Did you know that ostriches do not, in fact, bury their heads in sand? The illusion that an ostrich is hiding his head is actually a purposeful misconception intended to protect of his offspring from predators*.
Parents: Have you ever been accused of denying or avoiding the facts, hiding from the truth, or ignoring the situation when it comes to your children? Was it true? Or perhaps those accusations came from people who did not know all of the facts, didn’t get close enough, or even misunderstood the situation.
Here’s another thing about the ostrich, they are hard to miss. Adult males are eight to nine feet in height and weigh 350-400 pounds*.
Sometimes, as a parent of a child with disability, I feel like a lone ostrich in an aviary full of lightweight, ready for flight, birds. I feel like every decision I make has an audience; I can’t be missed and am thus scrutinized by the onlookers. When I protect, or advocate, I may be mislabeled as mean or aggressive. And when provoked, I fight with the tools I have, which may appear backward, but work for my needs.
Maybe I’m alone on this ostrich analogy.
However, let’s assume for today that I am not.
Let’s assume, for today, that parents of adult children with disabilities have lived in/with this combination of feeling both misunderstood and under the spotlight for most, if not all, of the lives of their children. And that each time a parent appears to have his head hidden, he is actually attempting to divert trouble and keep his child (no matter the age) safe and healthy.
One safe option for adults with disabilities in our community is the Madonna Workshop. Currently, however, the workshop format is under extreme scrutiny and there are changes being legislated. In some states, families of people who choose workshops as an option are being forced to find other arrangements or try out new placements, even if they are happy in their current environment.