This article about the “Can-List” sure brings back memories!!
I remember our daughter’s first IPRC in elementary school, at age 5 …. there were 13 people sitting around the table – therapists, resource teacher, teacher, educational assistant, vice principal, principal .. and me.
The first item on the agenda was for each person to introduce themselves, to explain their role on our daughter’s team, and to comment about Laura. I was the last to speak. Each person took their turn … and each person inevitably started their comment about our amazing daughter with, “She can’t ….”
Deficit .. after deficit .. after deficit. 😭
The tone of the meeting was that of a funeral! Who had died!!! I thought this was supposed to be our daughter’s amazing graduation into elementary school!!!
By the time it was my turn, my stomach was sick, my feelings were hurt, and I wanted to run away.
Instead, I fought back the tears, and took a very deep breath. I explained that we could not possibly be talking about the same child. The child I knew was absolutely amazing! The bravest person I knew!
I started talking about all of the amazing things about our daughter, becoming more and more animated as I mirrored back to the “professionals” the “ya, but” of every point previously made. (I had already learned the importance of taking good notes.) “She can’t walk without assistance,” became, “Ya, but we were told she would never walk, and we are so excited that she gets around very well, with support.”
I watched as every one of them squirmed in their seats, as they recognized how their comments had fallen on me.
Then, I took another deep breath, and, with a huge (fake) smile on my face, I invited everyone to share another comment about our daughter … this time focusing on the “Can-List.”
By the time everyone had their say, the room was bouncing with positive energy, and everyone was smiling and chatty and coming up with amazing strategies to be explored!
Since 1989, when I met John McKnight for the first time and my whole view of our daughter was changed, my GPS has been set to uncovering her amazing gifts and strengths and capacities, and helping her to share them meaningfully with others and with our community! I am so grateful that I had that life-altering meeting behind me BEFORE I attended IPRC!!!
This is work I have done with our daughter and with so many other families, and it’s the passion I carry with me to this day!!! I am determined to share what I’ve learned with as many other families like mine as I can. Indeed, I have a responsibility to do so, and would be doing a disservice if I did not.