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Parental wisdom: no college degrees necessary.

Mr. Gross shares with many of our parent readers a special wisdom derived from real experience. This special wisdowm comes from the day-to-day living with and caring for a child with special needs.

Over the past 20 years, we have learned and relearned that parents are special experts. Family Support is the most popular section in the magazine. Everyone -- health professionals as well as parents -- wants to know what parents think and how much they know. Our best articles come from parents writing about the everyday care of their children. They have shared their wisdom in areas ranging from the use of computer technology to the basics of dressing and feeding.

We have heard from and published articles by a number of parents whom we consider pioneers -- parents who have developed thier own understanding, found their own paths, traveled where few have ever been, and overcome ignorance and prejudice along the way.

The pioneers of the past found there was a dependability in following the North Star. The North Star for our parents has been their special ability to focus on the child -- not his or her disabilities. These parents have pressed onward in their search for the best ways to assist their children's development. They have not accepted the limits imposed by others who were pessimistic about the future. Rather, they have expected their children to grow, develop and find ways to enjoy the challenges and joys of life as part of a family. To accomplish their task, parents learned how to help one another and how to work together to address community prejudices.

Parents have also found that some professionals can get so focused on their own area of specialization that they fail to appreciate or respect the wisdom of parents who live with a child and understand the context of the family. All too often such professionals do not give parents any opportunities to teach them. Instead, parents are sometimes treated as if they lack knowledge and experience and their observations and solutions are not worthy of attention. Parents have taught us that the most effective way for them to work together with professionals is for each to appreciate that they can learn from the other.

Over the years, we have learned about the many different people who read the magazine, know about children with special needs and write articles. A number of our articles have been written by parents who, after having their children with disabilities and spending years meeting with experts about those disabilities, realized how much they themselves knew and had to offer others. They later went to college and then got advanced degrees. Many of our writers, however, have not. In our meetings with parent groups, we are continually impressed their knowledge, regardless of their formal education.

We have also discovered that it takes something special to write one's personal and precious thoughts for others to read. This is true for parents, whatever level of education as well as professionals. It is a self-selected group who writes.

We hope parents will continue to submit articles. We are ready to help with editorial support to make their articles clearer for all parents. The success of Exceptional Parent has been built on the wisdom of parents who have been willing and able to share their wisdom with us. We have learned from all parents, those who are well-educated and those who are not. We are reminded again and again of the difference between education and wisdom.
COPYRIGHT 1991 EP Global Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:editorial
Date:Oct 1, 1991
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