Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason

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Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option

Today this review appeared on Dream Catcher – When I wrote the book my goal was twofold the first goal was to leave something behind about Stan after we were all gone. The second goal was to help at least one person either make a dream come true or to help a family who a family member who is challenged. This review tells me that is happening.  The is book is full of inspiration and hope for families who live with the challenged and for people who are not challenged who has dreams.

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never An Option

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never An Option

 

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Families of Children with “Challenges” June 17, 2013

By M. Paschall
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This is the story of a remarkable family. It chronicles their struggles and joys as they work to give their beloved son the best possible life. I am not sure that many of us realize what a different world it was in the mid to late 20th century for people with “challenges”. Ms Mason has given us a glimpse into that world. Like Temple Grandin’s family, they were ahead of the times. It is an inspiration to read of Stan’s determination and kindness. As the mother and grandmother of children with autism, severe ADHD, and depression issues, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.

June 17, 2013 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ask Yourself What Does Father’s Day Really Mean to You

As I was sitting here going through facebook and thinking about all the things people have written about fathers and mothers and the one day that is set aside to honor them I thought of my own parents. They have been together for 64 years. My mother fell in love with my Dad when she was 13 years old riding a school bus. They lived a mile and a half from each other. She has loved him all of her life. He has loved her all of his life. Together they have raised five children and buried one. They have lost siblings and parents. They have been through ups and downs and bumps in the road. They both have survived cancer for 13 years. They raised a son who is challenged and he became a productive member of society. They have been blessed with 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Their life has not been perfect but their love has. They taught their children how to love each other and how to make a marriage work. (Though some of ours didn’t) They taught us unconditional love and that people are not perfect. They taught us that even those who are challenged have a place in this world. They believed in us even when we didn’t.

The greatest gift our father gave his children is that he loves our mother- He is only happy when she is happy. He lives to take care of her and enhance her happiness. He has told me time and time again that the best part of his work day was coming home to his family.

No we are not a TV family. No we are not perfect, no my parents are not perfect (even though for years I thought they were) no the world is not perfect- but their love for each other and their children- grandchildren and great grandchildren if perfect. They love unconditionally.

If you would like an insight into just how perfect their love is how they raised us to love in that same vein how they taught that everyone has a place then you want to read Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option.

My mother and Dadn never gives up- She never gave up on my brother who is challenged. He is a success because of that.

Dream Catcher new Cover for Kindle

June 16, 2013 Posted by | Books | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never An Option is Now Available in Audio!!!!!

Dream Catcher new Cover for Kindle

 

After so many months of waiting Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option has been released as an audio book by Brook Forest Voices. Now you can enjoy this wonderful true story of love, inspiration and success in your car, on your computer, your kindle audible your ipod or ipad. To add to the beauty of this you can also enjoy it through the enhanced ebook with sounds- photos etc through itunes Connect for ibooks. This will be available in about three weeks.
“Starting Monday, it will be uploaded to Audible.com, audiobooks.com, and iTunes for the audiobook.  Next week the enhanced ebook (with sound, pictures, etc.) will also be uploaded and delivered to iTunes Connect for iBooks.  I wouldn’t expect to see anything online for about 2-3 weeks. (Audible usually takes 3+ weeks especially at this time of year.)”

This is my second book in audio. This book is a must have especially if you have a child or family member who has challenges. This book is full of inspiration- love and success at a time when failure was the only option.

Stan on Graduation Day

 

This is the story of Stan who was never ever supposed to succeed in any shape or form. This is his gift to the world. To let people know that all of us are here for a purpose- we all have a place and we all deserve to be here. The story can also be purchased in book for and on kindle and nook. IF you want signed copies to give for the holidays you can go to http://thebookattic.ecrater.com I will see that you get them before that big day.

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Audio Books | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intangible Gifts!

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option

Years ago my family was given a gift that keeps on giving. No matter how bad it gets no matter what happens this gift keeps on giving back. This gift was given to us at a time when gifts like this was no the norm. Nor was it accepted in a closed minded and bigoted society. This gift was shunned, ignored and hidden from the world. This gift was considered a shame upon the family especially the mother. This gift was picked on, teased and often times killed because of the “difference.” There was no education for this gift no tolerance no love.

But in our home, this gift was loved, accepted, and wanted. I am talking about an amazing child who was born at a time when the handicapped were not accepted. In 1952 Stan came into our lives. He was diagnosed as Retarded after a bout of the flu leading to an inflammation of the brain which caused damage to his motor skills and speech skills among other things. The normal was “no hope” – but not in our house.

