Day #29: Lessons Learned

Lessons learned on the Apraxia Journey; where exactly can one possibly begin?

Frankly, this entire blog could constitute as 'lessons learned.' Between discussing bullies, friendships, teachers, and life-there's lessons everywhere.

However, in sharing my stories and also meeting others I believe there is one, significant lesson that is applicable for all on the Apraxia Journey:

Despite any obvious imperfections, including Apraxia or other disorders, that does not and should not define, take away, or inhibit anyone's potential for happiness.

It is easy to doubt or question anyone's ability to find success and happiness, especially when they have a disorder that is not familiar. In the song, Colors of the Wind, Pocahontas sings, "You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you." This line is applicable to our kids with Apraxia, they don't speak 'normally' and others definitely treat them differently because of it. Frankly, these others doubt or at least question them. 

This negative doubt is usually done 'indirectly' and can occur in any exchange as I'm sure you parents know all too well. Backhanded comments from doctors, specialists, teachers, and other professionals constantly and subtly sharing their doubts for your child's future and capabilities.

This doubt can come from peers directly towards the child as well, causing the child with Apraxia to question their own capabilities on this pursuit of happiness. Personally, I even questioned my own potential for happiness at a rather young age.

In Elementary School, I noted the difference between myself and other students. Noting that most of my Girl Scout Friends were in honors programs like "GATE" and would all be in the same Physical Education class, whereas I would attend a smaller class with 5 or so students for Physical Education and Math Courses. Frankly, I recall being the dumb and the slow one, but at least I was nice and 'worked hard.'

I also recall in 4th grade discovering that, "Boys don't like girls who talk funny." I quit doodling my dream wedding on my notepads and began to tell myself that girls like me, well, we don't get the happily ever after.

This question of "Would I ever be like my smart friends?" and "How could a guy ever like my voice?" were sadly an internal thought for the majority of Elementary and Middle School. Okay, albeit, it's rather a young age to even think about boys, but I couldn't help it. 

There was this indirect pressure causing doubt in myself to pursue and achieve happiness and success. My parents also faced these pressures from doctors and educational professionals.

At the end of the day, these pressures did not win. It did not deter my parents nor myself from working hard, studying, and- yes- even putting myself out in the dating world. 

Perhaps, that's the greatest lesson of all though. These constant negative and outer pressures never truly inhibit a person's happiness and future success. These elements only inhibit a person's happiness if you let it. If you let this constant doubt inhibit your actions, decisions, and your child's ability to prove themselves at every turn.