Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Regular Lives for Families with Children with Disabilities: Interview with Kathie Snow

Think Positively and Dream for Your Children

Produced in 2013 by Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

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Kathie Snow: And so I think that really the role of, I think, doctors and any kind of professionals that are in the early diagnosing kind of area that their job I think it is incumbent upon them to help parents dream for their children, to help parents realize what a child's potential can be.

And I'm not sure, I don't think this is unique to the disability field. I think that's sort of inherent in the medical field that out of fear of lawsuit or liability or that kind of stuff, they don't want to tell you good stuff. I mean they're sort of in the doom and gloom arena. So with that in mind, I just hope that parents will realize, you know, I don't know if I'm going to believe them or not. That's what my husband and I did. Mark and I did not believe everything we were told about Benjamin because I just thought I don't think they know.

I mean the other thing that parents have to realize is this, and I just mentioned my son had a pediatric neurologist, a pediatric ophthalmologist, a pediatric orthopedic doctor. They only treat children, okay? They're pediatric specialists. So they do not have any personal or professional experience with adults with developmental disabilities. So they don't know what's possible. So in that instance it's like, well, okay, how does this doctor know what's possible for my son as an adult when my son is a four-month-old baby? If this, again if he had friends that had disabilities, if he had… If he was a GP who treated kids and adults with disabilities, then he might have a different perspective.

One thing I will ask parents when I do presentations is, I'll say do you routinely go to a fortune teller once a week and shell out a hundred bucks for a 30-minute session with a fortune teller for that person to predict your child's future? To look in their crystal ball or tarot cards and predict your child's future? And they laugh and they say of course not. And I say then why do we do that with so-called professionals? Why do we pay money to public school teachers, to therapists, to medical professionals who look at our children and try to predict their futures based on a diagnosis? So if we don't spend money on fortune tellers, we shouldn't spend money on so-called professionals to do that.

So I think the thing is that we have to believe in our children. We have to believe that anything is possible for them just like it is for their brothers and sisters who don't have disabilities. And that, quite frankly, if people are not going to support the hopes and dreams of a parent, then I think they need to get those people out of their children's lives and surround themselves with people who do believe in their children. Because it is up to us. If we as parents don't dream for our children, then who will? I mean that is our ultimate responsibility.

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2301MNSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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