Saturday, September 8, 2012

Communication and Art

I never posted about the panel presentation that Maggie and I saw at Girls Rock camp. It was amazing and I said it deserved its own post but I never gave it one. The panel was made up of women who are all graduates of the CCS (California Children’s Services) program. That means each one of them has a significant physical condition that qualified them for this program of therapy and equipment and more.

The panel was comprised of six women.* One of the six was our friend Fiona. I worked with her dad when she was born and he helped me tremendously when Maggie was born a few years later. Fiona is the bomb. She uses a wheelchair and needs assistance with many things. She is also brilliant and graduates from Stanford in a couple of months.  I am sure her education will not end there.

Fiona was not the only shining star on that panel, though.  Of the six, at least four were college graduates. And I am talking serious colleges, In addition to Stanford, one graduated from Cal Berkeley, one from San Francisco State and one from St. Mary’s. One was still in college. I cannot say about the last one. She arrived late after they talked about their education. Four of the six were in wheelchairs and two of those used communication devices. They talked about their accomplishments and how they make their disabilities work in the world. One of the six was engaged to be married and she brought her fiancĂ© with her.  

It was amazing.

They were addressing their younger peers, acting as mentors to Maggie and the other girls her age. I do not know how much the kids appreciated how amazing this was, but I certainly did. (I was the only parent in the room.)    I can tell you this: Maggie was absolutely enthralled with the women who were delivering their message via communication devices. She may not have comprehended everything they were saying (her issue, not theirs) but she definitely got that they were important people with something to say and they were using their devices to say it. 

Maggie was the only one in camp who used a communication device. With the exception of her school day, Maggie is always the only one who uses a communication device, so experiencing this was tremendous for her. And for me. 

One of those women using a device to speak was Thanh. I recognized her because she used to come to Maggie's school where she acted as a mentor. That needs to happen again.  I mentioned that Maggie went to Mission and she said (on her talker) Yes, I know her. Maggie was thrilled.

Yesterday I saw this video on a friend’s facebook page. Thanh was featured as an artist from this organization called Creativity Explored. You can see for yourself why I was so blown away by her and why Maggie was so impressed.

And I did not even know she was an artist. (She’s the third one featured)


* There are just as many boys/men in CCS, but this particular program was specifically targeted to the girls. And the campers were all girls too.  

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