I want to share my son Cody’s story as a way to show how rich in love, joy and opportunities life can be when caring for and loving your child with disabilities. My 12 year old son Cody was born completely blind, without eyes and was later diagnosed with autism at age 5. He is non verbal. I will use this site to share regular updates about the challenges and joys Cody and his family experience as we walk along this amazing journey. In this way, I am advocating against the institutionalization of children with disabilities, which often includes maltreatment, neglect and abuse. Children belong at home, with family and as an active part of their community.
I have read that many parents in Eastern European, African and other developing countries are encouraged by doctors and nurses, family members and communities to give up their child with disabilities to institutions. My heart goes out to these parents and the terrible pain and uncertainty that this choice must bring. Raising a child with disabilities takes courage, love, patience, resilience and lots of support. These parents need and deserve support from their communities and government. Money which is being used to fund institutions needs to be redirected towards creating the financial and community supports they need to raise their child within their family home. Advocacy and awareness of the special needs and human rights of these differently-abled children will lead to increased understanding, compassion, acceptance and inclusion of these dear children in their homes and in their communities.
May we not deny these children of what they need most, the love and nurture of their home and family. Keep them home. Bring them home. Close the doors of the institution.