By KODEY TONEY
As I’m writing this I’m on a plane overlooking Oklahoma City this morning. I mention this because as I reflect on the things I’ve been doing lately to help others I’m amazed at the things that have happened.
I started writing this column/blog a little over three years ago. It has been an avenue for me to get information to a large number of people. As I learn about new things going on, or have ideas and techniques fed to me by professionals and other families I try to provide that to others.
It has also been a good way to just vent at times. The best response I’ve had has been with articles that let others know that they are not alone. Other people are having the same problems, or at least similar.
I meet people all the time who say, “I read your article every week.” That amazes me that I would put something out that was important enough for people to read every week.
With that, I’m also amazed at the places it has taken me. It’s important for us as parents to continue to learn new things for our children. We have to stay up to date on the things that are happening and discover new resources. That is why I try to make as many conferences and workshops as possible. This is where I find out what is available to us in our rural area, and try to bring in new resources.
That is the reason I’m on this plane this morning. I’m on a flight to Virginia to study disability law for a week at William and Mary College. This is all possible because I met Kayla Bower and Roseann Duplan of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, through the Partners in Policymaking (PiP) program and conferences where I basically begged them to let me go.
I got into the PiP program because a speech pathologist, Joe’l Farrar recommended it.
With others, the Pervasive Parenting Center has been able to start a Sibshop, launch a website at www.pervasiveparentingcenter.org, receive our 501 (c) 3 status, host several conferences, including two Joining Forces conferences with the Oklahoma Family Network, provide IEP training for families along side the Oklahoma Parents Center, help start a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) chapter with help from others like Don Patchin, and work with great people like Lisa Fabian, the Tony Hawk Foundation and Peter Whitley, Darrin Zdanowski and Charles Steiger and Forgiven Skate Team, JD Danielson and Cross Eyed Skate Team, Josh Klinglesmith, Ed Mayer and many others that I’m sure I’m forgetting, to provide a great skateboarding competition in our area.
This not only helps raise funds for the center, it’s also a way to bring people to our beautiful area, bring in commerce and allow the kids an outlet for their passion.
I think the point I’m trying to make is that you have to network and explore in order to help your child. Am I saying that you need to hop a flight halfway across the United States? No, but you can get outside of your house and work with the therapists, educators, and professionals to find new resources. You can attend support group meetings and meet new families.
I have to mention that family support is one of the greatest things to helping me help others. If it weren’t for my wife Jennifer I wouldn’t be able to do this. She is an awesome person and my blueprint, guidance, and rock. Our families are great in watching the boys too, and allowing us to travel when necessary. I know that most families don’t have that, and I’m grateful.
I hope to share much of what I learn this week with you next week, and thanks for letting me reflect a little. Oh, and thanks for reading this.