This next month a new series of classes “Equally Artistic” is beginning at Vashon Allied Arts for Special Needs Kids.
I put those words in capitals because they are heroes in their own lives every single hour of every single day. For elementary age kids there is a drama class and for middle and high school there is a creative writing class. They will have a chance to discover the artist within them.
People are always asking me why I haven’t given up under such incredibly adverse conditions. The answer certainly involves my faith but also because on March 18, 1961 while sitting in the backseat of a Renault waiting for a left hand turn an Oldsmobile doing 90 slammed into my back pushing the engine up and over my legs ramming it’s headlights into the back of my head and booting the car like a soccer ball 60 feet in the air and 120 feet off in the air where it dropped under a tree.
I joined an elite group of people that day. I became physically disabled.
Being disabled, having a disability, is the fudge ripple in the vanilla of life.
In the middle of working with the Blue Heron to fashion these classes, another accident happened. I tripped over something and slammed myself into a wood pile outside the West Seattle Thriftway. When I righted myself, the signal from my brain to my right leg was gone.
Now I have lost many things and people in my life; a husband, four babies, a couple of children, jobs I loved, money that was owed me. But in those moments when I returned from hospital and lay by myself staring at the ceiling, I had one fear. Could I rise again? Could I overcome this? Was this the one that takes me out?
Parents of children with disabilities live with that everyday.
But you know what? I never missed a column. I plowed into my writing in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible. You see that’s why we’re the fudge ripple. When the going gets tough, we dig deeper and try harder. And we laugh. The title of this column is taken from the movie “Galaxy Quest”. Funniest movie ever except for “Rat Race”.
When my legs and back were injured as a child I was training to be a dancer. It was all I wanted.
So I turned to the other love, singing. Eventually I added drama and writing.
We learn to live with stares, and judgment and isolation and exclusion. Then we learn to blow it off and be who we’re meant to be.
There was a season when they referred to us as ‘differently abled’. I like that. That captures it.
Life is different for me now. My four toed cane is my new best friend. But guess what I can do with it? Dance!! It’s like having my own personal barre with me, a ballet barre.
For the last twenty years I have had the privilege of working in private homes helping children and their parents who have disabilities find their strengths and core gifts. Time to broaden the horizon into the Arts.
My teachers never expected less of me because I wore a brace or had a limp and foot drop. I’ve always expected more of myself to move past and into and above. Because of that, I could achieve.
It’s not too late to register. Call the Vashon Allied Arts today 463-5131 and sign up that child or teen with Downs or Epilepsy or Autism or CP or anything the world labels a ‘disability’.
Help them have a new label- Creative!
The month of March 2014 on Saturdays, Deborah will be teaching two classes for children, tween’s and teens with Special Needs. Drama for elementary and Creative Writing for tweens and teens. Please contact the Blue Heron for registration. 463- 5131 for information and registration. Each class has three typical spots as well. Class size limited for individual instruction. Typical content, adaptive instruction.