Power Grid Blog
Mark’s Weekly Message: Mothers’ Day
May 11, 2012 | AAPD Power Grid Blog Team
Mother’s Day ought to be easy to write about, right?
I can just say “please remember to thank all of the mothers out there who move mountains for their families. Don’t forget to call your mother and send her something nice.”
It’s actually really hard. For one thing, my mom will probably read this. Since it’s my first Mother’s Day message as AAPD’s president, she might judge it by a high standard. That’s a good thing. I’m lucky to have a mother who believes in my potential to do better for myself and for society. That’s what makes parents so amazing to me: that they can look at a newborn baby, temper-prone preschooler, or petulant teen and see limitless potential.
At this point you might think I’m about to write about parents who have kids with disabilities, and thank them in particular for believing in kids whom other people might not see as having potential. But that’s not my message today.
Today I want to thank all of the mothers with disabilities out there for the roles that you are playing in communities, families, and this movement. There are millions of you out there, taking on the same responsibilities as every other parent. Sometimes, you’re dealing with much more.
This week, for instance, I was horrified to read about a Toronto-area couple who almost lost their baby boy because authorities believed—apparently based upon misperceptions about their disability-- that the mother and father, both of whom have cerebral palsy, would not be able to care for him. The Children’s Aid Society argued that if they wanted to keep their baby, these parents must have 24-hour assistance from an “able-bodied” caregiver. Imagine having being told that you needed someone else to take care of your child based on ill-conceived stereotypes about your disability.
This is an extreme case of disrespect for parents with disabilities, and we can’t just dismiss it out of hand. The fact is, people with disabilities are too often treated like children ourselves. It’s too often assumed that we need someone else to take care of us. It’s too often assumed that we need someone else to speak for us.
Like I said, it isn’t always easy to write about Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day.