Thursday night I had the privilege of speaking to a group of parents at the Chesapeake Bay Academy, a special needs/learning challenges school in Virginia Beach. I was invited there to talk about our book. I thought long and hard about what I should say to these parents. I didn’t want it to be a book infomercial. I also didn’t want to read a lot, since listening to someone read is kind of boring. But I wanted to convey the main message of the book: as the parent of a child with an “invisible” special need, you are not alone.
So I decided to tell my story. Of course, my story as the parent of a 9-year-old with FASD is unique to my family, but so much of what we’ve gone through other people have gone through, too. The structure of the book: first glimpses, searches for treatment, problems with school, impact on family/friends/village and family/friends/village’s impact on us, and acceptance leading to a possibly uncertain, but hopefully hopeful, future, is basically the story of us, with the future part to be determined as life goes on.
One thing that came up as I wrote out my presentation, and which became even more solid once I started to speak, is that this idea, the idea that I AM NOT ALONE has not always been with me. Continue reading