By Jackie McPhee
April 17, 2014
There were two young men seated at the table at the front of our “Barn” at Children’s Village when I walked in the room. The anticipation of their presentation was in the air. Each of the presenters had been given a list of questions to answer about growing up with a disability. The first presenter introduced himself as a freshman at YVCC in aerospace machines. I saw one grandparent with a wide smile move closer to the front of the room to ensure that he was able to hear the whole story.
The first panelist told his story about overcoming his challenges after graduating from West Valley School District.. As he explained his diagnosis of autism, he talked about how the “social stuff” was challenging. He expressed his thankfulness for all of the help that he received from his family and from his teachers. At YVCC he has a mentor/tutor who helps him and he is proud to be on the Dean’s list.
The second presenter is a student at YV Tech in Culinary Arts where he is able to explore his love of cooking. This young man told us he, “wants to be a role model for kids with autism.” He said, “We are not different— we are just like other people.”
The audience asked Eric and Alex question after question. The answer that I heard most often related to the support these incredibly successful young men received from their families, therapists and educators.
The panel called “Views from My Shoes” provides inspiration to families raising children with disabilities. As I was leaving the grandfather was still smiling.
Thank you to the Parent to Parent program at Children’s Village for making this an annual event.