(Guest post by Loni Scovill Smith – Loni blogs at His Apraxia Journey)
When I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, there was a stigma attached to kids that rode the “short bus”. I believe most of it stemmed from ignorance and fear. Back in those days, when you saw the short bus, you imagined it was filled with kids afflicted with the worst of the worst disabilities.
My son rides the short bus. And he isn’t afflicted with the worst of the worst. In every way physically, he seems normal. He looks and acts like any other five year old in preschool. He’s social, fun, smart, stubborn, but very different in one specific way – his speech is unintelligible.
I am a mother in the age of the internet, a time when information is at everyone’s fingertips. I live in a decade where we can stay connected with others virtually; I have easy, accessible ways to pass on information to others about my son’s condition. Whether it’s through Facebook posts, my blog – His Apraxia Journey, or even this Different Iz Good blog, people can learn about Ian’s speech apraxia and having that knowledge eliminates the fear or ignorance that they might have been experiencing. That’s pretty darn cool.
Because of social networking and the plethora of information readily available at our computers, the doors of acceptance have been opened wider than ever before to our children with disabilities. Knowledge is beautiful.
As I prepare my son for the probability of attending a special education kindergarten in the fall (complete with another year of riding the short bus), I revel in the fact that he is loved and accepted by all of those around us. There is not a horrible stigma or fear and ridicule attached to him, rather, there is joy with each new word he speaks clearly, there is celebration for the success he finds in the special help he receives. There is compassion.
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