Day 75: Caretakers Change Lives

Day 75! I found a really good set to listen to and it inspired me to write. In an earlier post, I mentioned how my interest in my favorite genre of music dimmed in recent months. As of lately, that interest has sparked again and it has brought me a great deal of inspiration with it. In the upcoming post for this week, I will be discussing how important a good caretaker is to a young child with special needs. Today will be focused on the overview and importance of caretakers in general. The following post will be individual letters to each one of my caretakers reflecting and reminiscing about our time together. I figured this would be fun because a lot of these caretakers are unsung heroes that rarely get the admiration they deserve.

Caretaker:

There are a plethora of titles these people go by; PCA, para-educator, caregiver, caretaker, aide, the list goes on. I usually just call them friends because that is what they usually turn into. These aren’t your normal friends, these people know more about you than just about anyone else. They know exactly what to do when you are unable to do so for yourself. Caretakers can read you without even asking. Caretakers are the people I feel safe with because I know I trained and prepared them for every possibility.

Training them… this is where every mother worries, even mine. It is hard for any mother to hand their disabled child over to a “stranger” with minimal medical training. Trust me when I say this, your child will train their new caretaker just as they did with you. For any disabled child, this is a huge step in growing up because there is a good chance you won’t be there forever. It is crucial for a young disabled child to learn how to advocate their needs to strangers.

I went to MDA camp for eleven years and I have seen grown kids that lack this ability, it is sad. My mother used to dread handing me over to a new caretaker but I am extremely fortune she did. Growing up and still to this day, I have very little trouble going up to someone I don’t know and asking for help. I am confident I can direct someone through helping me because it is something I have done all my life.

The fun part:

The older we get the more we want to be independent and not have our parents around. Having the right caretaker gives us the ability to do that. With a caretaker, it gives us a chance to express our more rebellious side while also having a safety catch. I could go places without the fear of my parents policing me. I could say things that I would never dare to say around my parents.

To give you an idea of what I got to experience with my caretakers. I saw my first rated R movie in theaters when I was ten with my caretaker, it wasn’t a big deal in my household but still exciting. When I was of age, one of my caretakers took me to my first strip club and we got drunk. See? These are experiences you don’t want your parents around for. I have endless stories but I am saving them for the letters.

Before I end:

I know every disabled child requires different amounts of care. I am not advocating for you to throw out all judgment but when the time comes step back and think about it. It will be one of the most difficult situations for any parent to relinquish care of your child for the first time. I know it was for mine but I am forever thankful she did. It gave me the tools to succeed as a disabled adult.

I hope you enjoyed the read and like always, I will be back with tomorrow with another post. See ya’!

Here’s another beautiful photograph from my favorite photographer.


Originally published at Days of Parker.