Speaking of Stories...
A group of professionals who are part of an organization that provides a variety of services for adults with developmental disabilities: housing, vocational resources, work environment, and day centers. Listened to me regale them with facets from my own story as well as answers from other parents of adult children.
They asked me to address "Team meetings." So I started with this picture…
Another experience I shared was when Marcus was in a transition program, preparing him with life and employment skills.
Marcus and I went to lunch before a team meeting; I explained to him we were going to a meeting to talk about where he should get a job after school. We talked about a few options for his preference. I mentioned one path -we'll call it plan A - that the program seemed to be steering him towards. He said, "No."
"Okay," I said, "Why not?"
"Horrible," he said.
Oh. Well, that's that then.
So, when we sat in the meeting, the folks talked about Marcus and how great he is (of course) and vocational plans came to the table. They mentioned plan A, I turned to Marcus and asked again, "Marcus, what about (Plan A)?"
"Horrible." he said again.
The looks of surprise that came from the team said everything I suspected - no one had asked Marcus this before.
Marcus is polite and compliant. He wants to be helpful and he wants to make folks happy and keep life smooth. But he has an opinion. and if asked, he will tell you.
So my plea to the folks today was: Be sure you are asking. not only the families, but also the person most affected by these plans. (Now, to the credit of Marcus' transition team, there was no attempt to convince him of Plan A. The idea was immediately scrapped and new options were pursued.)
These were two of the stories I asked this team of professionals to consider. I yammered for about 45 minutes and they were kind enough to nod and laugh at the appropriate parts. I am appreciative that this service center asked me to share if nothing more than to serve as a reminder that parents are people too!
The CEO thanked me for being brave enough to speak in this environment. The fact is - as it always is - personal stories is what changes people's minds. So - Tell. Your. Story.
If you don't know where to begin - check out these tips we shared at the 321 conference in March. And remember, here at The Road, we're ready to help you share!