Advocating for My Daughter with Special Needs
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My sister was book smart. It was her job to study all the time and I took care of the house. I cooked and cleaned while my parents were at work. But I also learned how to call companies on the phone if I had a problem with their products. I learned what to say to get them to send me a replacement at no charge.
All of this repeated itself when I had to deal with insurance company appeals and the uncooperating public school system. My knowing how to finagle has gotten Peri services she wouldn't otherwise have had.
In 2013, we had the opportunity to meet David Wright of the New York Mets at Citi Field. I love David Wright; he's a mensch.
David walked over to his locker, produced an All-Star game jersey, signed it, and gave it to Peri. I would have been happy with a sock.
This past September he actually called Peri on the phone to talk about a gift she had sent him. Then he mailed her a signed baseball bat. Gotta love David Wright. He didn't have to do any of that.
Currently, Peri is a freshman at Adelphi University in Garden City, as a business marketing major. I attend class with her some days and a nurse we hired on other days.
It's like I'm going to college again. At first, I paid attention to the lessons and even asked questions, which really bothered Peri. So now I sit in class, next to Peri, watching Netflix on my phone. I watched all of Orange Is the New Black and now I'm up to Mad Men.
Sometimes the teachers will talk about something from 1912 and give me a nod and I'll give them one back. The worst part, however, is while Peri is on a feeding tube and losing weight, I think I'm gaining the Freshman 20.
The plan is for Peri, and probably me, to go all the way to an MBA.
I've been helping her with her papers, but I can see her getting stronger and stronger and soon she won't need any help.
One day Peri will rule the world.