Home for the Holidaze
by Lori Miller Fox
Source: With special permission by Lori Fox, Specialedlaw.blogs.com
Every year, the onset of the holidays gets my mind wandering to a simpler place and time before children. And I ask myself, when did life become so complicated? When did special needs become so specialized? Here are just a few warm childhood memories I’d like to share, some of which are my own and some which belong to Hallmark.
I remember when inclusion meant inviting every blood relative to your holiday dinner, even the ones you weren’t speaking to. When appropriate placement meant sitting old diabetic Aunt Sylvia far away from the dessert table, and behavioral intervention meant keeping Uncle Sid away from the Cold Duck. When related services meant free babysitting and assistive technology was finding the remote. When jaw stabilization referred to chewing with your mouth closed. And No Child Left Behind meant not leaving the cousins alone in the living room with the good china.
I think back fondly when early intervention meant watering down the eggnog, and postural stability meant seeing who could remain standing after drinking the holiday punch. Behavioral modification meant ignoring what Aunt Ida was saying in hopes she’d shut up. Least restrictive environment meant wearing loose-fitting trousers with an elastic waistband, and multidisciplinary team meant Grandma, Grandpa and a good scolding.
I will never forget when goals were left to the football players and handicaps left to the golfers. When tone was sarcasm from a teenage niece and rigidity was the refusal to try broccoli. When tongue thrusting was what you did to your little sister after she bit you under the table, and transition planning meant handing hats and gloves and coats to boisterous guests.
I remember when a full plate meant a lot of food, not challenges taken on by parents of a child with special needs. And a fruitcake was a dessert, not the school’s definition of advocating parents. And when a noisemaker was something used in a celebration, not the school’s definition of a special education attorney.
I remember being naive, but I'm a stronger person now.