Jillian Gets a Summer Job
When you have a child with a disability, all you want is a fair shake. You don't want favors, you don't want an easier path, you don't want to be patronized. You just want those in the business of judging to see with clear eyes.
My 18-year-old daughter wants to be a teacher's aide. She has prepped for it the last two years by leaving her public high school at 1 in the afternoon, to work in an elementary school classroom. She has helped kindergarten and 4th-graders to read and do simple math. She's very good at it.
A few months ago, she decided she'd like to try it over the summer, for pay. As Jillian's parents, my wife and I were ecstatic. One thing you learn quickly with these kids -- and it should be a universal lesson -- is that you allow them to tell you what they can do. Passing premature judgment on anyone is wrong; for kids with disabilities, it can be stifling.
Letters of recommendation from teachers in hand, Jillian interviewed at two daycare facilities. She got job offers from both. All that remains is for her to decide. Her feet havent touched the ground for days.
Jillian gets her foot in the career door. She gets the respect and the responsibility that comes from working. Her employer gets a dedicated, happy, smart employee. This is what can happen when eyes see clearly.
Congrats to the daycare centers for that. And to my little girl, not so little anymore, for seizing the day.