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This Exit, No Return

A Reader’s Theatre, By Joy Cowdery continued...

Jill: School has always been a challenge. I want Mason’s teachers to know his name, strengths, abilities, hopes and dreams, and not just his diagnosis. I want people to know that their words, attitudes, and actions impact his life more than his disability. He has dreams, too…work at knowing them, knowing him for him, listen to him with your hearts. Don’t pity him; celebrate the truly magnificent child he is.

Karen: Professionals, yeah, well… they only know what books tell them, and my son, at least, didn’t come with an owner’s manual. I find myself observing other children and realizing we all do things in our own unique way. So what if my child learns in a different way. Who is to say what is the right way? Who are we to judge? If my child is happy and healthy, isn’t he successful? How should we measure success except by those criteria?

Susan: All teachers need to know that having a child with a disability is like having a child. The concerns may be directed differently to keep your child from being limited by artificial barriers, but the concerns that all parents have for their children are the same. I want my daughter to be healthy, happy, and successful. Period.

Beth Ann: I just want to say to all teachers: “As parents, we did not choose to have children with disabilities. As teachers, you chose your profession and as such, chose to teach all children. When you have a bad day at school, remember, you go home at the end of the day and weekends. When I have a bad day at home, I can’t call you to come and pick him up. So try to remember to work with me, not against me.”

Jill: I did not choose this bumpy road, nor at times do I enjoy it. I have even cursed God too many times to count. If I could make my son understand just one thing, this is what I would say to him, “You are my son and you are not disabled, but differently-abled. At the end of the day when I peek in on you and I hear your soft breathing and smell your sweet smell as I inhale deeply and thank God for giving me such a complete child who is closer to Him than any other person I know. You are a gift. I have never looked in another human being’s eyes but yours and seen nothing but innocence and pure love.” For everyone else, don’t pity my son. Help me celebrate the truly magnificent child he is and the wonderful adult he will become. One of my favorite sayings is this, “I thought I would have to teach my son about the world, it turns out I have to teach the world about my son. They see a boy who doesn’t speak, I see a miracle who doesn’t need words.”

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