Dylan has accomplished many things: being included in school, having friends, going to birthday parties, dancing the night away at prom, going to football and basketball games, earning a letter jacket, going to college for four years, become a burlesque dancer moving out, finding a job, speaking at national and state conferences. And like all of us, he has more things he wants to do.
I love my son, Dylan with so much of my heart and it is because I can see and feel his gifts that it pains me to know in the deepness of my soul that he craves a richer life.
Dylan wants a loving relationship with a girlfriend that will emerge into a loving wife.
He wants a job where he is needed and missed if he isn’t there.
Dylan wants to have a phone call from a buddy asking him to go to the movies.
He would love to be able to jump into his car and drive where he wants to go, when he wants to go.
Dylan wants his own home, with furniture he picks out, with people he chooses to live with.
Yes, I have an advocacy business and as a retired teacher, I will continue to teach and learn with others. But I need you to know I come from a place of wanting more for your child because I’ve been through the pain and cried many tears when I see people dismiss my son, or maybe worse, give him a token smile, an obligatory nod of the head, a pretend listen.
I come to you with an intense desire, need, passion to change the injustices I see. There are many injustices in this world. I choose to narrow my vision to our education system, while all along knowing it really is our culture that needs the transformation.
I will continue to write weekly newsletters, film short videos, and speak at conferences sharing strategies to help create change for our kids. But know, when I sit next to you at an IEP table, I sit there as a mother that simply wants what your child deserves.
And when there is a great physical distance between us, I will be there with you virtually through a phone call. I will be there with you because we share that bond of being a parent wanting the best for our children.
Thank you for welcoming me to come alongside you.