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ROAD MAP: The "Welcome to Holland" Essay


 
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jennifergg
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 10:21 AM    Post subject:
ROAD MAP: The "Welcome to Holland" Essay
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Like most of us (maybe all of us?), I was given Emily Perl Kingsley’s essay, “Welcome to Holland” (p. 46 and p. 291). In it, Kingsley writes about her experience as a mother to a son with Down syndrome.

The essay often provokes strong emotions--some people love it, others hate it. Do you think it matters that she's writing specifically about Down syndrome, or do you think the essay can be applied to parenting children with other disabilities?

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Momma2Bean
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PostPosted: January 28 2009, 9:52 PM    Post subject:
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I was given this essay when Lucas was a week old by a friend who is a special ed teacher. I cried. It resonated with me and it really moved me. Anyway, I'd imagine this essay speaks to many parents who have a child with special needs -- because in the end, although our roads may vary, we're all taking the path less traveled.

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MelodieMuir
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PostPosted: January 31 2009, 10:41 PM    Post subject:
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I was actually given the Welcome to Holland Essay by a NICU support worker the day after Matthew was born. It touched me deeply and really put things in perspective for me. That's actually how I found your book to pre-order by searching the title so I am thankful for that NICU support worker because it has brought me here!
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jennifergg
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PostPosted: February 01 2009, 10:13 AM    Post subject:
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I somtimes wonder if the negative reactions aren't from parents whose children have a harder time because of behavioral issues, or medical issues...I could definitely see them looking around and saying, "This isn't Holland."

But I do think that the hope, and comfort, and voice of experience the essay offers can be of comfort to anyone. And in Road Map to Holland I write about needing a map; of course, I later learned that Emily Perl Kingsley has provided a map to becoming a parent-advocate for your child, by the example of her life. I will forever be grateful for her part in the inclusion of children with disabilites as regular members of the Sesame Steet cast.

xo

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Ellen
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PostPosted: February 02 2009, 9:14 AM    Post subject:
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I have a 17 year old with Asperger Syndrome. I read this essay when he was a little boy and I didn't know what was wrong. I have always loved it. The part where she acknowledges that the hurt never quite goes away always brings a tears to my eyes. And now that he does have behavior problems and his peers are getting into colleges, that part means more to me.

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Cate
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PostPosted: February 02 2009, 1:31 PM    Post subject:
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It really bothered me at first. I just don't like things that are quick easy answers, which is what that essay seemed like. It was like someone saying, "Here, read this and you'll feel all better!"

And I was way too upset for something so simple. Plus, I got it from people who had never been to Holland themselves, and there was a lot of anger and resentment wrapped up in that.

In my clearer moments I understood that people were just trying to help. And now, I can appreciate the essay more. But in those first days, it wasn't my favorite thing.
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Renee Lacey's mom
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PostPosted: February 02 2009, 2:06 PM    Post subject:
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I was given the poem by my best friend hours after Lacey was born. She left the hospital about 1 hr after we found out and went home to do research so she could come back and tell me things were gonna be all right. She found this poem and as soon as I read it I thought that it was a perfect metaphor for what we were about to experience. I mean we thought everything would be perfect, our perfect and now it was gonna be God's perfect.

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* An extra little Chromosome thats all it is, you see. Where all of you were born with 2, my angel was blessed with 3.*

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DanielsMommy
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PostPosted: February 02 2009, 2:21 PM    Post subject:
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I personally loved it. My husband and I were given the poem while in the hopsital by a nurse whose son has autism.

We were so moved by the poem....we gave Daniel the middle name Holland. We liked the idea of naming him after my husband...after all, Daniel is his only son. And the middle name just signifies our journey and our awarness that yes, things are different...but different isn't neccessarly a bad thing.

Now Daniel is famous (well sort of LOL). Emily Kingsley mentioned him in the forward she wrote for Chicken Soup for the Soul...children with special needs edition. She heard of his name...and was very touched by it.

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jennifergg
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PostPosted: February 04 2009, 10:28 AM    Post subject:
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DanielsMommy, what a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing it. I've heard Emily Kingsley speak about the boy-child and the girl-child named after the Holland essay, but I had no idea the boy was your Daniel! That's wonderful! And you are indeed famous!

xo

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MommyAngela
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PostPosted: February 04 2009, 8:48 PM    Post subject:
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About ten years ago, I was in college and pursuing a degree in education. In my one semester that dealt with special education, we were given a copy of "Welcome to Holland." Up until then, and even afterwards, I had not had much dealings with special needs people in any capacity. But something about the poem really struck me. I read it over and over. I remember that it made my heart ache for those mothers, like that must just be one of the hardest things ever to deal with. I remember thinking that if that ever happened to me (but of course it never, ever would...), I knew I would feel the same way. Especially the last part, about the pain never going away.
At the end of the semester, I was going through my papers and seeing if there was anything worthwhile to save for my future teaching career. I saved that poem in my personal papers in my filing cabinet.
I never thought about it in ten years. And then my sweet Benjamin was born. As I sat in my hospital bed that day, my heart almost burst as I recalled the poem. It was meant for me. It was me. And I did and still do feel the same way. I know myself enough to know that I will most likely always feel that way.
I never realized that anyone would ever have a problem with the poem until I came here. I can see the reasoning but from my own perspective, I wholeheartedly disagree with the naysayers.

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Mom to three wonderful sons:
Andrew James--3/24/06
Benjamin Matthew--4/24/08 DS--VSD & ASD repaired 10/3/08, intestinal obstruction repaired 1/13/09, hypospadias & ventral hernia repaired 8/21/09
Thomas Alexander--3/25/10

www.theamicks-angela.blogspot.com
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QuinnsMom
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PostPosted: February 05 2009, 7:18 AM    Post subject:
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Welcome to Holland gave me a lot of comfort when I was pregnant with my prenatal dx. Maybe it is because it is someone who has been there. I know that things aren't exactly the same for any two people - even with your book, I could see some differences between us, but also some similarities. It being EXACTLY my experience didn't matter, it was just about that someone had been there and was reaching out to share with me and others. I used to read it daily when I was pregnant and just cry. Tears flowing down my cheeks. It was very good getting out that emotion. Now I still read it and it gives me comfort. I think I stumbed upon it on the on internet the same day I received the phone call with the FISH results.

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