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On Trust and Confidence; On Independence and Adulthood

Posted Feb 12 2010 3:14pm

As a young woman affected by disability, I understand that there are certain situations in which the general public would fear for my safety and protection. Furthermore and in addition, I completely understand that a parent will worry and display concern for his or her child. On the other hand, however, it is vital that a parent of a child affected by disability or other special need understands the importance of the achievement of independence for their child. From the point of view of the child, it is a rite of passage. It allows him or her to see that he or she is capable of anything and everything. At nearly 20 years old, I need to have the experience of doing things for myself and of discovering the world around me.

In effect, I am a legal adult, and my parents' opinions do matter, but now is the time that I begin to exercise the liberties of making my own decisions and discerning right from wrong.

Provoked by a very special event that will be occurring this summer, this post is a lead-in to an exciting announcement that will be occurring this weekend. To keep you guessing, there are many details that my parents may be pondering and may be of concern to them. To name just a few, my event will include:

  • TWO very special blog readers
  • One two-and-a-half hour flight up the East coast of the United States
  • Two PowerPoint Presentations
  • Approximately 50 (maybe more!) doctors
  • Music therapy
  • My medical history
  • ...and so much more.
I just can't wait to tell you all about it!

More importantly, though, I can't wait to establish trust and instill confidence into my parents and into those around me that traveling is something I can handle, that I am of a very independent nature. In a few years, when I move across the country to attend medical school, they can trust that I will be protected, safe, and self-assured. Granted, I do understand that the level of trust for a parent of a child affected by a disability is often difficult. The concern overrides the trust issues, and you don't want to accept the fact that your child may not need you in order to function on a day-to-day basis.

In the case of college, parents allow their children to go away and make friends independently, to enjoy their own freedoms for the very first time. Though the element of flight adds some trepidation to the situation, trust is a huge issue.

My situation will allow for my parents to enjoy the fact that I have done something in front of so many people and essentially paved the way to my future.

Trust, confidence, independence, and adulthood are among the most vital skills that can enter into the life of a young adult with a disability and into the relationship between parent and child.
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