We are all bombarded every day with huge amounts of information and a wealth of other people's opinions, and it is easy to take these at face value. Maybe because of my history I'm loathe to do that ~ put in the simplest of terms, things are not always as they seem. Taking the opportunity to consider issues which catch my attention helps me feel better informed about the world we inhabit, as well as the society we're part of.
Thinking allowed is where I plan to collect those posts that are just me, thinking my way through life ~ contemplating those social issues and ideas that come up from time to time in the newspapers, or that I wonder about for whatever reason. Some of it is sparked off by personal experience ~ I'm a parent, a friend, a wife, a lover. I've cried over nothing, and smiled when it felt like I was dying inside. I have a child who is unique ~ but then aren't they all? I had a rough childhood, but some people tell me that's a good thing. By revisiting experiences and setting aside time to ponder the what~ifs along with the who, why and how's, I'm hoping to get a better grip on the things that are most important.
As you probably know if you've spent much time hanging around here, my eldest child, Smiler, is not exactly General Issue. As soon as Mr Manley and I were parents, we were parents of a child with complex needs, and our outlook on the world was irrevocably altered. Issues relating to children with disabilities, with the concept of disability itself even ~ these were not, being completely honest, something that had I had thought very much about. Suddenly, these became personal ~ as personal as it gets. Instead of dry text on the page of a medical book, or theories and opinions being argued by councillors and politicians, this was my gorgeous son : this was his potential; his blood and joints and heart and brain; his communication, his medicines, his appointments ~ his life. There is always another crisis on the horizon, another struggle on the way ~ of one type or another.
Things change when you slide into the 'children with additional needs' subculture ~ you see things from a different perspective ~ the people around you, the places you go, the things that are (and aren't) as important as they used to be. And the people on the outside ~ they talk about you to one another, they wonder how you cope, they're not sure what words are okay to use in reference to your child ~ at least that's what you hope. But every so often you get a glimpse through other people eyes...and sometimes you wish you hadn't.
It's the day to day things that often seem to get the wheels in my head turning ~ the invisible barriers, the issues that people outside of this world could not even begin to contemplate ~ like genuinely fully accessible toileting and personal needs facilities for example ~ it's great to see 'disabled toilets' everywhere, but what about individuals, including my son, who have no use for a toilet, but instead require a suitable surface to lay on while being changed, and sometimes hoisting equipment? Most likely, you haven't ever thought about it, but probably nine times out of ten we have to lay him on the floor. The floor of the toilet. Yep ~ breaking the poo taboo ladies and gentlemen ~ give it some thought!
Something else that barges it's way in and occupies my thoughts from that time to time relates to my experience of childhood. Those memories that get stirred up every so often, like thick sludge at the bottom of a puddle, disturbed by a curious child holding a stick. Because of the potential of these posts to trigger reactions for people who have had similar experiences, I've created a separate archive for them ~ please do take a look.