I am what they call “Old School.” I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the new age of technology. However, I had an “aha” moment last week when all the planets aligned, the clouds parted and I truly saw the “miracle” of social media and the positive effect it can have on a family dealing with disability.
I was at a workshop trying to figure out what this online community called Pinterest was all about. As I followed the instructor leading me through the process of setting up my first FATWHEELS board, I began to get distracted with all of the searches I was typing in. “Special Needs”, “Adaptive Equipment”, “Autism”, “Cerebral Palsy”, “Down Syndrome”. “Disability”, “Cycling” “Training Wheels”, “Wheel Stabilizer Kits”…….the list was endless. With each click of my mouse, a whole world of resources, encouragement, humor, innovation and BEAUTY opened up to me. Then it hit me – this is AMAZING!! THIS AWESOME!! THIS IS A MIRACLE!!
When my oldest son was born with a developmental disability, computer use wasn’t really mainstream and there was no such thing as social media. I remember feeling alone, scared and desperate for information. I also craved a connection with other parents who were traveling down the same road as my husband and I. This was all so overwhelming. It was not only our first child but he was “different.” Why isn’t he talking? Why is he taking so long to crawl, walk and meet his other milestones? Was it OK to cry sometimes? Could I actually dare to just relax and enjoy this little guy? Did others feel the frustration with the doctors that I did? The questions and feelings were endless…..
Fast forward to 2015. Not much has changed as far as the questions and feelings that we all have but now…..wait for it….. there are ANSWERS!!
We have so many ways to find out the information that we need and to connect with others who are on the same journey. The Web, Email, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, blogs, chat rooms – the list goes on and on….
So please reach out – get involved. Connect with others and share all the information, encouragement and – yes – “love” that you have to give. You may be just the person that someone else needs to hear from. You may have a piece of information that they have been desperately searching for.
Let’s stick together as a community. Life is a highway. We are all traveling on this road together. Let’s make sure no one is left out and that EVERYBODY CAN RIDE!