In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to write a special post about a woman who is dear to me and anyone who knows her. If I had to describe Vinnetta in one word it would be “amiable.” Vee is a vivacious, energetic and athletic woman who has a genuine kindness and selflessness that reminds us all to try to be better people. This is her story. It’s about the fight of her life. It’s about how love, support, and faith helped her weather the shock of her diagnosis, the medicinal battle against a cruel disease and beyond her triumphant survival.
As a special needs parent, advocate and blogger, I get overwhelmed just as many other parents. Whenever I feel down or defeated, watching movies of triumph, inspiration, and perseverance offers me a sense of motivation, insight and sometimes creative revelations. A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about my Top Ten most Inspirational Movies about Disabilities, and it’s still one of my most popular posts to date. Inspired by my reader’s interests and my love of movies that helped me get through some tough times, I thought I might write more often about movies that are disability related and recognized by the academy and other titans of film industry.
If I had a quarter for every time someone said they were sorry after learning I have a son with autism, I would have a small fortune! It’s true that having a child with autism has its challenges, but because of a supportive family, great friends, the expertise and guidance from colleagues, and a team of compassionate and talented educators, Richie is doing great. And all is good because we see the positive side to family life with autism.
The LATISM (Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media) movement has served as an instrumental vehicle for the advancement of Latinos across the nation in education, health, business, technology, and advocacy.
If you’re a parent of a child with special needs, then odds are you’re dozing off while trying to read this post! Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. Raising a child with special needs comes with overwhelming love, but that’s not all. We experience incredibly stressful situations and we are in constant worry mode, which means our mind is always racing even when we’re trying to relax.
Mother’s day gives us the opportunity to honor all women who care for their children. In most dictionaries, the word “Mother” is defined as a female parent. It’s such a bland definition when you think about what it truly means to us, even if it varies slightly from person to person. This is because the definition only recounts the mere act of giving birth. For many of us, it’s the years following the miracle of birth that captures the essential nature of motherhood.
Some time ago, I wrote a workshop about the history of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It captured many of the events that led to how special education laws came to pass. It was a journey that unveiled intricate pieces of our disability history. It was also a very emotional experience for me, since I learned a great deal of what it might have been like for Richie had we been around in the early eighteen hundreds.
The director is the artist and the screen is their canvass for featuring their interpretation of iconic historic events, fascinating scientific discoveries, or unexplained miracles. Hollywood’s big screen can serve as one of the most powerful and influential tools for educating, inspiring, and enlightening. There have been so many movies that have successfully raised awareness of issues in the disability community, but more importantly, they illustrate the power of hope and perseverance. It would be too long a post to name them all! As an avid movie lover who enjoys deep, heart-felt messages learned through movies, I share my top ten best inspirational, disability-related movies of all time!
For many years, I had to deal with the stares, the snide remarks, the cruel comments, and the unbelievable acts of ignorance towards my sweet son– alone. It was awful. I remember having to be on the defensive all the time, asking people to excuse my son’s behavior, or apologizing for his confusing or seemingly frightening movements. It was so important to me that Richie was involved in community activities, and that he was accepted and always included in family activities. Still, it was challenging, because I could always count on the insensitivity and cruelty from many people, which was always ripe and plentiful.
President Barack Obama proclaimed September 15th through October 15th of 2015, as National Hispanic Heritage Month. In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor the cultures and contributions of the many Hispanic families and Americans with Hispanic lineage.
Hispanics have highlighted the beauty of diversity in our country. They bring the richness of their culture, customs and traditions to the United States, and what a joy it is to be able to indulge their many delicious foods, music, dances, and other traditions. This month certainly gave me the opportunity to reflect upon our family and how we celebrate our culture with love and pride of our heritage. As Puerto Ricans, we have the privilege of being simultaneous citizens of the United States and the Caribbean island. Our family was blessed with celebrating and embracing both our American and Hispanic cultures.
We all live in the fast world of advancing technology, political propaganda, professional ambitions, and of course, time is never kind to us. Every once in a while you come across a story that touches your heart and reminds you of the things that truly matter in life.
Having a child with special needs isn’t the gloom and doom that some might imagine it to be. Yes, there was the initial shock, sadness, fear, and overwhelming stress that consumed me when I first learned of Richie’s life-long challenges, but there is also an unspeakable love and happiness that I don’t share with anyone else on this planet. My son and I have a unique language of our own, I understand him and he knows he can count on me.
Author: Christine Goulbourne