There is nothing quite as daunting as being asked to be on a parent panel at a conference with more than 200 delegates, when you yourself are still processing a diagnoses. Sharing the stage with inspiring parents, mothers who exude a resilience, and an optimism that explains the sparkle in the eyes of their kids, as I looked at the photos lighting up the screens.
I signed up for the Ndiyeva, I can Hear, Conference in November last year and was drawn to the panel discussion about the 40% of deaf/hoh children with additional diagnoses. To me, this panel presented an opportunity to listen and learn from other parents like me.
Little did I know that I would be asked to be on the panel. I was hesitant to accept, and it took me a few days to consider what was being asked.
As a parent, new to my son’s Asperger’s Diagnoses, I am extremely vulnerable. I am vulnerable because there is so much that I do not know, yet I understand far more than I ever expected to. I am vulnerable because I recognise myself in my child, and while the world may never get it, I do.
Sitting on the panel, listening to the other parents share their journey, the raw emotion and strength – their optimism and knowledge, parenting with a wisdom that can only come with acceptance . . .
These parents, personifies inclusion, unconditional love and self-advocacy. I sat there in awe, because in the brief moments they shared, I experienced their resilience and vulnerability. They are the perfect parents for their child, and for this, I am grateful.
If there is one thing that life has taught me, it is that the art of success can be found in the ability to acknowledge that failure is not the end. Failure is an opportunity to learn, to teach, to grow – and to let go and dream a new dream. Today, the only dream I have for my son is happiness.
I accepted a long time ago that when I fail, I need to push on forward and continue to find alternatives. Alternatives that requires an inner reflection, and acceptance that as a special needs parent, I too must adapt and change to meet with the parenting needs of my child.
To this end, I salute all the phenomenal parents who keep on pushing on, and together with their family, friends and professional support teams keep raising the bar!
— Chevone Petersen (@ChevsLife) March 31, 2017