This is a picture of my sister taken a few years ago. Yep, she is the one that the doctor said would never walk, talk, sit up or do anything a normal child would do. He further advised my devastated parents to put her in an institution and forget about her. This was common practice in the early 1960’s. Clearly this doctor did not know my parents, or my sister, Janice.
My mother refused to accept the doctors prognosis and set to work to prove him wrong. It was a struggle as there were no support groups for parents of special needs children, no agencies to provide services, and no family living nearby. My parents also had five other children at home at the time, all needing their time and attention.
How did my mom do it? One day at a time. She could not afford to look down the road to the years of struggle ahead. What an overwhelming prospect that would have been! Instead, she chose to take each day as a gift, an opportunity to bring Janice one step closer to reaching her full potential, whatever that might be. There were many setbacks along the way, but my mom never gave up and neither did Janice.
With love, ingenuity, faith and determination, my mother changed the world for Janice. My sisters and I were blessed to see my mom in action every day. She modeled love, self-sacrifice and devotion on a daily basis. We learned unconditional love and compassion at her feet. We are better people because of it.
I see so many parents of special needs kids who are doing the same thing today. God bless them all. They are my heroes. If you are struggling today, don’t give up! You are doing an amazing, life-changing job. Your child, your family and your world will never be the same.