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What We Owe Children

Once you have discovered what is happening, you can’t pretend not to know, and you can’t abdicate responsibility.

P. D. James

Before the birth of my now 21-year-old son, Benjamin, and the subsequent news that he had cerebral palsy, I knew nothing about people with disabilities—like most parents. Early on, I just knew that we had the same dreams for Benjamin that we had for our daughter, Emily: that both would grow up and be nice people, do well in school and make friends, go to college and get a good job, get married, make us grandparents, and take care of my husband and me when we got old!

We were, however, cautioned by many experts to be “realistic:” don’t expect too much, don’t have big dreams, lower your expectations. But we didn’t listen to that nonsense. Common sense tells us that children will live up or down to our expectations, so we held tight to our dreams. If we didn’t have big dreams for Benjamin, who would? We owed him that, just as we owed it to our daughter.​ Click here to continue.


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