March 15, 2010
I remember being a senior in high school and being so excited about getting my high school ring. It was 10K gold and had a white stone (for April’s birthstone) and my initials in the inside. There wasn’t alot of choices; boys or girls, birthstone and whether you wanted your initials in the inside. I think it cost around $70 which was alot of money back then. Today, high school students don’t seem to get high school rings. I’m not sure why but that is what my son who is a senior told me. However, my son who attends a private school for students with special needs did get one. He was so excited to order it. But he instructed me not to spend alot of money. Well alot of money is subjective, right? I was thrilled to order his ring. It has his school mascot, the year he will graduate, a blue stone for the school color and his initials inside. He loves it! I am thrilled. The ring was ordered as a Chanukah gift for the small price of $195.00 and that was the inexpensive version.
I love my son’s school. They really work hard to give the students every opportunity to have all the things that students in regular education at public school have. They have a yearbook (another highlight), school rings, prom, dances, and sports teams/clinics. But they also have more. My younger son often remarks…I wish I could do that when his brother gets to have a special opportunity such as walking into town to have lunch at a restaraunt, or to go to the bank or to go on a special trip. What I often have to remind him is that those are opportunities for Community-based Instruction. He shrugs his shoulders and grumbles, but I know he really gets it.
Both of my sons are incredibly blessed in very different ways. Their presence in my life is a gift which I am thankful for almost everyday. My hope is they will realize this as they grow up to be the fine young men.
March 13, 2010
As a parent, I am in favor of vaccines for our children. Vaccines have been successful in eradicating diseases that have killed many children. Some examples are measles, mumps, and rubella. The vaccine is known as the MMR and is administered for the first time around the age of 15 months. Pediatricians recommend it and I concur. Both of my children had the vaccines. However, I understand the fears of new parents. There is the fear that there is a linkage between thimerosal and autism. My answer to this is continue to inoculate your children but split the vaccines. Give your child the vaccine so that they don’t get the disease. The vaccines can be individually (measles then mumps then rubella).
As parents we have a new fear…the reappearance of diseases once eradicated by vaccine. Measles is on the rise. It can be fatal. It spreads rapidly. My question is…is it fair to the general public to be put at risk because another parent choses not to innoculate their child? I don’t think it is fair. I believe the vaccines are safe. They have worked for years.
There have been many court cases regarding this debate. Today in the New York Times there is an article saying that three judges found no link between thimerosal and autism. Please check out this article and let me know what you think. I have provided the article name below.
Sandra Bishins, LSW
March 13, 2010
We Share the Same Fears
As parents of children with developmental disabilities, we share the same fears. Our experiences with our children are not the same as those of our friends. The differences may start during pregnancy, at birth or as our child ages. Differences may include if and when milestones are met, health issues, and most importantly “what is going to happen to my child as they get older”. This is where the fear comes in.
I know these fears. I understand these fears. I have these fears. I didn’t worry so much when my son was younger. He was a cute and friendly kid. He did well in public school until he didn’t. Then I found a private school and moved heaven and earth to get him into that school. I had the law on my side and I used it to get what was needed for my son. He is doing really well in school which is great. But here comes the fear….what is next? He has one more year in school and then he graduates. (I am thrilled that he is a summer baby or he would be graduating this year.)
I have some ideas about what might be next. He might work through a supported employment agency. The problem with that is that he does not have the ability or stamina to work full time. So then you have to paste together other programs to fill his day so that I can work outside the home. He might go to the day program associated with his school. The program runs during school hours so this would be a good option. It is a familiar setting with his peers and staff that he knows. But it is expensive….more on that later. Another concern regarding graduation, how does my son get to his program? How do we train him to use public transportation or Access Link?
What is the fear involved in this? Will he be safe? Will he be happy? Will he thrive, learn and be successful? These sound like the fears of parents sending their children to college, right? The big difference is our children are vulnerable. They can’t fend for themselves. They can be taken advantage of by strangers. It’s the natural instinct of a parent to want to protect their child. Despite the chronological age being that of an adult, our children do not behave the same as their like-aged peers. They need protection.
What is our biggest fear as parents of children with special needs children? We all know what it is but we don’t want to talk about it. What will happen to our children when we are no longer alive? Who will care for them? Where will they live? Who will love them? It is the elephant in the room. It is always there. It doesn’t go away. The answer lies in preparing for that day, when we are no longer here. I am beginning to plan. It is not an easy process. It is time-consuming and at times heart wrenching. It is difficult to answer the questions that need to be asked. The answers are not easily come by. Like a student, we have to do our homework. If we do a good job, our child will be well cared for until the time that they die.
Sandra Bishins, LSW
March 12, 2010
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