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The Path to Success

suc·cess
səkˈses/
noun
  1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.



I've had two encounters this week, which in both cases, I thought of you. 

One colleague in my Paralegal course at UCLA shared with me her background, that she has struggled in school upon having a brain tumor and its removal. She asked me how I study for this course, since she is struggling with the material. We conversed, especially about if she needed testing aides or accommodations, but she looked at me and said, "No, I know I can do better."

You could sense the determination and quasi-stubbornness. Her will to go through this class and just fight for the best grade she could earn. It's the more difficult path, but it's a path she wants to take. A path that, at the end even with an average grade, she knows she fought hard for. 

Another radio segment the other day titled, "Feel Good Moments," shared a story about a Mom and her 7 year old daughter with down syndrome. This daughter used an app to communicate throughout her childhood, but finally just the other day she said her first sentence aloud. Following along with the app, she said, "I want a snack."  Mom broke down crying and even expressing her relief on radio, "For years all these doctors and tests they just told me my daughter would not amount to anything and I believed it. It was the first time I felt like she would be successful."

That comment. I've heard it from so many parents in the Apraxia community, and I've even heard it from my own mother. She said so herself at the 2017 Conference that all these doctors and tests, the realities of just how severe Apraxia was, "I [my mom] stopped dreaming for my child and just wanted her to speak."

There's this clear disconnect, and perhaps you've encountered this too. There's the disconnect between a child's disability and their starting point on their path to success. We often view a disability, a disorder, or some sort of hindrance as this 'Other' starting point. As if it's some distant island that is far from the end goal of 'Success' that it's completely unattainable.

However, in these analysis, these tests, and even our own thoughts we overlook perhaps the strongest variable out there.

Human Will.

When people, young or old, want to do something, they want to perform an action, they want to talk-they are stubbornly, persistently willful that they WILL find a way to do it.

And if they can't 'do it,' then they find a way to live with it's hindrance to find their happiness and accomplish their goals.

Human will. It's one characteristic that is never measured, thus, it's never mentioned in an IEP meeting, doctors could never factor that in, and could you even imagine if a speech pathologist had an equation saying, "Susie is 50% intelligible, but her human will to be 80% intelligible is so strong you should watch her progress by 10% the next evaluation..."

Impossible.

However, it's vital in this path to success. Success, even in its own definition, never has a set-in-stone path on how to arrive there. It's the mere accomplishment of something, but it never mentions the starting point.

We naturally view a disability or a disorder hindering this starting point, but I disagree.

There are those with natural and amazing abilities, but they do not use it to find their success. Often, they may take these abilities for granted.

Having the ability to do something though is just as strong as the Human Will to do it. The starting point in any path to success, Apraxia Journey or not, isn't necessarily the individual's ability to perform but rather their natural human will to do so.

That is their starting point: Their natural will.

It's the will behind a child's frustration to talk to their parents.

It's the will to fight the insurance companies for speech therapy.

It's the will a child has to meet new friends.

It's the child's will to learn how to be the best they can be, so as they mature they too can find success-whatever that may mean to them.

So next time, you are questioning one's ability to find success due to some roadblock that you may not have encountered yourself, perhaps there should be consideration for their Human Will on this path of success.

After all, human will is often underrated. It is not seen nor measured, and so it's rarely considered.

Despite these setbacks though, human will is at least one of many starting points to find success.

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