September 2017

About Those Really Cool Parents…

Raising a chid with a disability presents a challenge to parents everyday.  Some days are good and some days are just exhausting both physically and mentally.  We, as parents, often make so many sacrifices in order to better our children’s lives.  If you don’t give yourself a pat on the back everyday, for everything that you do, please take a moment to do so - you deserve it!

Two families took parenting a child with a disability to an awesome level.  They built something around the needs of their child and in that way, they helped their children grow in ways that no school, or therapeutic session, nor strengthening activity can ever do.  

The first such family lives in our “back yard” in Fairfax, VA.  Their daughter is Cameron and I am writing about Cameron’s Chocolates.  My daughter and I went to Cameron’s Chocolates to see, first hand, how the shop operates.  It was a wonderful experience and Cameron is a lucky girl to have a shop that she can run as she grows into adult hood.  Learn more about the story behind the coffee house for yourself.  Cameron’s chocolates employs challenged people alongside able-bodied people to perform job functions such as making chocolates, coffee and serving.  Their chocolates are excellent!

The second family is located in Texas.  Gordon Hartman wanted to make sure that his daughter, Morgan, would be able to interact with other children without judgement - Morgan has autism.  Morgan also happens to love amusement and water parks.  You can read more about Morgan and the amusement/water park that was built to accommodate her and children like her.  A third of Morgan’s Wonderland’s staff is disabled.

I am always astounded by the level of generosity and dedication that people have when they are addressing the needs of special children.  Cameron’s Chocolates and Morgan’s Wonderland are both run by foundations whose mission it is to support special people to achieve beyond the expected.  

As parents, our mission is also to help our child achieve beyond his/her expectation.  In this capacity, we all have to help our children find a niche in adulthood.  It would be great if the niche they end up creating or finding is one in which they can thrive, be happy, feel useful as well as generate enough income to support themselves.   Though we may not all be able to open a coffee shop or an amusement park, we can still help our children define a passion that they can turn into a profession that falls within reach of their ability.