Terri of Barriers, Bridges, and Books asks the question: “What have you learned or become that you might not have without and encounter with disability?”
If I would answer honestly, you might end up having a post the size of an abbreviated “War and Peace”…I could elaborate on learning acceptance, patience, learning to use the computer, etc etc., etc………
A funny answer, yet a true one, is that my mastery of Hebrew (I live in Israel) has increased ten fold. I joke with my new immigrant friends: “If you want to learn Hebrew really well, have a special needs child….
But I am not kidding here. I raised several children in the sunny country of the prophets before Ricki, and my Hebrew had reached a level that I could make “do” with. But I could “manage” because English is virtually the third language here, and how many serious discussions did I have in Hebrew anyway? “Put your shoes away.”, “I want two bottles of wine.” Just doesn’t need too big of an ability. But unlike my husband, who is a wiz at languages, I progressed slowly at best.
Fast forward to Ricki, age one and a half. Speech therapy. Years of speech therapy, therapy Mom sat in on and heard..
When Ricki turned seven, I hired a special once-a-week teacher for her. This teacher had aims that Ricki would know more than a basic pigeon Hebrew. She wanted her to learn literary words. Ricki did (and does). And so did Mom.
Then I had to fight half the country to get Ricki into inclusion, and then from a poor school to a more positive one. I had to advocate in Hebrew. In addition, I adapt most of Ricki’s work, which means that I have to read Hebrew texts and simplify them, all in good, properly spelled Hebrew. (And we are speaking her of a woman who could not write without “spell-check”, being that I am a terrible speller.) Words like “industrial revolution”, “capillaries”, “bluish” (as opposed to blue), and “miners” entered my wither-to raisin-dry (shrunken) vocabulary.
So if you want to learn a new language….take note, and at speech therapy…. take notes.