Saturday, April 25, 2009

'A Journey of 1000 Miles'

I attended a Learning Disability Conference today.

The speaker, Rick Lavoie, has quite an impressive and extensive resume in the field of special education.

His topicwas The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child. I suppose I was in good company considering that he has delivered his message to over 500,000 parents and professionals throughout North America. You can read a little more about that (and him) here, if you're so inclined.

But I will say that he was a very good speaker. And, it was in that regard, that I wanted to share something with you.

As an aside though, despite being neither a Republican (thank goodness) nor a Democrat (thank goodness again), I must say that I have, on occasion, been impressed by Sara Palin, particularly when it comes to issues around disability. For example, you might recall this post and video which, if you haven't yet seen the video yet, I would highly recommend it.

But Lavoie told a story today of how he was asked to write a newspaper piece during this past US Presidential election with his thoughts on Governor Palin's promise to be a champion for "special needs families" because she "knows what they are going through".

He shared with us his response, which he now has posted on his website, and which I found truly amazing. And I must admit, did occasionally bring tears to me eyes.

As an advocate for families of handicapped children for over three decades, I have taken a special interest in the role that Trig Palin is playing in the Presidential campaign. Trig, now six months old, is nominee Sarah Palin’s son. He has Down Syndrome. Governor Palin often tells her audience that she will be a champion for “special needs families” because “she knows what you’re are going through.

With great respect and empathy, I must say, “Sorry, Governor, but you don’t.” You will…someday. But not now. Not yet.

Trig is – and always will be – a blessing in your family’s life. But, Governor, your journey has just begun. You will understand…someday. But between that day and today, there will be a lot of other “somedays.”

Someday…you and your family will spend stressful hours in a hospital waiting room while Trig undergoes corrective surgery. The doctors will call it “routine” … but that characterization will seem foreign and insensitive to you.

Someday…a relative or “close friend” will suggest that Trig not be brought to a holiday function because “it may be too much for him to handle.” Your relationship with that person will never be exactly the same again.

Someday…some stranger in a store will stare at him and ask an insensitive and Intrusive question. Startled, you will give a bland response. But for several days after the incident, you will generate great and clever retorts that you “should have said." (By the way, you won’t be able to recall these “clever retorts” the next time this occurs).
Go read all of it.

And watch what for some of us comprises our world, our reaities unfold before your very eyes.


Punkys Dilemma said...

It sent chills down my back and arms, it did. Thanks for this.
I had to giggle at his comment.

"(By the way, you won’t be able to recall these “clever retorts” the next time this occurs)."
I'm forever thinking of things to say after the fact, with many sleepless nights. And forgetting the clever retort I promised myself the next time we were approached.

Mind if I borrow his speech?
Thank you for the reality check.

Casdok said...

Sounds intereting! So will read more!