Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sooner Rather Than Later

Last evening, my oldest son and I planted our vegetable plants and herbs in our garden. We’ve had so much rain recently and more is planned, so getting the plants in the soil was a snap, and hopefully they will grow and flourish with the upcoming rains. We put in tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers, squash and several different herb plants. As we finished up with the tomato plants, I pushed their big wire cages into place around them, and it was at that moment that one of our neighbors gave me a very strange look – almost a “Those tomato plants are only 2 inches high and you are putting that very large support around them” question. I know it does look a little strange around the baby plants now, but the wire supports will help the plants as they get larger and laden with luscious red tomatoes. And that made me think of my children with disabilities.

Just as I put the tomato supports in place when my plants are tiny, I worked very hard to put supports in place for my children when they were tiny. I encountered many strange looks and battles from people who thought it silly of me to want literacy instruction, for example, when my blind daughter was only 2 years old, or physical therapy for my oldest daughter who had been unable to walk since birth. Many of the professionals I encountered seemed to think a waiting attitude was more appropriate than an action attitude. But I strongly disagreed.

So, when my children and I are eating our juicy, tasty red tomatoes – when we are having conversations around the dinner table – when we are planning our walking trip to Williamsburg, I will remember those people who doubted – those people who believed I was asking for too much too soon. They were wrong – and they are still wrong if they think I will not strongly advocate for my children…and my tomatoes!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can relate to this. Why do people think a child like M or A don't need certain things like literary instruction? I have heard many times parents complaining about the "special needs" kids taking up all the time in the classroom. One time a friend of mine said that to me....her precious little "gifted" girl was being held back by the "special" kids. Apparently she forgot who she was talking to.