Stan not only had parents, siblings and a support group who truly loved and accepted him, he had a strength from within that can’t be taught. He believed in himself even when he was small. My life with my brother has taught me many things, but most of all it has taught me that we all have challenges, we all are retarded in some form. None of us are perfect and when we say we are we are lying to ourselves. Stan has taught me that dreams are more than just dreams, they are real and that we should never ever let them die. We should strive toward them daily. He has taught me that “everything will be alright” no matter what happens. That no matter how dark the storm clouds are there will always be a rainbow later.

Stan knows the true meaning of unconditional love even when he has been hurt. He knows the depth of loyalty. He believes that one must and should work for their paycheck for many reasons. The most important is self respect and a feeling of independence. He understands that one must work in order to live not just exist. He believes in a days work for a day’s pay. He refuses handouts from anyone and he pays his own way.

Stan is a gift to so many in many ways and for many reasons. You see he leaves a part of himself behind with whoever he meets and he stays with that person for ever. Stan is not a bigot, nor does he allow that in his life. He is not filled with self pity because he is handicapped. He doesn’t ask for anyone else to feel pity for him either. In fact it makes him angry when they do. He doesn’t ask for special attention or favors. He only asks for respect as a human who has the same feelings and emotions we all do.

He could draw a check from the government but he says, “I want to make my own money. I don’t want to live off the government.” He understands that a certain pride comes from working and making one’s own way in the world. He understands that a certain sense of well being and well roundness comes from working and getting paid for it. He understands that a sense of accomplishment comes from earning that paycheck. He understands he is not a drain on society because he contributes to society. He is worthwhile and he is somebody.

His story should be in every home, on every bookshelf in every school and in the hand of every professional from Doctors to Nurses to those who delve into the mind to teachers and aids and parents and siblings. If Stan can see all these things and he is “Retarded” then what is stopping the rest of the world from being productive?

I can only think of one thing- Selfishness. Read his story, learn how he made his dreams real when the world said he couldn’t – learn how he accepted the cards he was dealt and used them to make himself successful. Read his story and take the lessons and apply them to your life. You see we all have challenges- we all have a handicap in some shape or form. But most times we hide it from ourselves as well as the world and it becomes our crutch or excuse or so called reason for not fulfilling our dreams. Then at the end of our life we play the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” game. We die with regrets.

Stand on Graduation Day it was never supposed to happen

This was just one of his many dreams that has come true!

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Books | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imperfect Children in a “Perfect” World

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option

I have watched and listened with a couple of emotions and thoughts as the pundits and those who have no clue discuss the birth control/abortion argument yet again. The fact of whether or not “imperfect” children belong in a “perfect” world. It has begun to transcend the fact that unemployment is at an all time high, the fact that we don’t need to be in Afghanistan anymore and other important issues in our country. Be that as it may let me just tell you a story.

In my family there is an “imperfect” child. In fact there were five of us. However, the one who stands out is Stan who was born in 1952. He was born at a time when that “imperfect” child was shunned by society, much like most of them are still shunned today. Stan contracted the flu when he was six months old and to add insult to injury he got an inflammation on the lining of his brain, which left him brain damaged. The part of his brain which controls his speech and motor skills were damaged and the doctors said he would never amount to anything but a vegetable.

The doctors recommendation was an institution or asylum. You see he was to “imperfect” to be useful to society. He has no place in the “Perfect” world. He had nothing to offer, to contribute to leave as a legacy.

Fortunately my mother didn’t listen to the naysayers. She understood that he did have a place, that there is always a reason for everything in life. He has taught all of us more than we can ever teach him. He taught us unconditional love, forgiveness, tenacity, belief that dreams do come true, loyalty, faith and so many other life’s lessons that we might not have learned had it not been for the blessing in our lives.

Is there a master plan? Indeed. Do we always know what that master plan is? No we do not! Do we really live in a “Perfect” world. No we do not. None of us are perfect. We all have “imperfections”. We all have something that is wrong with us. I live in a right handed world- I am left handed. I am less than five feet tall. And no I am past the age of 30 which most people believe is the magic age of wisdom. It isn’t.

