27 September 2009

Independent Living

We all take independent living for granted. At least where we ourselves are concerned. We grow up thinking that “when we are big” we will have our own home, a job, drive a car, have our own family. This is the natural order of things, and we usually do not see any other way for our lives to be.

Shortly after Cathal was born I became acutely aware that he might not achieve this independence of living. One part of me refused to think that he would not. But the other part of me was all too conscious that the odds were not favourably stacked towards full independence. To this effect, and after discussing it with both his mammy and his uncle, I took some measures so that, when eventually I depart (may it be in no less than half a century away…!) at least something will be there for Cathal to insure some kind of financial independence. But that is in the long term.

What about the shorter term? What about in say 15 or 20 years from now? Very honestly, I do not think much about this. I am too busy enjoying myself with him, soaking up the joys and the fun he is offering me every time I am with him. Yet there is this thing about Abilities and Potential, isn’t there? And how he can be helped along the way, every day, to reach those that are his, and his alone.

And the possible result? Two examples have crossed my path this week - thanks in part to Blogland, and Mel in NZ, and thanks in part to DS Ireland Forum.

Check out “The Specials”, an internet mini reality-TV series about 5 young people sharing a house in Brighton, UK. The fact that they all have a learning disability is only a by-the-way. It is funny, happy, sad, heart-warming, but above all else it is honest. I think my favourite is Sam, I love his energy and his sense of fun! He is my kind of person.

Be sure to watch all episodes in order – as of today, they are 4 of them, all about 10-12 minutes long. Grab yourself a cuppa of your favourite brew, sit back and enjoy.

If this is not independent living (even with their carers around them), what is?

And check out Kelly from New Zealand, a woman leading the kind of life we should expect for anyone. So simple!

I am slowly but very surely learning that Disability is very much a relative concept! And who said Independent Living was not for everyone?


jazzygal said...

Great post Nan P.

There's hope for everyone. With support, understanding and acceptance it's amazing what can be achieved. We can all learn from Kelly! I love her goal setting and her determination to achieve them. xx Jazzy

Cheri said...

I had never heard of "The Specials"....thank you so much for posting this! This is what I LOVE about blogging....we all learn so much from each other! I just went over to the site and watched an episode...Sam grabbed my heart too! I see a little bit of Cathal and Reid in him.