Thursday, June 18, 2009

Welcome to Holland

In response to my reflections (on Facebook) about the surprises and unmet expectations of emi/immigration, Irmeli Aro drew parallels with experience of being the parent of a child with special needs. To illustrate her point she sent me a link to a video. It wasn't this video, but the two have huge overlap. There are certainly parallels, but I think the perspective of a parent in this situation bears expressing for its own sake.


JamMasterJay said...

Thanks for this, I've never seen the video version before. From what I understand, the original version was written by a Canadian (possibly American) journalist who had a child with Down Syndrome. We were presented with it once Sam was diagnosed with D.S. It's so true in alot of ways, especially the part about discovering that Holland has chocolate, Holland has Tulips, Holland has Rembrandt. Every once in a while I have what I call "Welcome to Holland" moments, but the more Sam grows, and interacts, and engages the world around him, they get fewer and farther between.

Karyn Romeis said...

@Jammasterjay Glad you found it meaningful.

With both my sons, I found myself in 'Italy' as expected, but one does discover that it isn't all beer and skittles there!

My sister, on the other hand, has three children, all of whom have special needs of one sort or another, none of which were evident when the babies were born. The eldest became a precocious pubescent. When your precious little seven year old is shaped like a woman and has all the hormonal issues of a 17yo, and is victimised by all the other little 7yos who look as they should, it's a bumpy ride. Since my sister was a very young mother, it was hard to deal with. Then, when her second daughter was 10 months old, they found out that she was atonic (poor muscle tone and co-ordination) and deaf. As the years went by, it was decided that she also had undetermined learning needs that no-one in South Africa had the mechanisms to diagnose. Her son was hyperactive and severely underweight. Yes, there has been chocolate and tulips, but I don't think they've seen a Rembrandt yet. We live in hope!