Interested in a cure for seizures? Here's where you can immediately help.

Feel free to share any of these posts. There are no copyrights on any of them, they are for anyone, anyplace, anytime for whatever reason. All of my love, from a man who just simply misses his son, and believes in the decency of people around the world,

**To reach the author of this blog Mike, the best email account is a silly one, but goes right to my phone. Technology is so cool. Its Thank you for reading this blog, and its been such a good project, in that it has helped others and me as well. May you all live life to the fullest, we have no idea when it shall be our last "dance."

With much love, I am proud of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. If you can help them, and families with this condition, please consider donating to them at They are on Charity Navigator, and have done a phenomenal job over the years, on the awareness and research side.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Special Needs Diagnosis Changes Things, and Here's to You Dad's

It is so devastating for a mom, dad, grandparent, brother, sister, cousin, or a family friend, to hear that someone they know has been labeled "Special Needs." This is quite a large wheel, considering the amount of conditions that fall under this, so imagine a whole bunch of spokes, that is similar to the autism spectrum. Obviously, we shall require a bigger wheel that the 275-70-18 that goes on a pickup truck, and a monster truck tire might be appropriate in this case. Us guys love those vehicles, with their powerful engines, loud sounds, and ability to crush cars with a single leap. Yet what are we supposed to do, when our souls are? When a doctor tells us, your little girl or boy isn't going to say a word, is intellectually disabled, or may never walk?

Having been in those shoes, that is one of the most painful events you can go through. All of those dreams, of seeing your little one play baseball, or to go fishing and hunting, are just thrown out the window. Your watching your child grow up to have that sneer you do, perhaps that sense of humor that had you end up in the Principal's office on a regular basis, that passion for the outdoors or watching a football game, are just gone. Now your reality is one that sucks, point blank, and for sometime its going to. Yet, its up to you with what you want to do with these words. The best thing you can do, the very essence of a man, is to take your lumps, and support your girlfriend or wife through these painful times. At the same time, realize you are suffering too, and that its okay to cry, it is alright to ask others for help, and also there's something to be said about "taking a step back."

You've been given a bleak forecast, but you haven't been given a death sentence. Right now, even though these dark clouds hover right around your head, keep this in mind. This is beyond your control, and the breathtaking speed of medical and technological advances, offer a lot more than previous generations could ever have. Groups on facebook and elsewhere are taking off, regardless of the condition, and your child is much more likely to be accepted by your community than in years past. We have come a long way. Is there still more to be done? Of course, but you can be a part of that change. So what about the baseball, the chances to land that Largemouth Bass, or the hunting trip for a big buck that will be the toast of your days?

Some of those may be possible. Adaptive sports are becoming much more popular, and seeing a special needs child smile, at a fish is a definitive possibility. Is this ideal? Nope, but its better than not happening at all. You might be surprised, as you can find activities that you will love, that your little girl or boy will. A lot of special needs kids love water. How about a day of swimming at the pool, or even in the ocean? Those are always possibilities, as are outdoor excursions. Many amusement parks and other places, such as ski resorts, allow you to go first in line, and to ride attractions for a second go around. Due to legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act, and also the compassion of many, there are more opportunities than ever before for Dad's of special needs children.

You are going to feel the crushing of your soul, when you get the diagnosis, but it is my hope that you shall have some reasons for a smile as well. Its going to take time to accept what you are contending with, because I will never forget looking at my son Tommy's eyes, and thinking "those doctor's don't know what they are talking about." Yet they did. Their tests were right, and Tommy loved playing in the Chesapeake Bay. Those days were full of joy, and he smiled on the docks, as I attempted to catch fish in a small pond in the Shenandoah Valley. Perhaps he knew something I didn't, that I just wasn't coming home with a full bucket on that day. In order to increase the opportunities for special needs children, Dads' and Mom's, brothers and sisters, family members and friends are going to continue to have to generate awareness. We've done so much, but there's still a line that has to be crossed, where all people, regardless of ability have the respect of all. Dad's have an important role to play in this, and while it is easy to be angry over such news, the best thing that can be done is to turn that anger into a positive, by going the extra mile and participating in fun activities with your child. Life is sacred, and each day is a blessing.

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