What Do We Want From the Next Generation?

Here’s the thing, people are divided. It seems that all the same issues that have been going on for the last 60 plus years are still happening. We need to decide as a community what we are expecting the next generation of adults to be.

One person alone cannot make the changes needed, but each person working together as a group can. Do we want our children to be name calling, angry grown-ups? I don’t, I tell my kids to treat people how they want to be treated. Yet, you watch the news and people are trash talking politicians, celebrities, and people in general are doing the same thing on social media.

How can we as the parents of the next group of grown-ups expect them to be better than we show them. I try to keep the news off around my kids, yes I want them to be informed but they do not need to be subjected to constant negativity. In fact, I don’t either, I have numerous health issues that make staying positive hard enough without surrounding myself with all the negative talk.

Each person has basic human rights, they should be free to make choices for their own bodies and love who they want as long as those things are not hurting anyone. Nearly 100 years after women got the right to vote and we are still struggling for equality. Almost 60 years after Civil Rights marches and laws we still do not treat people of different races the same as everyone else. People are the SAME!

We are all made of the same parts, we all want the same things in life. Regardless of beliefs, gender, color and orientation. That is what I want my sons to know. I want them to be adults who fight for everyone’s rights to be loved and respected. I want them to treat all people they interact with how they want to be treated. I want them to be kind, understanding and compassionate. I want my sons to be men that can be looked up to. Alone we cannot change things, but together, as parents of the next generation we can shape who they will become and hopefully society in the process.

 

FAQ About Service Dogs

Service dogs are smart and they are used for many things now, PTSD, Mobility issues, Autism, Diabetes, and Seizures. I cannot speak for everyone with a service dog, but here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get about my service dog.

Q. Can I pet your dog? (ALWAYS ask for permission. Regardless if you think the dog is being trained or not you need to ask for permission. Distracting a service dog from its job is actually a misdemeanor offense.)

A. Always ask, if you ask me I am much more likely to give permission than not. It really depends on the day, how bad my symptoms are and what I am doing. Do not get offended or mean to people who tell you no. Each service dog has different tasks and their owner may not be able to put their dog in a situation to be distracted for one second.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Also, do not approach people with service dogs in places you would not approach people without a service dog. I have had people stand next to me and talkĀ  while I am trying to make a transaction at an ATM and while trying to give prescriptions to a pharmacist. Do not put your hand out to have a service dog interact with you, this is a distraction and you are encouraging them to misbehave. Do not just pet a service dog in public without asking, regardless if you think you are seen or not. I have had girls follow me around the grocery store petting him every time I go to take something off the shelf. It’s not only annoying, but it’s disrespectful.

Q. Are you training him?

A. No, he is my service dog. (Please don’t ask people who don’t look disabled if they are training the service dog that they are with. Personally, I feel bad enough about myself for needing a service dog at such a young age, your question that seems innocent just reinforces those feelings.)

Q. Are you a Veteran?

A. No, I was not, as frequently as this question and the one above are asked it makes me feel as though I need to justify my disability. I don’t though, and I don’t really feel like telling strangers how damaged my body is everyday so please be mindful.

Q. Does he ever get to be a dog or is he always working?

A. This question is easy, he works when his vest is on. When he’s not wearing his vest and we are at home he gets to be a dog, play with our other dog and the kids. He does still help me around the house without his vest on because he enjoys working. When we are out, he doesn’t have to wear his vest at the pet store, dog park or vet and he LOVES going to these places. People can pet him, he can sniff dogs and just be a dog.

Q. What does he do? (Legally, unless you are the owner of a business, we don’t have to answer this question. I usually do unless I am having a hard day or the question comes off a rude rather than interest because I don’t always feel like talking about the medical reasons I require a service dog.)

A. My service dog is for Brace and Balance. This means he has been trained to keep me walking up right and watches to make sure I do not fall down. He can also help me get up if I am on the ground, usually from sitting on the floor with my kids. He is trained to do so much more than this though. He helps me take the clothes to the laundry room, he picks things up off of the floor when I accidentally drop them. He can open doors and the fridge, he can bring me things, he is trained to find someone if I fall at work and need help. He also centers me when my anxiety and PTSD are impacting what’s happening around me. He wasn’t trained for this task but because of our bond he started doing it on his own.

Q. Can he go on a plane and does he get his own seat?

A. Yes he can go on a plane, ADA laws in the United States require that he is allowed everywhere I go unless it’s a surgical room. No, he does not get his own seat, he actually curls up into a ball on the floor in front of me. He does not like flying though so if there isn’t a bag under the seat in front of us he usually tries to fit under it.

* I have had numerous people tell me that they were thinking about getting a vest for their dog so they came bring them places since they are calming. Therapy dogs are not protected by ADA laws like service dogs are. Service dogs must meet certain standards to have that legal privilege. People who bring misbehaving dogs into places with a vest or claiming they are a service dog actually makes it more difficult for those of us with actual service dogs. Please do not do this. Whenever I hear about this I hand out ADA law cards to the businesses because they need to know their rights as much as I do mine.

Sensory Overload

Back in my teens and early twenties noise did not bother me. I used to listen to loud music, have the TV on in the background while I studied or wrote it was fine. Now, it makes me crazy and not in the sense that it is just annoying because I am old.

I am in my thirties, I am not sure if it’s related to my MS, Meniere’s or both as people afflicted with either complain of sensory issues. When I am trying to focus on one thing and there is noise or talking or a loud TV, music anything, I get actual nerve pain. This week I was helping my youngest son with his reading homework, he was reading aloud to me as I listened; my oldest son was talking to my husband who then came out and started asking questions. I lost my shit a little, I didn’t realize I was yelling in response until my husband said something, all I knew was that I was trying to focus my attention on one thing and then I was overwhelmed with sound.

For people who don’t have this issue think nails grating on a chalkboard (though that sound doesn’t bother me, probably from nerve damage in my ears), in addition to the feeling of that sound think of something that gives you uncontrollable shivers down your spine and go ahead and throw in some heart racing chest pain inducing feeling. I can’t speak for all people with sensory issues, but that is what it feels like to me. It’s terrible, when it’s happening I just want it to stop, but you cannot control the sound of everything around you if there are other people involved.

My therapist is always telling me to take deep breaths, mostly when stress hits me or my PTSD kicks up. It is a hard thing to remember to do, especially when panic sets in because your body has decided to revolt its surroundings. This thing happens to me way more than I would like, well actually I would like it to never happen so I guess that I would like to be able to control when. If I go out to dinner with my husband, the sound can become too much, out with the kids, or play dates, social events. The problem is that it is not consistent, it’s not every single time there is sound or only when I am doing a certain thing.

If you know someone with sensory issues, take a beat, they may be snappy because their body just attacked them and they can’t handle anything else at the moment. Ask before touching, because I have even had to explain to my kids that “light” touches are actually painful to me as it sets my nerves on fire.