Canada, Thank You For ‘Aide-ing’ Us

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Kids Grad

Back in May of 2007, as Term One of our twins’ first and last year of Australian schooling was drawing to a close, we understood the situation:

On Fridays, there would be no teacher-aide support in mainstream class for our autism-diagnosed son. The other four days were fine, but the ’emergency funding’ for the fifth had run out. If we wanted support, we could pay for it ourselves, or we could come to school with him. Of course, we could always keep him at home if we wanted. This was how it would be for the remainder of the year. This was how it would be for the next twelve years.

You can imagine our emotions – anger, disbelief, disillusionment.

It may surprise you to know there was also relief.

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15 In 15

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Influence

Tagged by fellow scribbler, Lisa Wardle, to do this exercise on Facebook, I thought I’d throw it on Myperbole instead: 15 in 15.

The instructions imply influences of all sorts, not necessarily literary.

The Rules:
Don’t take too long to think about it.
15 influences, authors and poets  included, who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you.
List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

Okay, here goes:

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Still Missing The Boat

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Asylum Seekers

Last week, I penned a missive in response to a vile letter directed towards an autism-diagnosed Canadian boy and his family. It was intended to highlight the essential need for respect and understanding when it comes to the differences between us.

Five days later and I am writing again. The circumstances are not the same. Sadly, the theme is.

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A Letter To The Autism Hater’s Kids

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Hi There

My name is Darren. I thought I would get in touch. I live a long way away – on the other side of Canada, in fact – so we’ll probably never see each other in person. I thought a letter might be the next best thing to say hello and pass on something important, something I hope you take to heart.

A letter. Your mum wrote one. It is evil. Unforgivable. The police say it isn’t a ‘hate crime’, but that’s just what the law says: it is hateful and it is criminal. That’s not just my opinion – that’s how many, many, many people feel about it. The words in her letter – they should never be written down, never spoken. They should never even find a way into your brain. Your mum’s letter shouldn’t have happened. But it did. She has to live with its consequences for the rest of her life.

You don’t.

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There’ll Always Be Fireflies

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firefly

(Pic Source: luxirare.com)

The inspirational tale of Team Hoyt came past me again recently.  For those disinclined to click the link, it shares the incredible story of father, Dick, disabled son, Rick, and the thousand plus marathons / triathlons they have performed as one, dad towing and wheeling and pushing his paralyzed boy all the way.  Their thirty-five year odyssey is replete with details to make the heart swell and the eyes tear up, but this one provided particular pause for me:

With $5,000 in 1972 and a skilled group of engineers at Tufts University, an interactive computer was built for Rick. This computer consisted of a cursor being used to highlight every letter of the alphabet. Once the letter Rick wanted was highlighted, he was able to select it by just a simple tap with his head against a head piece attached to his wheelchair. When the computer was originally first brought home, Rick surprised everyone with his first words. Instead of saying, “Hi, Mom,” or “Hi, Dad,” Rick’s first “spoken” words were: “Go, Bruins!” The Boston Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals that season. It was clear from that moment on, that Rick loved sports and followed the game just like anyone else. 

That pivotal moment of communication breakthrough must have been like a glorious dawn; the perennial night finally receding as the sun climbs over the horizon, never to set again on the Hoyt family.  I can only imagine how good it felt to see that light.

I can only imagine.

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