Boy, this was not an easy one to do, but it was an important one. Definitely some laughs and some tears in this one. When I asked for podcast ideas we had a request for a few topics related to diversity, inclusion, and special education. But one request in particular touched our heart. A friend reached out and asked for a glimpse into our family, especially hoping to hear from our older son. The bond between siblings is always special, Daniel and I both have wonderful brothers that we love dearly. But, the bond between special needs siblings is especially unique. Much to my pride and sometimes worried heart, we've seen our boys take on big issues together.
So, in this podcast you will hear a little background on our family and Jonah's diagnosis (Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy) and also a little Q & A with each family member about the blessings and challenges we have faced. One part that I wish we could include in this for you is Jonah's perspective, but as his parents, we just don't think he's ready for that yet. We are still helping him learn to be his own advocate, so some day I believe he will be ready to share his point of view, but it's not appropriate yet. On that same note, we were also extremely careful in what we shared. Someday our precious boy will listen and read to anything we put out there for others, so we want to be sensitive to that and be sure he knows that he was always surrounded by nothing but love.
With all of that said, you may think... why share your story? Because it's important. Only through building understanding and empathy can we grow forward. That's what our family is constantly striving for. Growth. No just for ourself and those we love... but for everyone. We have learned so much by listening to other family's experiences, advice and stories. Through our shared laughs and sometimes tears, we were able to craft better plans to serve our family and those we work with.
So, if you are here as a parent of a child with special needs, "WELCOME!" I hope this podcast will help you know you are seen. IEPS are emotionally draining. No school or therapy or doctor is 100% perfect. But you sure have had some awesome moments and milestones along the way. No one knows your child's needs better than you and you can navigate this journey along side your family/friends. Although our stories aren't the same (because no two stories are), know in the bigger scheme of things, you are not alone. No one has your back like a fellow special needs mom or dad... for grandparent... you get me, right?
And if you are here as an educator, "WELCOME!" Thank you for taking enough interest in the topic of special needs families to listen to our 48 minute podcast! I hope that this glimpse into our family helps you become a better advocate for the children work with. Even if it just means when you walk into an IEP meeting you say a little prayer for the family, or you make sure to start the meeting with 3 things the child does well...Basically, I hope hearing our message helped you in some way better serve the families you work with each day.
Here's a recent pic of our crew to go with the voices you hear on the podcast. <3