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"Hard times don't create heroes. It is during the hard times when the 'hero' within us is revealed." – Bob Riley

March 22, 2023

No list of heroes could be complete without mentioning parents and advocates. Many times, parents are the biggest advocate in their child’s life, but sometimes someone else in the child’s life steps into this role. Every child needs a parent advocate regardless of bloodlines. Parent advocates face many challenges, but one of the hardest is the ability to be truthful with yourself and everyone else. To admit your feelings about your situation and the functioning level of your child is a constant struggle. Trying to keep your expectations high enough that your child reaches his/her potential while being satisfied with the slow progress of a child with a developmental disability is an extreme balancing act. A few very talented parent advocates have been able to explain this balancing act and how they survive it daily in writing. These exceptional authors can articulate this process without judgement or criticism. They do not tell fellow parent advocates traveling this difficult path how their child was cured of their ailments, what treatments should or should not be used or that this will all go away if the parent just does more or wants it bad enough. Instead they speak of acceptance and how to find the love and joy despite their circumstances. Transcending long term disappointments that continue throughout a lifetime is a gift that few can achieve without a guide. One such guide is Diane Dokko Kim who wrote Unbroken Faith: Spiritual Recovery for the Special Needs Parent. While I am not the same religion that she is, her book resonated with me and gave me hope. This is just one example of parent advocates who heroically help others see the bright side of special needs parenthood.