Writing about Special Needs

I knew from an early age that I wanted to write.  Something about the process of it felt “right.”  The act of putting words on a page satisfied my need for purpose and order in what was for me a chaotic world.  Little did I know…past would become future, causing me to write this.

Time and time again, I had to explain.  I was asked–over and over–about my disability.  I always gave the same answers, but there were always so many new people who just really-really had to know!  Something had to be done.  So, I decided to work out short summaries and give them away like a sales pro would hand out flashy brochures.  That’s really how it started…for me.

Years ago, I had a conversation with my father about his experience as a parent.  He recalled what it was like to learn about vision impairment at a time when there were not a lot of books for sale on the subject.  When it became clear to him that I would someday be working with words, he hoped I might write “some-or-other” that would be useful for parents of visually impaired children.

He wasn’t wrong, my first book on the subject of vision impairment is among his favorites.  For many years, he’d mention little things to me that he thought would be important for “a book,” or “that book for parents,” when he wanted to mention it.  There are quite a few books in print today that have been written by parents of special needs kids, though not as many as you’d think are produced by those of us who “live the life.”

It doesn’t really matter which side of a challenge you are on, as long as you speak clearly.  Say what you mean, mean what you say.  I’ve always tried to present my thoughts as problems and solutions.  If possible, I make my point in a historical context because times change.  What was once unaccepted may now be the most normal thing in the world, so…

Moms, dads, or those of us who have to make our peace with “it” will always have face trauma or tragedy of some kind.  For some like me, that can be eye loss, or worse.  Anything you choose to write about your experience–and the solutions to your problems–would be helpful to anyone who reads your work, because it proves that there is hope.  You did it.  They can, too.

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