Saturday, September 10, 2011


ClickN KIDS Teaching KIDS to READ and SPELL One Click at a TimeNationwide, one in 110 babies is diagnosed with autism- a 60% increase for boys and a 48% increase for girls from a few years ago. Mental retardation is also identified more often among babies- every 5 minutes a child is born with such a cognitive setback. In Ohio, 4,500 babies are born each year with a birth defect, making it the leading cause of infant death and accounting for 19% of infant deaths in the Buckeye state.

I offer the growing number of parents having babies with disabilities a story. It‘s called, "Welcome To Holland" and was written by a mother experiencing what you are. She had a child with "Down's Syndrome". It illustrates the isolation and grief parents of babies with disabilities feel:

Welcome To Holland!
"When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting!

After months of anticipation, the day arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, 'Welcome to Holland'. 'Holland?', you say, 'I signed up for Italy, all my life I've dreamed of going to taly.'

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting place, full of famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks, learn a whole new language and meet a new group of people you would never have met. It's slower-paced and less flashy than Italy. But, after a while you catch your breath, you look around and notice that Holland has windmills, colorful tulips and even Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is coming and going from Italy. They're bragging about the wonderful time they had there. For the rest of your life you say, 'Yes, that's where I was supposed to go, that's what I had planned.'

The loss of that dream trip to Italy will always hurt. But, if you spend a life mourning that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, lovely things about Holland."

The Family Journal recognizes that today‘s parents with disabled children are distressed from economic and financial difficulties, adding more stress to the unfortunate rerouted air flight to Holland.

Researchers studied 28,141 such families at all income levels and found they were significantly more challenged by food, housing and health issues than families without disabled children. Surprisingly, a significant percentage of those struggling were higher-income households (National Survey of Am. Families). In fact, a significant number of families earning two to three times the federal poverty level (Av. $24,000 for family of four) worried that the food may run out, skipped meals due to lack of money, were unable to pay their rent, or had to move in with others.

Unfortunately, these higher-income, middle-class families raising disabled children may not qualify for assistance, since the qualifying income guidelines were set in the 1960’s.

For all the parents raising children with disabilities who have additional concerns due to the distressed economy…try to remember that Holland has many beautiful things to see.

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Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions of School Psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State Univeristy. A portion of Ad sale revenue from this site is donated to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. Questions? Comment? Concerns about family, parenting, educational or personal concerns? Contact him on the secure Bpath Mail Form.