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Fall 2009 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Compiled by Jean Robinson, VI Family Support Specialist and
Edgenie Bellah, TX Deafblind Project Family Support Specialist,
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Abstract: Parent leaders share words of wisdom and their experience gained from raising children with visual impairments or deafblindness, including those with additional disabilities.

This July, the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) made available a wonderful publication titled, I wish I had… Wisdom from parents of children who are deafblind. Prepared by Paddi Davis, Peggy Malloy, Betsy Martin-Richardson, the publication is a compilation of parents from across the country sharing their thoughts on their wisdom and experience gained by having a child who is deafblind. Of the many contributions made in I wish I had…, three are from Texas parents. Following is what they had to share:

I wish I had…

…kept a journal every week, especially about the good things happening in our lives. Kathy Sheriff, Willis, TX

… known the importance of holding my child as much as possible in the beginning. Instead of spending so much time trying to understand the diagnosis, I could have been bonding, rocking, playing, and dancing with my son. Touch is so important to these babies. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t stop touching him from the moment I met him. Erin Sefcik, Dallas, TX

… known that with all the tears of sadness there would also be tears of joy. Both sets of tears are unimaginable to most other parents. Most parents know certain things will happen as their child grows. In our world of parenthood, we coach, we teach, we model, and we pray. And when a milestone is reached, it is so meaningful and touching. The little joys of finally finding her toes. Her first words. Singing “You are My Sunshine” together. Following me around our home without her walker for the first time when she was 2 1/2, with me on the verge of wondering if it would ever happen. Identifying pictures by sight and using sign language successfully. When those events occur, you could never replace them or ask for more. All of those things that were on a list of things she would never do, now DONE. Tears of joy come and you will never feel more love or be more proud in your lifetime. Becky Lowell, San Antonio, TX

When we saw this publication, we were struck with our own wish that we had thought of asking parents this question all through the years of working with them. The opportunity presented itself this year at the graduation of the 2008-2009 VI Family Leadership class. Here are the graduates’ responses.

I wish I had…

… known other parents to help me cope with the emotional aspects of having a VI child.

… known earlier about all the different resources available that were available to us.

… known that when people stare, they aren’t always thinking the worst. Sometimes people are just curious and ready to learn about differences. I don’t always have to have my guard up.

… kept more involved in community activities

… been able to let anger go earlier and move forward.

… been able to develop better relationships with educators from the start.

… looked ahead rather than stay stuck in the “problems we had to face.” It would have been easier to see we are on a path to something rather than in a ditch.

… allowed more people to learn about my son.

… thought “outside the box” more often.

… just enjoyed the day with my son, more often.

As you read these parents’ thoughts, we encourage you to reflect on the lessons learned in your own journey. Not only does this give you the excuse to stop a moment and celebrate your journey thus far, but it prepares you for the moment when you will have a chance to help another parent learn from your experience. To receive a copy of I wish I had…, and read more family stories, go to .