Welcome to Holland

By Emily Perl Kingsley

“I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It feels like this…..

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?!” you say. “What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

 It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around….

and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills…. and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…. and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…. because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…..about Holland.”

We share this poem with you today to broch the topic of acceptance. This poem, written by Emily Perl Kingsley, is often regarded as a beautiful depiction of acceptance. Acceptance takes time, experience, and changing one’s perception. The Clinicians here at Eyas Landing are well versed in accepting all abilities and individuals for who they are. Simply put, that is our job. We take clients for who they are and support them to become more independent in the skills we are targeting.

For parents, acceptance is fundamentally different, because you spend time imagining your child long before they arrive. As Emily put it, “All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” In that there is loss. Confronting those emotions is pivotal to achieving acceptance. Our wonderful Social Workers at Eyas Landing hold a weekly support group for parents and siblings. I encourage you to reach out to take the first step towards acceptance. Because “if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…..about Holland.”

Here at Eyas Landing, we see how beautiful differences are. The children we serve all radiate their own individuality that we strive to celebrate and nurture. We are not here to change kids and dim their natural light, instead we strengthen them. Providing therapeutic services that primarily builds one’s ability to do what they enjoy and communicate with those they love is the utmost important approach we utilize.

We encourage you to read this poem and begin to understand how special your “Holland” is.

Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.

Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!

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