Spring 2012: A New National Project

In December 2011, TLG and its National Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families was awarded a five-year multi-million dollar federal grant for a new national project that includes research, training, consultations and materials for U.S. families with disabilities. See more about our new national project: Families with Disabilities Across the Lifespan: Disability Culture Perspectives.

One of our new projects involves continuing to offer college scholarships for young adults who have a parent with a disability as well as an extensive research study on this group. Applications for the 2012 scholarships are now closed, but new scholarships will be available in January 2013. As part of the study, we’ve already received over 1,000 essays from these young adults who have written essays on the experience of having a parent with a disability. Below are a couple samples from nearly 2,000 essays:

One student wrote:

"As a child, I quickly learned that my mom wasn’t normal to everybody else. Anywhere we went, people would stare at her crutches and legs. Back then I would get upset and wonder why they thought staring was a good thing, or why they had to act like she was so different. To me, she was just like everyone else, the only difference was that she had four legs to walk with, and to a little kid, four legs is definitely better than two. I don’t remember a lot of experiences in my life that stand out because of her disability because she doesn’t let it hinder her from having a normal life. She won’t even pay attention to greeters at the store who ask her if she wants a motorized cart, and she goes on theme park rides and plays tag the same as everybody else."

Another student wrote:

"While going through this, my mom taught me a lot. She taught me that even when times are tough, you can continue with your life and find a way to be happy. One story of my mom that stands out the most to me and that I love telling to my friends and family is when she first lost her eye to cancer. A few months after she had her fake eye fitted and colored like her real eye we came home from the hospital. The friend I had been spending the most time with came over. My friend asked how she was doing and my mom replied, “Much better! Want to see something cool?” “Sure.” She said. As I looked not knowing what my mother was going to do. She then put one hand to her eye slightly bending over, dramatically screaming, “Oh my god my eye!” She then held her hand out for us to see her fake eye. My friend looked surprised and then said, “That’s awesome! Can you do it again?” My mom laughed and walked to the bathroom to sanitize her eye before putting it back in. This is just one memory I have of my mom that’s shown me how to take a bad experience and make it fun."