Even  if you don’t have a school aged child, you’re probably aware that it’s “back to school” time. It’s always a bittersweet time for me.

I always dread saying goodbye to the long summer days, swimming, and eating dinner on the deck. However, I love the fresh beginning of autumn and the new school year. Even when I was single and childless, I took advantage of this time of year to begin something new.

Maybe this “habit” developed from me making a life-altering change at the tender age of seven when I went back to school.

Below is a repost of a very early Radiant Living with Disability blog, along with a short video of an interview I did. I decided to repost this key story from my life, probably the most significant advocacy story of my life, to encourage you to:

If you’re a family member of a child with a disability to learn to trust that they may sometimes know their path more than you. Please listen to them – and their behaviors.

Also, my annual end of the summer encouragement here:

As we approach this season of change and new beginnings, what personal change can you make, no matter how daunting, to live more the life you want.

This is one of my most powerful stories from my journey in getting the life I want. I devote an entire chapter to this story in Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities.  The power of it lies in the fact that it changed the course of my life at the mere age of seven.  The story is of how I advocated – in very unconventional ways – to to be education in an inclusive setting with my peers, rather than the segregated school I was sent to in kindergarten because of my disability.

This story, for me and hopefully you, carries the lesson of when you believe in something being better for you, when you have that feeling in your gut that keeps whispering, or maybe even shouting to you, ANSWER IT WITH ACTION.

If something challenges your abilities to help you meet your potential, and just making you happier, GO FOR IT WITH ALL YOU GOT, no matter what others say.  As you will hear, my pursuit for a different school in the second grade led to some turbulence with my parents.  Our family had quite a bumpy ride in the fall of 1975.  My parents were concerned about me getting my needs met and I was focused on wanting more than I was getting from school.

In the end, my parents thankfully turned out to be risk takers.  They enrolled me in the local Catholic elementary school because I was illegally denied at our public school.  Although there were certainly bumps along the way, I flourished and began to see the depth of my potential.

I have always believed deep in my bones that had I not advocated for this change at such a young age, not only would I have never met my academic potential, but something vital would have died within my soul – that fire that continually motivates me to live life fully, no matter what the challenges are.

 

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