I try not to think about the future. The future is kinda scary to me. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Instead, I focus on the here and now. But if I’m really being honest with myself, I see a future where my son is cognitively limited in a world built for folks who aren’t.
I was recently on a panel discussing issues related to disability. This panel discussion was remarkably eye-opening. One of the panelists had Cerebral Palsy (CP) (just like my son). She talked about her college life and getting a job and whatnot. She was there with her partner and they had a beautiful, loving relationship.
Afterwards, I felt awful. I wondered (and am still wondering) whether I’m limiting my son by not wanting that for him. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely do want that for him, but at the same time, I’m preparing myself for a world where that might not be a possibility. It’s this fine line of hoping for the best but also making sure to roll with whatever punches come our way.
There’s a saying. "Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” This panel discussion made me realize that perhaps I need to push my son a little bit harder. Sure, he might not be in position to go to college. But what if he is? Do I want to be the one that held him back?
This is one of the things I struggle with most. How do I set high expectations for my son without creating unreasonable goals? It’s different for my other two kids. I have a decent idea of what they’re capable of. But I have no idea for my middle son! And the truth is that maybe I err too much on the side of caution.
So this is my commitment. I don’t know that I’m at a place where I can throw caution to the wind and not worry about the future. But I think I’m going to be a little less careful. And instead, approach my son as if he’s a blank slate. I’m going to push him to be the best him that he can possibly be.
Helping your child build their independence is a step toward reaching their best.
Before I had my son, I was a special education teacher. I was one of those teachers who believed that these "special" kids needed to be kept safe. After teaching in a self-contained special education class, my views slowly started to change.
Without all the legal documents, we can’t be sure our children who have special health care needs will get the care and services they need if something happens to us. Final plans are not fun, but will make a huge difference in your child’s future.
Categories: Family Support