Monday, July 22, 2013

When Children Influence Their Parent's Career Path

Within the last few days, we had several reminders that the difficulties faced by a child can help shape the path of a parent's work.

First, a friend called to report the good progress her son was making in his new program -- the next step for him as a young adult with significant learning and other difficulties. "You know," she said, "now that I have him settled, I'm thinking of a new career as an advocate for other parents. Do you have any ideas as to how I can begin this process?"

Almost the very next day, our colleagues at Wrightslaw sent out their Summer Newsletter, So You Want To Be An Advocate? Summer School 2013: Session 1 . It contains lots of helpful advice about how to begin to learn about special education and special education advocacy. We sent the link along to our friend, along with our suggestion that she also consider becoming a member of COPAA, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, which has helpful listservs for lay advocates as well as attorneys, a website full of information, and which runs a terrific national conference each year (March, 2014 in Baltimore) which is a wonderful way to learn about advocacy and meet other advocates and experts.

A day or two later, we received a copy of Bostonia magazine, which contained the compelling story of Ed Damiano, an associate professor of bio-medical engineering at Boston University who is racing to develop a bionic pancreas to treat his son David's type 1 diabetes. Prototypes of an iPhone assisted device are in clinical trials and he hopes the device will be available for son to use in a few years, when he heads to college. Watch a video about the Damiano's experience below.

Finally, as many of our readers know, a number of years ago Dr. Paul Yellin served as Chief Medical Officer of a New York City hospital (and, before that, Director of Neonatal Clinical Services at a major teaching hospital) before his own child's learning issues led him to his present work and the founding of The Yellin Center.

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