FIRE! And Lessons Learned

Disability Is Natural Books and Media

New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense


Can we, as individuals and families, choose to experience a rebirth, so that positive new words, dignified new perceptions, and respectful new ways of thinking about children and adults take root and grow?

Kathie Snow

In the middle of June (2002), many Americans heard or saw daily updates on the wildfires in Colorado. The largest of these was the Hayman Fire. It made news not only because it was the biggest fire in Colorado history, but also because it was allegedly started by a Forest Service employee who was supposed to ensure campers obeyed the fire ban . . . 

Initially, the fire was more than 30 miles from our home . . . Then one day, the announcement came: our street was put on “standby evacuation.” For nine days, we existed in a surreal world . . . 
The fire was relentless. It jumped the highway. It was now a short six miles from our home . . . And then the brave, hardworking firefighters got the fire under control.

Life seemed “back to normal.” But was it? We had learned what many others who have faced disaster know: it could happen to us . . . Fire is a natural part of life . . . In the wake of the fire’s destruction, new trees will sprout and new wildflowers will blossom. The forest will be reborn.

And so were we. Our family is better prepared for the next fire . . . We know we will survive, and like the forest, we’ll grow anew. We have created a new “normal.”

Isn’t this what can happen when a child is diagnosed with a disability? Like fire, disability is also a natural part of life . . . Many of us keep waiting for things to “get back to normal.” And we wait and wait and wait for this day—sometimes for years—believing that “normal” will only be restored when a child can walk, talk, feed himself, read, behave, or whatever.

Can we, instead, create a new “normal” for ourselves and our families . . . Click here to continue.