Having a special needs child brings a different perspective of where I fit into our community. The key word here is “fit”. I think, we all need to feel like we “fit in” somewhere with a sense of belonging, and contribution in our society.
So, when my husband and 3 children moved from California to Texas, nearly 20 years ago, I found different ways to fill that need through my kids, mostly through, my son, Alex and his activities.
Alex (the eldest), was born with a craniofacial disorder called Treacher Collins syndrome. One of the anomalies associated with this syndrome is that he has no outer ears or cheek bones which makes Alex look “different”.
The special education community in our town, has always been supportive to special needs, integrating the “special” kids within the school system, but there was a family who advocated the differences of these kids in a profound way. The Ratliff family shined a positive light that not only impacted our family, but the entire community.
Beccy and Bennett Ratliff also have 3 kids. Their son, Thomas, born with special needs, prompted Bennett to advocate a voice of integration within the sports community, so he coached the first special needs baseball team that integrated our kids into a sport they would otherwise never participate in and feel “included” on a social level.
I really had no idea at the time, that Bennett Ratliff, a man with his heart in the right place as a public servant, would become a candidate to represent the state of Texas nearly 15 years later, in this year’s Republican run-off election for District 115!
While Bennett won the run-off election, our kids win through community sponsored events.
Thomas and Alex stay involved with Special Olympics.