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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Disability doesn't mean denying dreams.

"I HAVE A DREAM!
Horse-riding, kombiing through Central Aust, safari in Africa, helping people in need, seeing lots of the world...."






Oh hang on that's MY dream...not my children's dream.....

If there is one thing I find very strange about many people when they have children is they often inadvertently place their own dream and aspirations onto their children.

I know my parents did this for me & because their dreams were nowhere on my radar of life, they are disappointed in me and nurse some very ripe resentments.  

"I vowed I would never put that pressure on my children and I believe I have been pretty successful in that department. One of my biggest dreams was to have at least  or (preferably both) of my kids to have the same passion for horse riding as I do.."



NEITHER..of them have ever been the slightest bit interested...
and I pushed hard before realizing I was trying to get them to live my dream.


Shannon (my eldest)has always dreamed of travel and helping others less off than her. Yes, these are also my dreams BUT that is where the similarities end. 

I want to do these things with some ...OK...many creature comforts. Shan, on the other hand loves roughing it and getting down and dirty. She has no interest what-so-ever in money and only wants enough to get by with.

In one way, I may well be partly responsible for her love of travel, as I bundled her into a Kombi van when she was 18months old (not even toilet trained) and headed off into the sunset, wandering around this fine land we call Australia.

"When Miss Chloe arrived in this world, I had big dreams of her being fully integrated & becoming independent."



Well, I am here to tell you, when it came to 'never having any child of mine attend Special School', I had to completely back down.

I was guided by some amazingly wise people who knew not to tell me things straight out, but to plant a seed and let it develop.

I got permission to have Chloe out of school an extra year. My thinking was, she would be more mature and better able to manage school with an extra year in kindergarten.

When school shopping, it was gently suggested I just 'have a look at' the 2 special schools in my area. For whatever reason, I did and what I found astonished me!!! 

The physical environment was inviting and beautiful. The principal and staff were friendly and interested... not only in me but in Chloe as well. Oh my God...they even spoke to her!!! This rarely happened with the mainstream schools.

 They had high expectations of the students and they had the extra specialists
(OT, Speechy, PT etc on staff). Chloe didn't need to compete with the mainstream kids with education, but she needed to socialize with them, so I integrated Chloe into mainstream holiday programs and other social activities. She had/has the best of both worlds.


After a very long argument with my ego, I bit the bullet and sent her there. For a short while I felt like a loser, a traitor, a failure and was embarrassed to tell people where she went.

This was only for a short time because Chloe not only settled in beautifully, she shone and over exceeded everyone expectations!!!

Chloe loves being in an environment with like minded people and I know now she would not have flourished in mainstream school.

She had a dream of driving. Well this did not make me feel warm & fuzzy, but I zipped my lips and decided to make her dream work for both of us.


"Miss Chloe is not a great reader,
so I bought her the Learners manual
and told her she has to be able to read
easily to be able to drive.
Over time, she decided
she Don't want to drive,
because she can't see well. 
But man, did her
reading & writing improve!!!"



  

"Another dream She had was to become a hairdresser. I bought her a hairdressing 
practice head for her 21st and her would 
do all sorts of amazing styles with it."
 

I have come to realize, as time has gone on that  I need to be listening to what my children say to me and encouraging them with their dreams...no matter how bazaar or uncomfortable it is for me.

I always said Chloe would NEVER work in a supported employment environment...well...Chloe WANTS to work in a supported environment. 

My reality is I don't have a right to force her to live by my goals and expectations. I have a moral duty to support and encourage her to live and achieve (or not) her own dreams.

One of my dreams is to drive around the outback. Chloe and I did a drive a few years ago & I was bluntly informed by her that she is a city girl and doesn't want to do any more...I can do it on my own....

The one dream Chloe and I share is her dream of living on her own, with her friends and we started working towards that one when she was born.




"After all isn't raising children all about teaching them to chase their dreams and feel great about themselves? I am very proud to say, Chloe is definitely in the above category and makes all my dreams come true"

 

 

www.suedymond.com

 

 

 

 

 

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