Those children whose lives are snuffed out before they even breathe a breath outside the womb are a part of our future that will never be known. Stan has helped form my future. Had it not been for me I would probably never written the first book after my creative ability was squelched as a child. I would have probably gone through my life frustrated because I felt I wasn’t good enough. I would have never known the love, the kindness and the humbleness I have learned by having him as my “imperfect” brother in this “perfect” world.

Read his story then you too will understand the depth of my feeling about the joy, need and ability these “imperfect” children offer our “perfect” world

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Books | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review For Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option

 This is the latest Review for Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option. The true and inspiring story of a man who was not ever supposed to be socialbly accepted.

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never an Option

  • This is actually my first book review.  Here is the copy, but see my wall.

  • I just finished a book written in love, “DREAM CATCHER: failure was never an option”.  This was the first book written by Yvonne Mason, Russell graduate.  Yvonne writes with compassion and admiration of her amazing brother and his life long quest to prove the experts do not always get it right.  You smile as you cry, reading how Stan never gave up, and always found his own solutions, as he worked out his own unique methods of achieving the life he wanted to live.  Setbacks never stopped him.   While his entire family, his loving siblings and wonderful father, always were supportive and helped him reach his goals, it is their mother who is extraordinary in her refusal to accept a restricted life for Stan.  She confronts doctors and schools to help her son. Stan himself, his personality, his sweetness, his quiet courage,  will make you laugh with him, and cheer for him.  Yvonne’s love and admiration for her brother is on every page.  Just keep the tissues handy.   First, you will cry, then you will laugh at Stan’s  exploits until you are crying again … as his indomitable spirit struggles , and triumphs.  I promise, you will love this man before you finish the book.

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Inspirational Books | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I am a Full Grown Man!

“I am a Full Grown Man.” That statement has been uttered by my brother on more than one occasion. It would not be such an outstanding statement if he were not challenged. Stan was not supposed to be a full grown man or anything else for that matter. He was just supposed to be a vegetable stuck away in an asylum in the dark – while continually pumped with drugs to keep him compliant.

You see Stan is challenged both physically and mentally. He was also born in 1952 when the challenged were hidden away because they brought shame and disgrace on the family. There were hundreds of thousands of challenged individuals locked away from the prying eyes of the public for many years. They were called “idiots, slow, evil, stupid”, those were the nice names. They were laughed at, abused mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually. They were left to rot in a strange place with strange people who not only didn’t love them, they didn’t like them. These care givers believed that these unique individuals were there simply for their own enjoyment and twisted fun.

They were not taught any life skills, not survival skills and when they did try to speak out they were abused even more. They lived most of their life in solitary – both emotionally and verbally. Locked in a world they could never escape from. Hitler used them as lab rats to perform his sadistic rituals of testing. They have been used a court jesters, a source of cheap amusement for those who should know better.

“I am a Full Grown Man.” Those words are such a source of pride to Stan who was born into a family who was able to see past his handicap. Who were able to see the human with a heart, a soul and love in his face. A family who circled the wagons when the threat of abuse tried to enter his life.

Stan was never supposed to be able to reason, much less grown into a “full grown man.” He was never supposed to go to school much less feed himself, dress himself, wipe his butt after using the bathroom. As a matter of fact he was never even supposed to know when he had to go to the bathroom. But he learned.

He learned because he was loved at a time when the handicap was hated. He learned because he had a mother and father who would walk through through the fires of hell to help him succeed. He learned because inside of him was the tenacity to learn.

Was it easy? No! Absolutely not! Was there heartache, pain and detours? You bet! Did that stop Stan from reaching toward his goal of success? Hardly.

You see inside most of us there is that desire, an obsession almost to be somebody. To be better than the world thinks we should be. Stan had more than a healthy dose of it. He was over flowing with it. He believed therefore he achieved. He refused to allow anyone or anything undermine his dreams.

You might say well, he was never told he was “Retarded”. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. He has known since he was a child that he had brain damage and it retarded part of his brain. He understands this and will tell anyone who asks that he has a challenge. But he doesn’t care. He knows who he is inside and he is okay with “Stan”.

But you might ask “Doesn’t he get discouraged?” The answer is sure he does. But on the other hand we all do at one time or the other. You might ask isn’t he dependent on someone else to take care of him? My answer is “Are you kidding me?” This full grown man has been taught by his siblings and his mother that he can be independent.

He can work a full time job and make his own money. He can travel and enjoy his vacations. “Well,” you might ask, “Can he manage his own finances?” My answer is he has someone who does that for him. Many of us “normal” people do. So that is not big deal. You might ask “Can he draw a check from the government?” My answer to that question is “If anyone ever entertains that thought out loud to him, he will tell you right quick, “I want to make my own money. I don’t want to live off the Government.”

