Monday, October 22, 2012

Helping others learn about my daughter

Today's gift is helping others learn about my daughter.

If it wasn't for my daughter with special needs I would not be able to teach others about her or about others like her.  I'm not going to lie...I wish I did not know as much as I do about special needs.  But I do.

My daughter has taught me it does not matter if you are verbal or nonverbal, we all can learn.  It may mean you have to adapt the curriculum differently, but children with special needs can learn.  And they love to learn new things.  They want to be included just like their peers.

Just like you may have to adapt the curriculum for them, you may have to adapt many things in their life for them to be able to participate like their peers. Sports, art, acting, music, you name it, they can do it.   It just requires you to be creative and help them succeed.

Children with special needs teach us how to use our creativity to help them.  Seeing a child with special needs succeed is both rewarding to the child and to the teacher.  And seeing their peers light up is an extra bonus!

Tonight, I had the privilege of talking to a group of teachers who work in the children's ministry in our church about my daughter and children with special needs. They had a list of impressive questions they wanted me to answer....luckily I had them before our meeting!

I started off with a game...of reality and perspective. I adapted this idea from two amazing mothers whose daughters also have Rett Syndrome. I wanted them to share some information with me about themselves. I asked them a question letting them answer as they would normally communicate. Then for the next question, I took away their ability to use their voice. Then I took their ability to use their hands away. On the last question, the only way they could communicate with me was by using their eyes.

While my daughter can use her hands and sometimes her voice there are many children who can not. I wanted them to feel for a little while what it may be like to have these freedoms taken away from them. I wanted them to realize the frustrations they faced in answering the questions and to understand how many children face these frustrations....daily.

They know what they want to say, but do not know how to communicate their thoughts, wishes, and feelings.

The meeting was more sharing my daughter with them and talking about children with special needs and how to include them within the children's ministry. This isn't going to happen overnight, but having this talk and knowing how accepting of our family and future families they were was heartwarming to see.

The more I talk about my daughter and spread awareness the more comfortable I am talking to groups...funny how this happens. Tonight, was probably one of the times I felt the most relaxed and comfortable talking to a group.  And I do not think this was by accident.

Church is a great place to teach others about special differences as God made us all and he did so for a reason.

Here are some quotes for today....

God doesn't give you the people you want, he gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you the person you were meant to be - Author Unknown

We don't meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason- Author Unknown

God has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will- Psalm 37:5

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