It can be so hard to know what and how much to expect of our children, those with disabilities and those without. Raising our expectations too high can lead to disappointment and children that may never feel able to measure up. Putting so much emphasis on achievement can take away the importance of the process, the learning and the little steps; things which can often be more valuable than the end result. When all that we value is material success and ivy league educations, where do the rest of us fit in?
But we also know that expecting too little can lead to... well, too little. When society didn't believe children with Ds capable of learning, they weren't given the opportunities for education. When our society didn't believe them capable of integrating into society, they were locked away, and worse. So expectations have to rise... don't they?
We know that by raising our expectations of people with Down syndrome and cognitive disabilities, we are finding people again and again rising to meet them.
On a personal day-to-day level, managing expectations is hard, too. Sometimes the waiting, waiting, waiting for the slowest of progress keeps you questioning expectations. Some are reasonable. I know she will walk, even though it seems to be taking forever.
But there are other questions that are legitimate. Like will she ever use speech as her primary communication? There is a chance that she won't. Will she ever go to college or get married? Will she ever live on her own and manage money? I really don't know. Does creating these expectations put too much on us both? I am hesitant to expect her to do these things, because I want it to be OK if she doesn't. But I also don't want to limit her by putting my expectations too low.
As my husband says, removing expectation is the way to go. But is that really possible? And if I stop expecting Cora to speak, to read, to communicate, to develop independence and pursue her own interests, will I stop supporting her growth in those areas?
Or am I just over-thinking it way too much? Either way, she is growing and developing. Even when it seems so slow that I can't see it. I can question these things all the live-long day, but I'm not sure if it really even matters. The one expectation I can't seem to question is that she'll be amazing. And there is no doubt that I believe in that.
|Chill out, Mama!|