“I am a full Grown Man.” – When anyone attempts to baby him – that is the statement he gives. He makes mistakes, he has been hurt, and he has been used. But so have we all at one time or the other. He also has a great capacity to love, loyalty and generosity.

In 60 years he has taught me his oldest sister more than I could ever teach him. He has been my yardstick to success. He doesn’t give up and he is happy by not how much he makes but because he can make that money, no matter how many times they shuffle him around. He has worked at jobs that most of us would turn our nose up at because we felt we were to good to do them. He has worked long hard hours for little money simply because he can. He has been treated with disrespect, and dishonor because he is “different”. But he forgives and goes on. He harbors no grudges and he believes – “it will be alright”.

He knows when he is being teased in such away that is becomes abuse and he knows it makes him angry. He also taught himself how to control that anger. He didn’t go to therapy, he didn’t have a professional help him understand the source of his anger. He didn’t have to buy a gun and kill someone. He didn’t have to beat someone up because he was “angry.” He walks away. He takes deep breathes and he forgives. Simple as that.

All this he learned and he is “Retarded.” Yes, that is the name for his affliction. It is what it is. But then all of us are retarded in some way or another. If we say we aren’t we are lying to ourselves.

Stan is a teaching tool. He is a success story at a time when failure was his only option. His story is one that each person on this planet should read, should give to children – teachers and businesses. His story is one that can change the way we think about life, work, relationships, money, loyalty, and even our future.

No one not even the government owes us anything. We owe ourselves to be the best we can be. We owe society the best we are. Stan is a prime example of playing the cards he has been dealt. Of taking them and making a Royal Flush – of being successful simply because he has a moral compass and he uses it daily.

Read his story, Dream Catcher, Failure Was Never An Option. It is available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Nook Book, Lulu .com and my online store at http://thebookattic.ecrater.com

You will be a better person for having done so. How many of us can really say “I am a full grown man or woman?” Really say it and mean it. Age does not make us grown. Only Wisdom and the use of it to better ourselves and others. Stan has it!

Dream Catcher, Failure Was Never An Option

November 8, 2011 Posted by | Books | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

DreamCatcher, Failure Was Never an Option

Dream Catcher, Failure Was Never An Option

How many of us go through life saying, “Some day, I will make my dream happen.” Or I wish I could do so and so. Or if only things were different I could do this. Or if I could only get a break, or If only someone would help me.

Well, let me tell you a story about a man who was dealt a hand in life that he couldn’t change, he didn’t get breaks and he wasn’t supposed to be able to do anything, not even walk. This man was born at a time when the challenged and he was challenged was put away in asylums, forgotten and let alone in the darkness of their minds. They were the forgotten ones.
Stan wasn’t forgotten. He wasn’t put away and he never ever said, “if only”. He accepted the hand he was dealt, he played the hand he was dealt and he used his handicap for good. He never complained about the hand he had been dealt, for one thing it couldn’t be changed so it did no good to complain. He never pitied himself because he was different and he never felt sorry for himself. He accepted his handicap and used it to become a better person.
Stan was born in 1952 when the challenged was put away because they would “be a burden” to the family. That is what the doctors told my mother to do with him. The logic was that he would be to much to deal with and she already had one child and would have more. It was a though Stan was just a piece of yesterday’s newspaper to be tossed out because it was no longer useful.
Mother refused to listen. Even though the resources for looking after the challenged was non-existent she found all she could on brain damage and she taught herself how to care for him and how to expand his brain to make it work. She listened to her instincts as a mother. She believed that the brain which is a muscle could be taught to work against all odds. And the odds of Stan being anything but a vegetable were slim and none.
Stan was told he would never be able to go to public school- He didn’t believe it and neither did mother, so he proved them wrong. Stan was told he would never learn to talk, he proved them wrong. He was told he could never learn to read, he proved them wrong. He was told he could never go to high school again he proved them wrong. He was told he could never work in the public sector, again he proved them wrong. He has been working since he was sixteen years old.
Stan has been dealt some pretty hard blows, he has been cruelly teased, taken advantage of, laid off because of his disability and treated as if he only had half a brain. He has also touched lives, been loved without condition and grown into a wonderful caring, loving, son, brother and friend.
He has refused to allow defining negative moments in his life define who he is. He has refused to allow his handicap to define who he is or define how he lives his dream. He has refused to allow society to define who he is or what he does. He refuses to live with regret.
Stan takes each day as it comes. He lives each day as if it were his last, he loves himself for who he is not what he as. He loves his job not for the amount of money he makes but because he is able to make that money. He doesn’t draw any government assistance. He has always said he would work for his money. He does’t believe that he should have that which he has not worked for.
He lives his life to the fullest everyday.
Those of you who live in the shadows who truly believe that you are owed something just because you are on this earth- or because life has dealt you a lousy hand- or you were born into circumstances that were in your mind less than kind to you- read this book- there are lessons that Stan can teach you.
For those of you who have someone in your life who is handicapped and you ask yourselves why me read this book, it will help you to understand that we play the hand we are dealt with humor, tears and love.

