Independence, for us or our children, takes work. For those of us with children more impacted by their disability our children may never be truly “independent”. But, and I believe this with every fiber of my being, our children can do more than any of us give them credit for. Recently I attended a talent show put on by my son’s school program, where every program participant came on stage, in front of over 400 attendees, and put on a show.
Yes, there were supports from staff; but never in a million years would I have believed my son was capable of going on stage and dancing – much less doing so in front of an audience of strangers. I trust the program and the staff, and it has allowed my son to gain even more independence. Recently he’s started doing his own laundry, another benchmark I’d never thought I’d see.
My point is this – helping our children gain independence is a LOT of work; but we DON’T, and SHOULDN’T, be doing it on our own. The next time you start to step in to do something for your child, stop and ask yourself – “is there anything they can do, even if it’s only a small part, to help themselves?”. The part I struggle with the most is watching my son fail, but I’ve come to realize I have experienced failure myself and it’s those failures which have made me value my capabilities. Let’s give our children the same opportunity.