Home » parenting » Public speaking – You want me to do what???

Public speaking – You want me to do what???

Within a year of Emily being diagnosed, we are spending most our free time at the hospital…

We work weekends and take days off during the week in order to go to the hospital….

We break our vacations into tiny pieces in order to go to the hospital….

A trip to the hospital requires a full day. We live a couple of hours away, it takes longer when we factor in traffic so sometimes we actually need to get to Montreal the night before due to early appointments.

So, once a month, we take a day off to drive to Montreal to meet with our physiotherapist and occupational therapist to learn how to play/work with Emily. On the way home we buy whatever supplies we need to practice what the PT and OT are telling us we need to do.

Both therapist are amazing and our OT believes I am the greatest mom….. πŸ™‚ I liked her even more for saying that! She is convinced I should quite my job, go back to school and become an OT….. WHAT??? I work in accounting in the hospitality industry and I LOVE it!!!!

I had to explain to our OT on multiple occasion that the only kid that is allowed, to sneeze, vomit, pee, cough or splatter any other type of liquids on me is Emily!!! Slowly, she gets it, she stops asking me to go back to school….. but than she asks me to go to University!!! As a public speaker!!!! WHAT???

Me! A public speaker at McGill University!!!

Me! Little French me with limited English at the time!

Me, scared to speak in front of a crowd….


I had no idea what to say to that…. The university needed guest speakers and they figured out that a parent who was really involved in their child’s treatment would be great… ok, I can see why that sounded like a good idea!

But me???

Now, I am scared! I know I can’t do that!!!! But if did do it…. if I managed to touch 1 student…. it could have an impact on so many people…. so many patients……

If telling our story could make one student realize that my daughter is not a syndrome, that she is a little girl and should be treated as such! If telling our story could help other kids be treated as kids, other adults be treated as human being and not as a syndrome, not as a disability or as someone who had a tremendous accident…..

I could make a difference!

Could I do that? Wow!!!! I was going to do that. I only had 1 request, I needed Emily there with me…. I figured the students would be looking at her not at me… πŸ™‚ The university was quick to reply that Emily should be there with me.

So I did it, I agreed to be a guest speaker at McGill University!

Not only did I go that year, but I went the following 2 years! On 3 occasions Emily and I were invited to McGill University to speak to a group of occupational therapists in the making. From one year to the other the teachers would tell the students about the progress they were seeing in Emily. First year, she sat in her stroller, second year, she had a walker, third year she was walking around, looking at the students and eventually settling on a desk in the first row where someone gave her a piece of paper and some highlighters…. I was delighted to see her work the crowd!!!

From year to year, I got better at it! My English was improving and I knew I was making a difference.

When we left Quebec to move to New Brunswick, the teachers at the University were sad to see us go! From time to time I wonder if they still have parents going to the University to talk to the students, I hope they do! I wonder if one of those students remembers Emily and I coming to visit…. I hope at least one students per year remembers us and has become a great OT with amazing human skills allowing him or her to see a little kid or an adult as such and not as a case or a syndrome!

I hope Emily and I made a difference!

To this day, I believe I wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for Emily pushing me to be a better person even before she could speak.

Emily took me from “I can’t speak in front of a University class in my mother tongue there is no way I would do it in English……. ” to ” Emily is not giving up on achieving milestones, who am I to give up on achieving milestone?”

We are never too old to learn!
Thank you Emily for helping me grow!!!

How are your kids pushing you to be better? Would you recognize them pushing you to grow?


7 thoughts on “Public speaking – You want me to do what???

    • Thank you. It took me (us) many years to reach that place when it feels ok to share. I have people which I have known for years who knew Emily was different but that was it. Some close friends are learning things while reading my blog. I have been protecting my family’s privacy for 15 years but as Emily decided to talk to her classmates, I figured I could do the same thing too. She’s my inspiration.

  1. either my memory fails me, or I missed that part! I had no idea! The OT is not the only one to think you`re an amazing mom. I`ve told you repeatedly and so have many others. My mom for one has always said how Emily was lucky to have such amazing parents who didn`t give up on her. And in return Emily has been an amazing daughter to you.

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