This is the fifth of these process logs from Mom's folder. They're sort of logs that document her research for her spring 1994 paper From Dependence to Independence. Instead of a log, though, these are more like mini-papers that are interesting on their own.
In this one, she talks more about trying to contact veterans groups for her paper, and about other things, including educating people about the disabled by just being there. She also references her Devil's Advocate paper.
The photo is of Mom on Mother's Day 2005 with a clock we gave her.
There is so much information running around in my head. I have called and talked to many people. Some of them I wasn't able to reach, while some people I had not thought of came out of nowhere and proved very interesting. The Devil's Advocate paper has been very difficult to write, without getting my personal opinion in it. Some of the arguments that I have found are arguments that I agree with - or until now I agreed with them. Then I talked with this friend of mine at Hospital School, who has a Down's child now 5 years old. I will talk to her fully later on. She did give me much literature and a new perspective. I don't know why I didn't think of her earlier.
On the other end of the spectrum I also have an appointment with a gentleman with the Vietnam vets group in Cedar Rapids. This may prove a very interesting meeting. I got his name from the director of Community Relations at the Veterans Hospital, Annie Turtle. She seemed also a very interesting person. She also gave me names and numbers of a group in Des Moines, but I've had a hard time getting through to them as I'm not home usually during the day and I can't call from work. I think I'll see what I get from Cedar Rapids. None of these people have disagreed with me on this theory on my timeline. Ms. Tuttle did say, however, that maybe I should be careful and not speak specifically about Vietnam vets, but generalize it to relate to all veterans.
It is clear that I am speaking from two different arenas here. On the one hand we have the born disabled or early childhood disabled, and on the other hand, there are the young accident victim or the war victim. These young people have already proven their intelligence earlier before the accident or war injury. It is just a matter of furthering that education in whatever manner can be done; as opposed to the early childhood disabled who is often looked to as retarded or uneducateable.
Many times these children are not only expected to keep up their school; but they are also expected to keep up a regimen of exercise perhaps and a strong desire to fit into this strange world of the "normal" children. Many children can be so cruel, especially those children never exposed to this kind of child. Maybe their parents have never been exposed either. Consequently, these children are labeled as not expected to perform.
Now back to our vets or young adults. They, too, can have a very grueling exercise schedule in addition to their learning schedule. The difference is that they have already proven what they can accomplish. They probably can already read and comprehend everything that is given to them to do. These people are the ones with voices. They are still unable to get into the buildings, because of the physical obstacle. Some of these young men may be engineers, who could say, "Look, it doesn't have to be this way. We can easily replace these steps with ramps or elevators." Many times with the backing of the government, as most of these young problem are veterans, remember, they can build the new innovation that makes life more bearable. Even the hand control used for us to drive a car was invented by someone in the government. These things are so sophisticated that you can barely have movement to use one. Yet these fellows can operate automobiles very safely. It is inventions like these that have given disabled the independence that is needed.
Unfortunately, there are some disabled children and adults that will never be this good. These are the ones that will take delight from just watching what is happening. They cannot even speak or react to what is going on. It is difficult to be in contact with them as there doesn't seem to be much encouragement. Education for them may just be a visual experience. I know such an individual. I happen to have him in my second grade religion class. I, who should know how to act, did not. I am used to a reaction from my kids or anyone that am speaking with. Here there is none, save for an occasional grunty noise and a reflex movement of an arm or leg. I may need to talk to this mother further to see what benefits she has seen with him in the classroom and how far mainstreamed he is. I may talk to her this week. I hope she doesn't feel that I am prying.
I have so much to sort through. I will have to take time to sit down and work out my plan as to which direction to go with it. Once this assignment of the Devil's Advocate paper is done I will be able to concentrate better on the things coming up.
It was real interesting to hear all the other topics. It would be fun to read their papers. It will also be fun to see their art objects. I love to watch people and what they come up with. I teach a sewing class for adults. Everyone comes up with new ideas there too. There are lots of times when they teach me. That is with the little kids too. They are a fountain of knowledge waiting to happen; and oh, the excitement of watching it happen.
I will love it when I have my basic rough draft done. At least then I will have some of the idea where I'm going. I'm anxious to do a good job as this subject has always interested me and all the changes that have occurred over the last 25 years. I think things have improved, but of course life is not perfect and isn't going to be. So we do the best we can and educate all those people as we go along by just living.
Connie, Feb. 19, 1994