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Your Child’s Future

by Mary Mazzoni on June 4, 2011

Does your limiting perspective prevent your child from discovering his passion?  That’s a really tough question, isn’t it?

Consider this.  In our culture, quality of  life means opportunity.  The chance to make choices, to express oneself, to connect with others, to keep learning, and to contribute to the greater good.

Quality of life doesn’t mean we can expect a “dream job” or a place on a team without meeting qualifications. It does mean having opportunities to discover our passions. I may not be employed in an orchestra pit or play in the school band, but I can make music for fun with others.

But how do I discover my passion for something if I’ve never tried it?  Why would I try something if I’ve ruled it out as a possibility before I even begin?

Does a “glass ceiling” impede your view when you consider the possibilities for people with disabilities?  Do you feel that your child’s options are constrained?  Does your child share this limiting perspective?

You and your child might like to explore the links below.  You’ll meet people with disabilities who lead full and happy lives.  They’re making choices for themselves within a wide range of possibilities.

Sports

This brief adaptive sports video is not for the faint of heart. People of all ages are full-out engaged in every sport you can imagine.

The Arts

Meet Sarah Stup, a published poet who happens to have autism and does not speak.

This short video shows Judith Snow, a disabilities advocate.  She paints using a head-mounted laser pointer that guides the brush strokes of another person.

The Axis Dance Company is one of a growing number of physically diverse dance troupes around the country that are exploring new and exciting frontiers in dance.  Their motto:  Everyone Can Dance!

The magic flute and adaptive use musical instrument software are just two of many innovations that make creative musical expression a reality for people with disabilities.

Changes

The short video “Changes” features adults with developmental disabilities sharing insights into their lives.  They speak confidently with their own voices and share glimpses into what matters most to them.

DO-IT Community

The DO-IT internet community and mentoring program connects teens who have disabilities with one another and with adult mentors who have disabilities.  The program is administered through the University of Washington and monitored for safety.  It’s available to teens throughout the country.

Disaboom

Disaboom is a site where people with all sorts of disabilities, and those who love them, can learn and blog and encourage each other, and share resources.  You’ll meet people with a limitless range of interests who are shaping full and happy lives for themselves. The vast resource directory has links for almost everything you can imagine.

It’s Your Child’s Life

This panoramic view opens our eyes.  We see that our child’s future is a broad horizon of possibilities, not a constrained short list of options.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that our kids will land their ultimate dream job.  Any more than the average high school basketball player is guaranteed a pro contract to make millions.  It does mean that our kids with disabilities can enter into the whole wide world of adolescence.  They can explore their passions and build a rich life for themselves as they learn to make informed choices along the way.

There are ways for people with all sorts of disabilities to develop their skills, to contribute to their communities,  and connect with others who share their interests.

Let’s breathe deep of the expansive view we’ve seen here.  Let’s help our kids learn self determination skills so they can set goals for themselves and enjoy a rich life pursuing what maters most to them.

Comments?  What are your thoughts as you look around at the view from here?



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