Molly Woerhlin (Part 3)

Past President of Arc Minnesota

(Run time 1:33)

For the first time their children were being taken seriously and given some respect and so what our job was, those of us who were interested in organizing this, was to mobilize that effort, that knowledge, that desire, to make something happen. And in fact, we used to talk about it in those days.

When we ever got a program up and running in a local community, we used to talk about the woodwork theory, the old concept of "worms coming out of the woodwork." Because once there was a program there, parents heard about it, and very often the community had no idea that they had a severely disabled child at home. And sometimes that child had never left the home even because they were embarrassed. There was a stigma in society.

I think what parents have brought to the movement has been the sense of urgency. You know, it is no consolation to be told, "Well just be patient. It takes a while for programs to evolve and in maybe ten years we will get something going." We want it now because ten years could represent essentially the growing up learning childhood of a child.

So, I think parents have the sense of urgency. They have the sense of really knowing in-depth what it's like. Although all children are different, still, you gain a lot of experience so we could be very knowledgeable in talking to other people about what it took. And I think also, we could be mobilized to sell a program in a way other people, who are not parents, could [not] do it.