Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Hope tends to be either overused or underused in the special needs world. 

Either you are failing your child in some manner or another for "not believing hard enough" or you are not "taking advantage of available therapies".

OR you are a "pie-in-the-sky parent who doesn't see the reality of your child's current status".

I've been accused of both...and more.  Sometimes in the same conversation or IEP meeting.  So, go figure...

Once upon a time...several years ago, Elise and Gabriel (4 years older) were on my parents' sailboat in a bit of a gale.  Such that Gabriel, who has always been a bit of a boat baby, hunkered down in the cabin, praying that they wouldn't capsize and die.  The bizarre part, what that Elise who had always been a bit of the Safety Police, and was over-aware of every jiggle of the boat, was up on deck, hand-over-hand tightening the jib lines, her face to the wind, grinning.

It was such an odd reaction for the both of them that it was added to family lore.  And sailing was not the battle to get Elise from the dock to the boat from that point on.

This weekend, we went to a friend's house on the lake.  And Elise did her usual screech every time the dock moved more than she liked.  But she remembered riding on their motor boat, so she ensconced herself on the back of it so they couldn't take it out without taking her.  She eventually got the guts up to get herself moved over to an inner-tube, and then squawked while I tried to get her turned around so it wouldn't dump her out at every movement of the water.  All this time, she has been observing everyone out playing on kayaks.  There was one adult one that was a tandem, and two little singletons for kids.  She decided eventually that the tandem had to be tried.  So, with some significant effort, we got her on with her brother.  She thought this was so excellent that she needed to try a kid-sized one after she got back.  There were a LOT more panic-y moments getting her situated on that, but when she finally got on, she was so pleased that she actually spent the time figuring out how to work the paddle.

By the time came for her to ride on the motor-boat, she had figured out how to manage it amazingly well...only needing help with turns.  And she thanked me, and the spare dad she had borrowed, profusely for letting her play on the "Gak boat".  And now she pleads to go again periodically.

This is epic. 

I love to kayak.  I am in the process of getting one of my own.  I have been out with a friend a bunch of times.  But when I had this in my head, I saw this as never being something Elise could actually participate in, if I could even talk her onto a boat.  I was afraid that it included just way too much motor-planning.  But this weekend has given me hope that she could actually participate...and bask in it as much as me...and it opened not only kayak possibility, but the possibility of things changing in her motor status...which has been rather stagnant and depressing for the last several years, to be honest...and not on my own, but the information I have been getting from many of her therapists.

Adventures are still ahead.  And hope certainly is.