I’ve been asking people why they are going to the SRV conference in 2015, and will be sharing some of the responses over the next few months. The comments below are from Donna Vanderkloet-Hanna from Ontario, Canada.
I think as a Mom the most important reason that I am going to the SRV conference is to be able to be with people who I know share my feelings about my son and devalued people in general. People who know what he is likely to face in our society and who are committed to helping combat that. I have to deal daily with people, services, and attitudes expressed in the media who see only an extra chromosome, and not all the potential my son has to fill valued roles in our family and in our community. I may see even more of this because I don’t just see the people that Samuel comes into contact with, but all the people and services I encounter in my role as a family support coordinator.
I’m lucky enough to have family and colleagues and others in our life who do see Sam for the wonderful little guy he is, but it’s important for me to be able to be part of an international gathering of people who, even though they might not know us personally, still see my son for all he has to offer. Living with the day-to day-devaluation can be very draining and demoralizing, and an entire conference full of people devoted to thinking about how to address that, and who believe that it can be addressed, is a hopeful and energizing place for family members to be.
Aside from that, though I’ve not been to an SRV conference before, I’m assuming that families will also be able to take away useful information to help them in their day to day lives. It’s difficult when faced with any issue to feel like you can only stand by and watch. It’s much easier to face challenges when you feel you can take an active role in making things better. I’m sure family members are going to find ways to do that in the presentations they hear.