoke - they knew another parent with a disability. Now there are at least 2 of us and I know there are others, scattered. It can be lonely.

The memories... When we moved to where we are now it was a bit odd. My daughter needed a new daycare. I always liked the home daycare, but I thought we'd check a center to explore. At that time I pushed my daughter's stroller like a walker. And upon entrance to the center, it was awkwarddddd... attempts not to stare at me. At a potential home daycare, I used my walker. Freak show central! The woman couldn't keep her eyes off the walker. I anticipated somehow being reported to child protective services due to the walker. And at one point I was lucky. I found the perfect home daycare. Then the woman running that went back to work, but she had us go to another lady who was awesome. So I thought I was very lucky.

In the elementary school category, it has just been ... strange. I think it might be where I live, but I am not sure. My daughter has had great teachers and the teachers have been great when I've talked to them. But outside that ... strange. Very few seem to want to talk. I start conversations but usually don't feel that I fit in. If someone else starts a conversation, it's generally an unusual question like, "Is it hard for you to get around on snow and ice?" Hmm... I am not sure what to make of all this. It's totally different than when I go almost anywhere else (well, especially if I leave where I live and drive to the next closest suburb) Going to the school is always awkward until I get into the classroom, with the kids. They don't seem impacted. They all know me. Last year I was greeted with hugs.

To kids, for the most part, I'm Lori's mom. Kids ask me good questions, and sometimes, unfortunately, I'm not in the mood (see "Anonymous"). But I try to hide the mood, because the questions are good.

And then there is Lori. She can be very understanding, or very verbal thinking she only does things (that all kids do) because my legs don't work. But Lori will educate others. She is constantly learning, constantly asking questions. She somehow has an understanding of how to treat people that I haven't formally taught her. She has somehow learned, and passes this along to her friends.

I think perhaps the best teachers may be the children. Children can teach about children with disabilities, but they can also teach about parents with disabilities. Or perhaps, adults can learn from children in terms of how to act, sometimes...

Children of God ... all of us.


Clare said...

I have found the whole school thing a little weird.
I am convinced people just cannot be them selves around me because of my sticks or sometimes my wheelchair.
My sons friends are far more understanding. They just ask why I have a stick etc and then thats it back to normal.
I think its what I like to call the bubble syndrome.People are stuck in their own little bubbles and feel uncomfortable popping out of it to say hello.
I think we are all the same even though we dont like to admit it.
We do judge people whether it be size, colour, disability etc.
We are at the end of the day human, humans that far from perfect and slip up all the time.
I thank God I have an advocate(Jesus Christ who was perfect!).
One day we will be perfect and all our failures will be wiped away.

Ohh that was a long response for me lol. Unsure if it made sense lol.

ms'er faith said...

It made sense - I like "bubble syndrome." It's more evident in some places than in others and I'm not sure why. Comforting that someone else has found the same thing. Church seems totally different - why? Maybe it's because of where I go to church?