Friday, August 12, 2011

Digital Days

I'm sitting in a Starbucks enjoying an iced tea lemonade while I type this post.  This is a nice bit of alone time for me to decompress from my week but I have to really confess that the main reason I am here enjoying this alone time is for access to the internet.  

This week we moved.  Packed up everything we own (really, who knew we had so much stuff!) and landed in a new place.  We're still in the settling in phase and waiting for everything to start working again.  I was without a hot shower for the two days we moved - even in the August heat a striking cold shower is hard to take - and am thankful that the hot water is now flowing freely.  Some mail is starting to arrive in our names, but they are mostly bills so I'm not as thankful for them as the hot water.  But, really, the thing I miss the most and the reason I'm at a Starbucks tonight instead of walking around the new neighborhood or unpacking the numerous boxes creating a fun maze in my house is that I really miss my access to the internet.

We live in a digital age and I know that many of us are dependent on computers, but I think parents of a child with special needs might be more dependent on access to the internet and all the information it offers.  When I talked to my husband about how I'm looking forward to getting our internet turned on tomorrow he said me two things.  One:  I can't believe that you are going through withdraw after we just had a two week vacation in Ireland where you had virtually no internet access.  Two:  I saw the library and you could go there and use the computer.  My response to this was to laugh.

Yes, it is true that I barely missed surfing the net while on vacation, but that was because we were on a true vacation.  Days filled with family visits and endless fun followed with late nights and falling into bed exhausted.  This vacation I really took a break from what I consider my work - researching therapies, equipment, nutrition, fun places to visit that have easy access for wheelchairs, etc.  We needed the time away to just have fun as a family and we had an amazing adventure-filled two weeks.  But then we came home and had to pack up our house and move to another state within the week.  And it is the move that made me long for my easy internet access so I could research the schools, therapists, health care.  We had done a lot of this research before the move but this week it felt real because we actually moved and I would have loved to turn on the computer after my girls were in bed and do a bit of research.  

Which leads me to the library access.  I think it's great that we have access at the library and have used it frequently for quick searches, but taking two children with me to the library that doesn't involve story time or crafts and requires them to let me surf the net for a period of time exceeding 3 minutes for my research is not appealing.  And, while I have not looked up the operating hours for our new local library I have a feeling that they do not keep special needs Momma hours - which pretty much has a start time for research around 10pm and continuing until later than I care to admit.  

Tomorrow our internet access at home is getting turned on.  I think that maybe it might make me happier than hot water.   Maybe.  One thing I know for sure:  having access to the online special needs parents and community is priceless.  I am truly happy that we are lucky to live in these digital days.


  1. My mom and I often think about how different it would be raising a child with special needs without the internet. The ways in which it has been beneficial are too numerous to list! Glad you're on your way to being settled into the new space and excited for you all to be on this adventure!

  2. I often think, what if my special needs child was my first child (now 27) and not the one who was born in 2002? Not just the internet and the ability to get up to date information and connect with other parents, but early intervention, access to specialized therapies, even society's attitudes toward special needs would have been much different. And I am so grateful for all those parents who blazed the way before me, putting in place much of what we can easily take for granted!