Goals. Dreams. Aspirations. Everyone has them; it’s what makes us human. The system places an expectation on students to strive towards their goals, handing them the tools and support they need to work towards them. There is a wide selection of programs and resources in place to help young people achieve their aspirations, because it’s only natural that they should.
But what about students with disabilities?
The system does little to help them chase their aspirations. It just isn’t seen as feasible. Granted, there is a selection of programs and resources for them, but it’s unfortunately a very limited scope that’s unlike what’s offered for children without disabilities. But these don’t have to be the only options. When there are no suitable paths to choose from, there are ways to make your own.
Son-father duo Fionn and Jonathan Angus learned early on to advocate for the extra support that Fionn, who has Down syndrome, needed from the Irish government at a school of their choice. They won their case, and Fionn now has an amazing career following his core passions: music, filmmaking, art, and nature. Their story illustrates perfectly how families shouldn’t have to settle for the meager options that they are given; instead, they should look for ways to forge their own paths and create new options to choose from. Families should strive towards helping their loved ones lead independent, but supported lives, and that all begins with developing their own paths to take.
Fionn, a son, and Jonathan, also a son, but more to the point here Fionn’s father, are Co-Directors of Fionnathan Productions. You can pronounce Fionnathan: Fear nuthin’ – close enough. Fionn and Jonathan live in Ireland, but Jonathan grew up in Michigan, and together they have visited over two dozen countries. Jonathan taught children for 25 years. Fionn became the first person with a learning disability in Ireland using a government grant to direct his own support. Working with numerous organizations, they have led advocacy courses and family consultations; published works; served on government committees; and presented at conferences worldwide.
Creating a new path can be challenging, but when there are no other alternatives it’s a must, because everyone deserves an equal chance at achieving their aspirations. Listen now to learn how families can forge a new path and help their loved ones gain more control over their futures.
Thanks for Listening!
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Special thanks to Fionn and Jonathan for joining me this week. Until next time!