Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top 5 Posts of 2016

It's the end of another year and time to see what you guys thought were the most helpful, or interesting, or just plain popular posts of 2016.  It's always interesting to see which posts wind up being more widely read and which are not.  Hang out for a bit and see if your favorite made the list:

[Image is: Clocks counting down the hours until 2017]

5.  High School Gym Class With a Side of Ableism

Sometimes, I share stories that are just that, stories.  Memories I have of significant experiences in my life with CP.  Back in April, I shared about one such experience in high school gym class, when we tackled the ominous but brief rock climbing unit.

Cerebral Palsy means that anything that anything physical involves a good deal of both pre planning and motor planning.  Having never climbed a wall before, I had no previous experience to serve as a map for just how to make my way up.

4.  Let's Talk About Speechless 1x01 "P-I-PILOT"

I really enjoyed recapping the first episode of Speechless.  I connected with JJ's character and really loved several of the scenes, which closely mirrored my own life.  One, in particular, where JJ's classmates give him a standing ovation for entering the room.

(Think this is over the top?  I once had a teacher who said, "Make way for the princess!" whenever I entered her class.)  JJ's teacher instantly freaks out when he realizes that (oh my gosh!) JJ can't stand up!  "THE STANDING OVATION IS INSENSITIVE!" he screams and all the kids sit down.  (Do I have an example for this?  You bet.  High school Humanities, our zany teacher has all of us stand up to pretend to be archaic statues.  Her eyes fall on me, still in my desk, and she says with a look of discomfort and mild alarm says, "Tonia, you don't have to.") 

3. Dear Parents Whose Baby Has Just Been Diagnosed With CP

Last year, I wrote a Letter to My Younger Self, and this year, I really wanted to write one to parents whose baby has just been diagnosed with CP.  I read a lot of parent blogs, and a baby or child's diagnosis seems like it is universally difficult for parents.  I wanted to assure parents that we are okay:

CP does not make your baby one-dimensional, or a monster.  CP is not a punishment because you did something or didn't do something.  Sometimes, things just happen.  Your baby is still your baby, and your baby needs you.  They need your love and your acceptance.  So, hold them.  Read to them.  Talk to them.  Bond with them.  Your baby will feel secure with you, and you will feel even closer to you baby.

2.  Let's Talk About the Effects of Consistent Patronization

Something I thought a lot about this year was how being consistently patronized by important adults in my life has shaped me as an adult.  Like with most realizations that feel "big", I had a hunch that others might know this feeling that I struggled to even describe with words:

...The lines between a genuine compliment on my actual ability and one that gushed because I did common things had grown blurry.  So when a teacher praised my work legitimately, I panicked, because I didn't want something I had put my heart into to be read as the token inspirational piece in the [middle school newspaper].

1.  Let's Talk About the Gap Between Disabled Adults and Parents of Kids with Disabilities

Tonia Says serves a dual purpose: first and foremost to let others with CP know they are not alone.  Also, though, it exists to attempt to bridge a massive gap that exists between disabled adults and the parents of kids with disabilities.  As we are coming from opposite experiences, it's often difficult to see each others points of view.  For a long time, I wondered why the gap existed, and this quote, by my friend (and fellow blogger) Ellen Stumbo, really explains things brilliantly:

"You guys are the first generation raised out of institutions.  Before that, parents always spoke for you.  We had to.  There was no other choice.  Now, though, you've grown up, and you speak for yourselves.  You're the first to ever do that.  I don't think we, as parents, are used to it yet."

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