For those of you who don’t believe you can live your dream read this book- it will give you the strength and will to strive to fly with the eagles. He is my yardstick.

For those of you who have spent your entire life bullying, abusing and generally being an ass when it comes to those who are different and teaching your children the same nasty traits, read this book- it is very humbling maybe it will give you a change of heart. Maybe you will be able to see into your dark soul and understand that your attitude is because of you and the way you see yourself.

Dream Catcher, Failure was never an Option will inspire you to aspire- it will give you the reader a look into not only the life of one who has struggles, dreams and detours, but it will also teach you that even though all those things were factors, they didn’t become the factor of his life- they became stepping stones for him to reach his dream. Failure was never an option because Stan made the choice for it not to be. He never allowed the negative to keep him down, he turned it around to make it work for him.

He never felt sorry for himself he always without fail made things work out not matter what. Stan who is handicapped believes in himself, his family and his God. He has faith and with that faith comes success on many levels. He continues to work toward impossible goals because he can – not because he thinks he will reach them but because he can.

Dream Catcher, Failure was never an Option is indeed a book that will make the reader stop and think. It will make the reader wonder why the pity party is not over. There is no room for a handout in Stan’s life, only a hand up. And he is usually the one reaching down to give that hand up.

October 17, 2011 Posted by | yvonne mason | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never An Option

Dream Catcher Failure Was Never An Option

Have you ever wondered if someone you met or saw who appeared to be challenged had any thoughts of unfulfilled dreams? If they thought like “normal” people or if they were a drain on society and their families. Have you ever wondered how a family could embrace and love someone who is “different” Have you ever wondered what that family felt, how they coped or how they managed their lives around someone who is challenged?

Do you take the time to treat someone who is different with the same respect that you would want to be treated with? Have you ever considered that they have feelings, they love, hurt and feel pain and loss like the rest of us? Have you ever stopped to listen to what they have to say or are you to busy to take that extra moment in order for them to articulate their thoughts out loud because it takes them longer? Have you ever taken the time to pause to listen to their opinions even thought it takes them longer to be understood?

Have you ever looked into their eyes and seen the large capacity of love and total acceptance they have for themselves and those they love? Have you ever taken advantage of someone who is challenged simply because they are an easy target? Do you make fun of them behind their backs with remarks like “riding the short bus?”

Have you forgotten that in some way we are all challenged? We all have things about us that make us not only different but unique. Yes, even the geniuses of this world don’t fit. The reason they think on a higher plane than most of us.

When Stan was born in 1952 children like him were put away in back rooms and asylums in order to shield them from the prying eyes of the public. That was not the real reason. The reason was the families were ashamed of these children who were not “perfect.” They were an embarrassment and a drag on the family. Most of these children died behind locked doors, had experiments used on them, were abused mentally, physical, sexually and emotionally all in the name of science. Any chance they had of being productive in society was destroyed by doctors, caretakers and even families.

Stan however, was one of the fortunate ones. His parents refused to allow him to be put away “for the good of the rest of the family.” He was taken home and taught how to be a productive person within the family unit and in society.
However, society was not always kind or considerate to him. He had his trials and tribulations. He was taken advantage of ridiculed and cruelly teased. But through it all he learned to be the wonderful productive man he is today.

He learned to control the anger that welled upside of him when people would tease him cruelly, he learned how to be passed over in jobs, how to accept demotions when it suited his employer because they could and he wouldn’t fight back. He learned how to work at jobs that most of us wouldn’t because he wanted to work so bad. He learned that his greatest asset was his family who always had his back.

