Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Feel Awesome

Last Friday, Kyra and I had the opportunity to converse with a group of designers and researchers from California State University working on the concept that people with special conditions (i.e. “disabilities”) more often than not possess abilities that “normal” people don’t have.

For example, it is well-documented that blind people often develop superior hearing and tactile sensitivity, and people on the autism spectrum are often able to hyper-focus and solve problems with enhanced speed, creativity, and accuracy.

These researchers and designers postulate that when we understand, expect, and encourage these special abilities, people that have previously been denied meaningful education or work because of a glaring “disability” suddenly become economically valuable in the eyes of a school or business.

It’s a win-win situation long overdue.

Kyra and I had so much fun answering questions about Kyra’s talents, gifts, and interests, and learning about the projects and research the group was working on. (Once I figured out how the “zoom” video-conferencing thingy worked… )  The discussion gave me the encouragement and hope I needed: That people with special conditions such as Kyra’s can dream their biggest dreams for their future, and make those dreams come true.

As Kyra ages out of child-related agencies, services, and opportunities, we are finding that adults with complex conditions such as hers are expected to be shuffled off to a nursing facility, and left to endure days filled with television and the occasional visit from a high school group looking for community service points.

That is not acceptable.

So, I’ve been worrying and asking and calling and digging, trying to find out, “What do people do all day, and how can Kyra be part of it?”

And like a gift from above, I was invited to talk with some wonderful people at California State University that are asking this same question, and working toward a solution.

After our zoom-conference conversation, while Kyra was snacking on applesauce and peanut butter, I asked her to tell me what she thought about we had talked about that afternoon. Using her Tobii-Dynavox eye-gaze device, Kyra said, “I feel proud. I feel awesome.”

Sara & Kyra