Q35: Adventures in the Mainstream

Q 35)

“The first big question to be answered by all the assessment of Ned that’s been going on is whether he has the functional ability to be employable on the open market, in a commercial, competitive business.  If Peter and his colleagues don’t think he does, then our goal switches from finding him a competitive job to finding a sheltered workshop of some kind where the environment is as important as the job…


There is in the heart of many fathers the unyielding belief that their sons should be the starting pitcher, quarterback, or center and never warm the bench or be relegated to the second or third team.  Such fathers convince themselves that it’s only politics and favoritism, and never ability, that keeps their little chips-off-the-old-block out of the big show…


So it would be hypocritical not to admit that some of my feeling about Ned’s employment potential comes from my own ego.  I want the best for him, and from personal experience I truly believe that he is happiest and most functional when he’s around people without disabilities.  But it’s also true that I am happiest when he’s around such people.  I suppose it’s part of a twenty-two-year-old dream that has never died, even though sometimes I think it has: the hope that Ned can be “normal,” or near enough to pass.” pp. 210-212


In this passage we hear about how the Vocational Rehabilitation assessment determines whether Ned will be considered for competitive employment or a sheltered workshop.  Palmer doesn’t think a sheltered environment is appropriate for his son.  He also talks about how we can, as parents, put our own thoughts onto our children without being aware of what we’re doing.  How do you feel about this passage?

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