He learned that women used him not for friendship but for the money he had. He learned that trust is a very fragile thing that is often times broken because of greed and lies. He learned to hide his pain and hurt behind his mantra “It’ll be alright.”

He can never marry or have children, something he has always wanted. He can never be totally independent because of the evil in the world and he has no defenses to fight it off.

However, he is living his dream, he is loved, he works and makes his own money. He travels by air to Florida and he is surrounded by those who guard him with the blanket of love and care. He has dreams and goals some of those he will accomplish and some he won’t – but he is still successful simply because he works toward those goals and dreams.

Dream Catcher, Failure Was Never an Option is his story. It is the story of one’s man’s success at a time when failure was the only option given to his parents. Sadly even though we have fooled ourselves into believing that we have put the ugly past behind us and that our special people are in a different place they aren’t.

They are still ridiculed, abused, teased, ignored and treated like they are a piece of furniture. Parents have taught their children to bully this wonderful people, to abuse them and to see just how miserable they can make the life of these unique and wonderful individuals. They are treated with disdain,and rudeness in the work place and in public.

We give lip service to how wonderful we treat them, but it is a lie. They are expected to perform at the same level as “normal” children in schools, act and behave like “normal” children at all times, and when they don’t they are thrown in handcuffs and hauled off to jails and juvenile halls and hosptials.

Not all handicaps are visual, many are emotional and mental. It is time to take these children out of the dark, put them in the light and allow them to grow at their rate. With love, the correct type of discipline (there is no one size fits all) and most of all acceptance. Unconditional acceptance! They didn’t ask to be born different, they didn’t ask to be brought into a world who refuses to accept anything they can’t explain away. They have just learned to play the hand they have been dealt. Help them to be a winner. Give them a hand up and a shoulder to lean on. Be their friend, a true friend who always has their back.

September 18, 2011 Posted by | yvonne mason | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Review for Dream Catcher Failure Was Never An Option

Dear Yvonne,

I want to let you know how much I enjoyed Dream Catcher. Stan’s story is so important, a story for our time, in helping us to see how essential it is that each child is accepted, included, and embraced in society and what they have to offer. Stan was fortunate that he had family and friends who fought for this and who believed in him. Thank you for writing this book, for sharing the gift of your family’s experience — the gift of Stan’s story. It is so perfectly titled.

Back in the eighties, I volunteered at a church for what was called Saturday School for adults with Down’s syndrome and autism and other cognitive challenges. Class was usually followed by a church service that these beautiful people themselves led and conducted. I thought they were pretty amazing. They understood alot more than what we often gave them credit for. I sometimes wondered what they were doing in a class all by themselves and had alot of mixed feelings about it. It seemed that the class was more for the “benefit” of others who didn’t want these people mainstreamed, aside from the “once a year” services when they were actually included. I remember thinking that this is how it should be every Sunday.

I used to be in total amazement of a little girl at one of the schools I used to substitute teach in. She was about seven and blind and was allowed to be in a regular classroom. Do you know that little girl could type word for word a whole story that I would read to her? She would type as I spoke. I would wait between sentences, but she let me know in no uncertain terms that I didn’t need to wait for her to “catch up”. She was always one step ahead of me.

The other side of that coin are schools who group all “special needs” or cognitively impaired children together, shut up in a classroom by themselves with no interaction with other children, even for lunch. I realize the challenges but there’s something wrong with this. It seems that all it does is foster and reinforce old stereotypes. Both sides lose.

Some years ago I suffered neurological symptoms that affected my speech and mobility. My entire life was flung upside-down in a matter of moments. I was pretty much homebound for sometime afterwards and I will never forget the intense pain of the isolation I felt. But many of these children endure isolation even into adulthood for all their lives.

When friends at my current church asked for help for the Buddy Walk (for Down’s children), I volunteered. They have a son with Down’s and had been involved with organizing the walk for several years. It was very rewarding to be involved with an organization that promotes inclusion of these children and interaction with them. We live in a society that loves and worships what is “normal” (if even that can be defined), a society that often doesn’t have the time or capacity to cope with people on a personal level out of the ordinary “stream” of life.

Your book offers hope by standing strong against stubborn stereotypes. I heartily recommend it to every parent and teacher. It should be in every educator’s library. Thank you, Yvonne, for investing in writing this book. I believe it will be a strong voice for acceptance as more and more people are inspired by it.

Wishing you continued success!

Yours always,

Cindy

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Books | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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