During these strange times I have thought about how blessed my parents were to have Jim and Joann Adams as our role models as they also raised special needs and gifted children. Unfortunately, many with disabilities experience higher rates of isolation and lower rates of success from not having support. Fortunately I wasn’t isolated and our friendship with the Adams’ sets an outstanding example of how having a role model makes a difference.
While I always knew the Adams were old friends, it was during my junior year of high school that I realized that our friendship was extra special. The multiple inspiring conversations I had with Jim as my XC coach and him always understanding me allowed for me to see this. Furthermore, I also got to know his wife, Joann, and had similar conversations with her at team dinners or after a race. They really understood me in a way others couldn’t.
In adulthood the Adams, including their children, continue to be the family I looked up to the most as they understand the significance of my success and the challenges I faced too. For example, if I made a social mistake they helped me get through it in a kind and sincere way and when I experienced success they always understood my level of excitement. During the pandemic, I have thought about this more than ever as things could be challenging and I think how lucky I am to have their family as role models.
One of the consequences of not having support is it can make celebrating the milestones in life less special. This year I thought about this and how special it was to Zoom with the Adams. The sweet messages along with the laughs and personal stories were a great reminder of how far I have come. This along with having other close friends to celebrate with during these strange times have helped me a great deal. It is a great reminder of how important having support really is as it prevents isolation and results in higher success rates as you can see that people believe in you.
Yes, I understand that you will be thinking sure this was easy for you because you already have personal friends living in your situation. However, joining a youth organization or talking to your school counselor about meeting families in your situation will lead to finding support too. We did both of these things and gained a larger support system though the Adams continued to be our main role models.
Overall, it is my hope that you will find a support system like the Adams were and are to our family. Through my own experience I know how much of a difference it makes. The lessons I have learned from the whole family are ones that will stick with me forever and I truly think others can share my experience with the right set of role models.
The Adams are my favorite family in the world as they set an outstanding example of how to raise an inclusive family!Share your own story