Parents’ Perspectives Video

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Transcript of Parents’ Perspective Video

Narrator 1: Two photos. A mom and dad and two sons.

Karen and Steve Trischler; Son: Derek, Age 7; ROP, Atypical Autism

A mom and teenage daughter.

Kim Cunningham; Daughter: Kayleigh, Age 15; ROP

Helping Our Children Develop

Narrator 1: Karen Trischler.

Karen Trischler: When you have a child with a disability, as a parent, we are working with our kids, we’re on the floor, we’re learning from the therapist, we’re reading books, we’re reading manuals. We’re putting his body in positions and he’s screaming because he doesn’t like it, but that’s what he needs to do to build up those muscles and that strength, and so when he does finally start halfway to roll over, when he’s almost one, we’re thrilled! So much more so and we’re calling everybody possible because we have so much invested in his development, because we have worked so hard to help him get where his is.

Narrator 1: Kim Cunningham.

Kim Cunningham: I think back now to the times when I was at Disney World when she was a baby, and I saw another child with — a teenager — with a cane, with a group of school children and she was going to ride the rides, and she was just interacting with the typical peers and I said, that’s what I want for my daughter. And then here we are and my daughter’s there and I really hadn’t, I had hopes and dreams of it happening, and it became fulfilled, and that’s what I want. I wanted her to be just a child, and we have succeeded.

How My Life Has Changed

Narrator 1: Karen Trischler.

Karen: I suspect that I would have been one of those mothers with the baby book, saying, “Oh at six months, he should be doing this. Oh, he’s not, what’s wrong with me?” Or “Yay, he’s doing that; my kid’s doing better than my friend’s child.” Or, I’m kind of competitive by nature and I think I would have been one of those moms, and I’m glad that I’m not. I had to throw that out the window. Derek got to these different stages whenever he was ready.

Narrator 1: Kim Cunningham.

Kim: I told Kayleigh that I believe I was destined to become her mother. Helen Keller was my idol as I grew up in school. I read every book about her, I found her to be the most inspirational person. That really gave me an idea that I could heal myself, my heart, at the same time as helping someone else.

Adjusting Expectations

Narrator 1: Karen Trischler.

Karen: I have hopes, but I don’t have expectations, and there’s a big difference with that because if I have expectations, then I might be crushed. If I have hopes, well, maybe those hopes change.

Narrator 1: Steve Trischler. Later, photos of Steve and Derek playing t-ball.

Steve Trischler: I wish Derek and I can have the same kind of bond that my dad and I did. When we were growing up, just going to the backyard, playing catch. But then as he’s gotten older and as I’ve gotten more used to everything, I now look at it more opportunity to — we can still do those things, we have to alter them a little bit. Maybe it’s a beep ball or maybe he’s in a t-ball league that he and I play together, and he loves it, and I enjoy playing with him. There’s still some sadness that I wish — it’s more sadness for him, but there’s also personal sadness that I have, that I’ll never be able to do that with him.

Social Life

Narrator 1: Karen Trischler.

Karen: I do hope that he can have a good social life, have some friends, have some friends that are very special because I think they’re going to need to be very special friends, because he doesn’t play like a sighted child plays, and you need a different kind of friend to be open to that and accepting to that.

Narrator 1: Kim Cunningham.

Kim: She said, “Well, how do you know if a boy is flirting with you, Mom?” And I said, “Well, if they’re asking questions and seem to be interested and that they want to hang out with you, then they’re probably interested in flirting with you.” So she found that interesting that she doesn’t get the eye contact to have a feedback of, you know, you’re sweet, so she did that, and she does have her first boyfriend this year, who is sighted, and that’s a real experience for her.

Narrator 1: A photo of Kayleigh and her boyfriend dressed in formal wear.

Kim: She feels that she herself has met a milestone with her peers because everyone else has had boyfriends. Now she is the same and has a boyfriend, and I am so happy for that. Maybe if she was sighted I wouldn’t be as happy, but I’m very happy that that’s a great milestone for her.

Advice for Other Parents

Narrator 1: Steve Trischler.

Steve: We involve Derek in just about everything — everything that we do, he does. There’s nothing wrong with having a “why me?” type of feeling. You have to get over it eventually, but let yourself have bad days, and enjoy the good days.

Narrator 1: Kim Cunningham.

Kim: Do not handicap your children, have high expectations for your children, set realistic goals, but realize where your goals are in your next step to progress. Don’t let anyone else tell you what your child can or cannot do.