I have been thinking a lot about what my expectations should be for my children's lives. Many of the books that I have read about children with disabilities have cautioned against too high expectations which can lead to regression in a lot of those children. As a parent it is hard to know how high is too high. Here is what I do know.
- I will not let my children use their disability as an excuse. Yes it is a limitation but don't we all have those. I struggle with math but my father wouldn't let me take the easy way out. I spent more time than others on homework, studied more for tests and was darn proud of the 81 that I got on the test. It wasn't an A but it was the best that I could do. That is what I expect of my children.
- I will not let them forget they are valued. Their contributions are just as meaningful as someone who does not have a disability. Just because not everyone understands how they think doesn't mean that what they think isn't important. I expect them to share their ideas and their feelings because they are important.
- I expect them to accomplish great things. I will not specify what those things are, they get to choose. But whatever they choose I know they will do their best. In the end it's enough.
So later when I feel a hint of disappointment when my child is not keeping up with the others around them I have a checklist to go through. Is my child using his disability as an excuse? No, check. Does my child feel valued? Yes, Check. Is he accomplishing great things? Always, Check.