Life in progress


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Honest Opinions Wanted

As you probably know, my theme for the A to Z Challenge this year is parenting a Deaf child as a hearing mom. I decided on this theme mainly because I hope one day to write a book on the subject. The A to Z seemed an easy way to compile my thoughts into something that could be organized into chapters. I’m not including every aspect of what it is to be Alex’s parent since not everything fits. But most of it is or will be here.

My plan is to market it as much a guide for people who have Deaf children, as for people who have hearing children. I hope to provide insight into behaviours, reading and understanding body language, and generally to teach parents and children how to spot and be compassionate toward those with limited abilities. Hopefully, without coming off as preachy. The book, if I write it, will be entitled, Don’t Talk With Your Hands Full.

I’m not going to ask you if you’d actually buy my book – I’m not here to put you on the spot. But if you saw something like it on the shelf, and hadn’t already read as much as I’ve written, do you think you’d be interested enough to at least read the back cover? Do you know anyone who doesn’t read my blog who might buy it? Basically, do you think it could be a worthwhile endeavour?

I appreciate honest opinions. Don’t be afraid to hurt my feelings; I take criticism well, as long as it’s constructive.


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10/16 – Yesterday’s News – Caring

moon

The article in yesterday’s newspaper that caught my eye was about a community group which takes disabled adults (over age 16) on outings. The sentence in the article that sparked my interest in particular said, “Without our programs, some of these individuals would be staying at home so it helps reduce the risk of isolation for the parents and caregivers as well as the participants.”  That got me thinking.

The first thing that comes to my mind when someone mentions ‘caregiver’s isolation’ is simply the fact that when they’re stuck at home caring for someone who is disabled, they just don’t go out. But it goes so far beyond that.

As a parent of disabled children I find it hard to have discussions with parents of “normal” children, because we have so little in common. Even people who aren’t parents of kids the same age as mine (for instance, if they’re grown up and moved out) have a hard time relating to me. Whether they assume because my kids aren’t like theirs, they can’t possibly have any of the same tendencies, or whether they’re afraid of being told that their problems can’t possibly be as bad as mine, I”m not sure. Maybe it’s both. Therefore, I try not to talk about myself much. When they are kind enough to ask me about myself, no matter how nonchalant I am about the way I live, telling anyone about my kids is a slow death towards being a conversation stopper. Occasionally they’ll mention a niece, or a neighbour who has a similar circumstance, or they’ll ask me questions about the health of my children, but when I’ve said all there is to say, if I don’t quickly find something other than the weather to talk about, (and it’s always up to me to find something, because no one knows quite where to go after being told about my kids) then it’s game over. In fact, come to think of it, it shuts people up about as fast as telling a stranger I’m writing a novel. Think about that for a while.

Having said all that, I’ve been invited out tonight with my next door neighbour and six of her closest friends for dinner, none of whom I have met before. As long as I can keep the conversation away from my kids, I should be fine. But of course someone is bound to ask me what I do for a living…

My point is, the isolation parents and caregivers of the disabled experience isn’t necessarily as clear-cut as it sounds. So next time you come across a single, stay-at-home mom of disabled children, or a novelist for that matter, don’t be afraid to look beyond what’s apparent.