Throughout the month of May, we are honoring our DSC Moms!!! All of you do so much each and every day, and we want to take this opportunity to share some of the inspirational moments and the challenges that you have faced. Happy Mother’s Day! We celebrate you!
Lianne Anderson is mom to Sarah, who receives services from DSC. At the time, they lived on a farm, South of Kankakee. Sarah was small for gestational age and the doctor noticed right away that there were signs of developmental delays. They moved to Champaign so she could attend school here. From that point, they were referred to a Carle doctor and Sarah began Early Intervention (EI). She was in Special Education throughout her school career and they were then connected with DSC, when Sarah was preparing to transition out of high school.
While raising Sarah, Lianne always thought it was important for her to become her own person. “I tried to teach her to value herself and her own opinions while she was growing up,” said Lianne. “When the time came for Sarah to leave school, we’d learned about DSC and for Sarah it was the right choice. She loves it and she has a community there. One of the biggest benefits we’ve both gained over the years is that sense of community and a large network in the disability family. You meet so many people through the schools, DSC and all the provider services they are connected with. Sarah sees people she knows from DSC and all of her activities everywhere we go. We used to go to get groceries and we’d have to stop, so she could visit with people. That’s a great thing. For us, it’s important that she has her own life and activities as I’m getting older. You have to think about that. You don’t want to pass away and have your adult child with disabilities not be able to function without you. These are things parents think about as they get older,” said Lianne.
One of the ways Lianne and Sarah worked to create more independence in Sarah’s life was working with DSC’s Residential Program. Sarah lives in a DSC CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) and they were lucky to get in when they did, said Lianne because there was so much demand, as she and her friends got older. “The parents all wanted to move into Kathryn because it was so beautiful!”
As a mother, Lianne says she’s learned a great deal from her daughter. “We often under estimate people with disabilities. They’re strong, resilient people and good examples for all of us. They’re survivors. Growing up, I was an overachiever, so at first, it was hard for me to accept that Sarah had disabilities. Working with Direct Support Professionals, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and Special Education teachers over the years, I came to see how dumb I was back then. They are the ones who teach us.”
For fun, Lianne enjoys watching Sarah’s Special Olympic events and together, Sarah and Lianne enjoy spending time outdoors together in nature, hiking, birdwatching and visiting local parks. They also find local activities they can explore together, such as museums and Native American artifact exhibits.
Happy Mother’s Day, Lianne-Thanks for all you do, during these times especially! That goes for all the moms in the DSC community!!