Different . . . The New Normal

I wrote a guest post over at “The Beauty Message Challenge” site.  Thought y’all might enjoy it!

It’s OKAY to be different. I’m not talking about being different to stand out, being different to fit in or even being different just to gain attention.  It’s okay to be YOU, the real YOU.

I’m talking about the different that lives within YOU.  It is OKAY to let that shine and to share your uniqueness and your differences with the world.  Let those differences radiate and glow from you.  You and others WILL benefit from it!

It’s taken me nearly 40 years to take this to heart . . . my heart.  I’ve been saying and thinking this since my special angel of a daughter came into my life.  But, it just now hit me that this message needs to be said and felt and lived by the little girl in me who was ALWAYS different and felt like she NEVER fit in.  My 9 year old daughter, Lillian, was born with a chromosome abnormality called 18p-.  This means a piece of the short arm of her chromosome number 18 is deleted.  This has rendered Lillian “different” in many ways from the typical child.  And, the main way this manifests is that she has speech impediments.

One of Lillian’s purposes as my daughter is to use my voice to spread the message to the world that Different is Okay, Different is Beautiful and Different iz Good. In addition, to help me learn this for myself and to accept and be okay with this for myself.  I can look back at all the scenes and times running through my mind and say “It’s Okay.  You were different, you didn’t fit in with the typical crowd, you looked different, your family was different, you were awkward, you weren’t stylish, It’s Okay.” And, it’s OKAY to let that go now.

Lillian is also my daughter to help heal parts of me that I didn’t even realize needed to be healed until this VERY moment.  When I came across the phrase “different is good” from a fellow 18p- Mom about a year and half ago, I asked her at the time if I could use that phrase on t shirts.  {Thanks SM ~ you are a beautiful, smart and amazing Mom to IM.} It has since grown into the slogan for my 501(c)3, Turning Views Foundation.  I had no idea at the time that the reason was also that I needed to heal and tend to some very old wounds for myself.

And, for you reading this, it’s OKAY.  It’s okay to be different.  Let us please never use our differences as an excuse for failure; but instead use our differences as a reason to succeed and for success! Whether those differences are genetic, whether those differences are from disabilities or whether we are just plain different!

Different is Beautiful . . .  Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word Y’all!

Head on over, and check it out!  {I met the co-creator of this Message and this fabulous iPhone Application at the eWomenNetwork Annual Conference which I attended last July 2010 ~ Isabel Rasmussen).

Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word

It’s time to begin unveiling The Turning Views Foundation and the Different iz Good™ movement.  Those of you who know me know that I’m Mom to Lillian Darnell, 9 yrs old, and Thomas Darnell, 4 yrs old.  Lillian has a Chromosome 18 abnormality called 18p-.  The  main way in which this manifests is that Lillian is speech impaired (she’s about 90% unintelligible). Lillian uses an iPhone with an AAC Application called Proloquo2Go to speak.

Turning Views Mission is To Empower Those With Genetic Differences by giving them a voice, helping them to be a part of the conversation like NEVER before! Turning Views Slogan is Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word!

Our main goal is to provide nonverbal or speech impaired children with an iPod Touch or iPad with the Proloquo2Go AAC Application (or similar) installed and all needed accessories.  In addition, to train caregiver and/or the child how to use the device.  Another goal is to hold workshops in conjunction with schools and speech therapist to educate regarding this technology.

This device and application are life changing in an unbelievably good way for the nonverbal and speech impaired.  Insurance companies and Medicaid do not cover these.  The alternative up to this point have been heavy, bulky devices that cost anywhere from $7,000 – $10,000.  One can have an iPhone or iPod Touch with the Proloquo2Go application installed and all needed accessories for around $600 – $1,000.

One additional major aspect of the Turning Views Foundation is to educate how technology combined with Social Networking sites improves quality of life for special needs children ~ especially nonverbal and speech impaired children. The way in which we communicate and conduct business has fundamentally shifted and changed forever.  It is my opinion that the World has shifted in such a way to include the speech impaired like they have NEVER been included before.  We are no longer solely communicating with our mouths and voices.  A large portion of the population is communicating using technology and social networking sites.  The speech impaired are now able to be a part of the conversation like NEVER before.  Their community and those they can engage with, socialize with and conduct business with has grown exponentially.  A second phase to our mission is to facilitate the making of entrepreneurs of those special needs children, teens and young adults who choose to pursue this exciting venture.

Different iz Good . . .  Spread the Word ~ we will be rolling out tons of DIFFERENT and fun ways for y’all to help spread the word.  I invite anyone who knows a special needs child, teenager or young adult (and even they themselves) to post a video reply on the Different iz Good YouTube channel telling us why Different iz Good, Different is Beautiful and Different is OKAY or what it means to you.

I believe Lillian is different for many reasons.  She is a special young lady who shines like no other and has a beautiful inspiring energy about her.  She is here to teach me and the rest of us some lessons.  One of which is to embrace technology and the shift in the way we communicate or at least approach with an open mind to how life changing this is for some of those amongst us.

Spread the Word Y’all ~ Different iz Good!

I want to steal a  bit of space here and thank a ton of special wonderful motivating and inspiring people for encouraging me and being a part of the creation and birthing of the Turning Views Foundation and the Different iz Good movement.  First, and foremost, Susan, a fellow 18p- Mom.  When I came across the phrase “different is good” in something she had written about a year and half ago, I asked her at the time if I could use that phrase on t shirts.  {Thanks Susan ~ you are a beautiful, smart and amazing Mom to IM.} It has since grown into the slogan for this 501(c)3, Turning Views Foundation.  My wonderful and supportive family who at times, I’m sure, wonder if I’ve lost my mind!! My Chromosome 18 Family ~ having y’all there means more than could ever be expressed in writing.  My eWomenNetwork Family ~ Love y’all to pieces – many times y’all are my glue and facilitate my Glow!  My friends from Oaklawn Junior High (Houma, LA – way down in da bayou) ~ I’m blessed to have y’all in my life!  Friends from my past and my newest friends and supporters.  Thanks a million to all of you!