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On not being a barrier

June 22, 2012

  I continue to catch myself being unable to imagine the full spectrum of options for teenagers and young adults with intellectual disabilities. I am frequently shocked when I discover that I have been ‘capping’ the young people I serve. I worry and think things like “They don’t fully understand their limitations. They are going to fail and fail big and then be in a lot of emotional pain.”

They may not understand the implications of their limitations but do I want my own teenagers and young adults to ‘cap’ their options? No, I do not. My children don’t fully know their limitations. Do I even want them to think about their limitations. No, I do not. I want them to dream big and I want them to be idealistic. Heck. I want to dream big and to be idealistic.

I am a little ashamed that I have somehow believed that it is OK to ensure that the young people I serve fully understand their limitations. Their families and these young people know themselves much better than I do.

And even if they do fail? My children have experienced unexpected failures and yes, it has been hard but they have learned and become stronger and moved forward. I am grateful to the teens and their parents with whom I have worked. They seem to have forgiven me when I’ve messed up. I will accept their gift and strive harder to remove the barriers to them reaching for their dreams. One of those barriers being beliefs like my “old” belief that young people with intellectual disabilities need to fully understand the implications of their intellectual challenges. Those barriers are the real limitations.

 I need to remove that thought from my belief system. I look forward to receiving any reminders to do that. Thank you in advance.

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2 Comments
  1. Thank you for your comment. It encourages me to keep striving to be the therapist and the person I really want to be.

  2. I think recognising, owning and repenting for a ‘belief’ that you no longer hold to be true is a sign of greatness. I sure wish you were working with my daughter! Thank you for your honesty.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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