Sunday, May 1, 2011

When it works...

In my 14 years as a Mom, I have spent a large portion of time attempting to find accessible activities for my boys.

First let me define accessible...because contrary to apparently-popular belief, it does NOT simply mean a ramp to enter a building. It does not simply mean a willingness to let a child OBSERVE. No for an activity to be accessible, it must allow full participation by the child. Participation. Not observation. Clear?

(Based on my complete need to capitalize that entire paragraph, I think I might have some issues that need to be addressed...)

You should know that I have found some winners -- a sweet gymnastics program in Minnesota where Mason flourished as a preschooler; a soccer team in Texas where both boys made friends and had a blast. But I have also found some doozies -- an acting program in Minnesota where Benjamin was told to "move like a pizza" and since he really couldn't he got to watch the rest of the class "move like a pizza"; a baseball program in Arizona where the kids just ran the bases and learned nothing about the sport and -- to Mason's complete dismay -- were not allowed to get anybody "out"!

During our public school days we also had both extremes: an amazing band director who found the instruments the boys could excel with; AND a choir director that played demeaning "lullabies" to, in his words, "calm Benjamin down" because Benjamin's Cerebral Palsy causes him to move when he is enjoying something immensely....which he did with music before said-choir-director almost ruined it.

All of that to say...I was extremely nervous last semester when I enrolled the boys in a Christian theater company. What would it "look" like for them. Would they be able to fully-participate? Would they enjoy it? Would the other students be accepting?

Two productions in. Two semesters behind us. I know the answer is a resounding YES!

Benjamin as Schroeder in Snoopy, The Musical!

Mason as Charlie Brown in Snoopy, The Musical.

From the remarkable directors to the amazing students, Moezart Productions has given new meaning to the word ACCESSIBLE.

In my perfect world, where special needs are seen LESS and abilities are seen MORE, Moezart is what it will look like. A place where friends are friends. A place where ramps are built without thinking twice -- or acting as if we should be eternally grateful. A place where roles are assigned without thinking about limitations. A place where ABILITIES are able to SHINE.

Mason as Will Scarlett in Robin Hood.
Benjamin -- as a soldier -- and Friar Tuck after the final curtain.

Soldier/narrator Benjamin in an amazing costume that disguised his wheelchair!

Benjamin and Mason with Mrs. C, their awesome, amazing director!

This, my friends, is what accessible looks like. And accessible is a huge blessing. Huge!


Scott & Stefanie Harris said...

PRAISING GOD FOR ACCESSIBILITY!!! Your boys are just precious and we are thrilled that they have found something they enjoy DOING and are SO GOOD AT!!!! Thank you Lord!

We thoroughly enjoyed watching them in Charlie Brown and are bummed we didn't get to see them in Robin Hood. :( Maybe the next play?!?!

Love you all!!!

Scott, Stefanie, Mandy, Jessica & Emma

GreenGirl said...

Best post ever! Love it!

Rhonda Bryant said...

Truly a wonderful post!!! I stopped over here from Kelly's blog. I am so glad you posted a link!! I have a a daugter, Bailee, who has cerebral Palsy. She is 13 and walks in a walker. Your post truly blessed me! These teenage years are really hard and with a disablitity they are really hard. Bailee is very determined but she gets so frustrated when she sees her friends cheering, playing volleyball, and softball. Bailee was able to take dance, a regular class, she was the only one with a disability. Her goal was to get her 10 year trophy and she got it last May! Praise the Lord for bringing these wonderful instructors into our lives and making life accessible for our kids! I loved reading your post! You have a beautiful family! Thanks so much for sharing!
Rhonda Bryant

Sasha said...

What an amazing theatre company! That is about the coolest thing I have even seen! How wonderful that your boys get to be a part of such a wonderful program that gets it right!

Sweet Baby James said...

So glad to have found your blog from Kelly's Korner. I am a Mom of a 3 year old with CP. I am always seaking out moms that have raveled this road that we are just begining. I love the pictures of your handsome boys in thier plays!!

Hannah Banana said...

I found your blog from the Special Needs Families Link up on Kelly's Korner (from 2011).

Thank you for sharing your boys.

We just adopted a little 2yo girl who has CP.

We are still learning just how much this will affect her life in the future. And are finding our "new normal."

I would love to stay in contact!