Thursday, April 19, 2007

STRATEGY 1: You Got to Have a Dream!

Do you remember being a child? Children know how to dream. They don’t have any stumbling blocks. They don’t know the words, “I can’t.” The world is full of unlimited possibilities. If you ask a child what he/she is going to be when grown up, chances are the child will answer without hesitation “a doctor,” “a teacher,” “a fire fighter,” or “a police officer.” They know of nothing that could prevent them from becoming what they want to be. And yet, many 18 year olds enter college without a clue as to what they want to be when they grow up. What happens to the dreams of the 6 year-old child? Where do they go? How are they lost?

On January 11, 1949, Irene Thompson gave birth to a stillborn female child. A nurse informed the father as the doctor said a prayer and baptized the lifeless child. As the doctor prayed, the child showed definite signs of life. Even though the child was alive, it was not expected to live through the night. That child was named Linda, who is now 57 years-old and is writing this article. Of course there were effects caused by the lack of oxygen to the brain. I was diagnosed about 18 months later as having a condition known as cerebral palsy, which affects the muscle movements in both my legs and arms, as well as my neck. But I was alive and that was all that mattered to my mother. She was determined I would have as much of a life as my sister and brother before me. And she made sure I understood that.

From the 40’s through the 60’s, people with disabilities were hidden from society Children with disabilities were bussed to segregated schools. There were no “inclusion” or “mainstreaming” programs. If a child made it through the eighth grade—as far as the schools for the “disabled” went—he was sent home until he was old enough to go to a sheltered workshop where he would be paid 10 cents an hour to separate and count nuts and bolts. There was no public access to high schools or colleges. A person with a disability was not expected to become a productive member of society.

My mother was light years ahead when it came to visualizing the possibilities in my life. She drove positive affirmations into me, “You can do anything you put your mind to,” “If you don’t succeed, try, try, try again,” and “Anything is possible.” She made me feel if I wanted something bad enough and was willing to work hard, I could accomplish anything.

When I was eight, we drove my older sister to her dorm room at Kent State University. I was impressed and excited as I blurted out to my mother, “Do you think I can come to Kent State someday?” I was oblivious to the roadblocks that stood between me and that possibility, but I am sure mom knew what they were. Not wanting to destroy my dream, she answered, “Anything is possible.”

I graduated from high school in 1967—one roadblock down—but there were very few universities in the country that accepted students with disabilities and none were in Ohio. However, five years later, in 1972, Kent State University established a program to support students with disabilities. I started at KSU in the fall of ’72 and graduated with a journalism degree in 1975.

If you don’t have a dream, find a safe place, search for the child within you, ask your childself what he/she wants to be or do when it grows up. If you rediscover your dream, hold on to it and don’t let anyone steal it from you. Like the song from South Pacific says, “You have to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you going to make a dream come true?”

Linda Thompson, MSRC, has 30 years professional experience serving people with disabilities as instructor and advocate. As a keynote speaker, she addresses audiences of parents, professionals, care providers, students, congregations, and business administrators/employers on the importance of recognizing the individual and abilities rather than the "labels" of disabilities. "People with disabilities are people first. Our disabilities are second."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I write this as a testimony to my battles with my very own disabilities. I was born with dyslexic, mathematical disorder, comprehension disorder from a off set of suffering from an elliptic disorder all my life and from a very young age. I suffered many years with this condition and am feed up with people and their ignorance, rudeness, lack of understanding and unwillingness to help those people in need with learning disabilities.

Despite my condition and suffering, I have faced lack of help and constant rejection in being teased, made fun of, falsely accused of being on drugs or assumed about. Many people in my condition have just given up and taken this rudeness and human ignorance because they feel that their voice will not be heard or afraid they will be labeled a trouble maker. Well, me I taking a stand and I feed up and had enough!

Well, I for one am strongly feed up with how this world looks at people with learning disabilities and how this world treats others and those who are suffering with learning disabilities or disabled. I also feed up with how this world miss treat us and our own government ignores us or fails to help up achieve or better our self. Yet they want to sit by in their big house, cars, jets and rake in millions of American tax dollars a year from Americans who work hard and then they have the balls to claim they our for the people and want to help the people. I sick of our own state governors, government, president and House of Representatives that do nothing all day but ignore the cries of the American people who need their help or are disabled. Yet they want to sit by and complain that S.S.I and D.S.I needs to be cut and people need to get back to work. But, yet they encourage Americana companies to go over seas and leave American workers out of work and they even cut government funded programs and other programs from funding to fight a war we have no right sticking our nose in the first place. The only reason why America is over in Iraq is not to fight for our freedom or right or safety. They are over their cause they want to control the oil and that land. No wonder why other countries want to attack us and kill us. We are nothing more then ignorant, self centered and minded people who care only about the idea of me first others last. This is something also the Bible say not to do. We are here to serve others and help other. That means if other are suffering you think of them first before yourself.

I am also sick of American government wanting the middle man or lower class to pay for their rich high life style. Don’t get me wrong I am not angry or jealous of them. I feel sorry for them and their souls and where they will end up when they die. I ask them this question. Do they really think you are going to go to heaven? I got new for them they better wake up and smell the coffee. They are by far going to heaven. The Bible says what profits a man if he gains the world and yet loses his soul to the lake of fire for all eternity. America in my view has a messed up ideal way of thinking. Yet, we are to give to others and help others. We are to be a nation under God. I say this is a major lie and crock of bull coming from a donkey behind.

I am reminded of a very wise saying that a writer once said. American is like a swear system under New York City. The United State Government and State officials love to sit in a large leather chairs and opening their mouths just to hear them self talk, while the spew out of their mouths human waste and nothing but, trash talk. They love to open their mouths and talk a good talk and all of us Americans go to the poll and vote idiots into office and we all think they will help us or hear us. Just so we blindly go to the voting polls to vote them into office. So they can bleed American dry of all its funds so they can live a high life like Hollywood stars. America people you better walk up, before it is too late. America is not the riches country; we all think it is and we are not the powerful country you think we are. We are nothing and if your brain washed into think we are you major miss lead and have a major brain disorder, also the Bible warns us about pride, envy, wrath, murder and many more sins. Yet, American is the next nation talked about in the Bible that is the nation of the next Babylon. We got many major sexual sins of pride, wrath, anger, jealousy, pride, ivy, and boastfulness. I strongly suggest America and the American people get right with God, Jesus Christ and the Holly Ghost. God final judgment is coming very shortly and very fast.

Kyle Mathews