Please read the next sentence with all the love and affection a mother’s heart can hold.
All my kids are nerds - all four of them, from the fourteen year old right on up to the twenty-six year old.
I can comfortably make this statement because it’s based on fact – 99% of their conversations are weird by anyone’s standards, except other nerds.
The last conversation Nic had in my kitchen involved figuring out how many men could fit on the surface of Jupiter. His answer included “Unlike Earth, Jupiter is not separated ground from sky, land from water, it is simply a gaseous collection of muck. There is no reaching the surface of Jupiter because there isn't one. Once an object enters the gasses of Jupiter, it simply falls, or is pulled rather…” I stopped listening.
Lani tells math jokes about sines, cosecants and rhombuses. Nic and Mike laugh hysterically while I smile and hope no one sees the panicked “HUH???” in my eyes.
Taylor reads Edgar Allan Poe before bed then sing-songs under her breath as she walks through the house, “To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells from the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells…” I’m left praying that no one beats her up and stuffs her in a locker at school.
Before Mike went back to college after Christmas break, he and Taylor had an argument commonly heard amongst nerds – if all Super Heroes got into the ultimate cosmic battle, which one would win?”
At this point I thought, “Wow. I’m considering selling a major organ on Craigslist to pay for his senior year and he’s arguing about super heroes?? Seriously?!” I was hoping for a discussion on interest rates, insurance premiums, the stock market, the odds of the Packers playing in the Super Bowl, anything to make use of his education, but super heroes??
They had narrowed the field to a war between Batman and Ironman, when I yelled, “Are you nuts?! Both of these guys depend on a stable economy for their superpowers. If the economy collapses and their businesses go under, Ironman couldn’t repair his suit and Batman can kiss his gadgets goodbye! Try again!” We decided the winner of this mighty mêlée would be a Jedi with a Kryptonite lightsaber.
Oh goodness. The nuts didn’t fall so far from the tree after all.
When the college students came back from Christmas break, the teachers had lots of interesting activities planned for Orientation. They played games and prepared school supplies and wrote poems and talked about… super powers?
Imagine my relief! Talking about super heroes is normal! All college students do it! And even some of the teachers. Mrs. Anderson said that she would like super strength above all other super powers.
The students put a lot of thought into their super selves. Most students decided that they wanted to fly, but Sharon added, “I would want to be able to fly to Heaven to see God.”
Wade and Megan want x-ray vision.
Brandon got creative and said, “Super speech.”
One student didn’t want to age and another wanted to heal herself quickly, like Wolverine.
Alex wishes he could manipulate time and space, and David wants to be a jumper.
|David is #3. Check out that jump!|
Like Mrs. Anderson, several students want super strength, Israel wants super speed and Nichole wants super hearing.
Matt wants to be able to climb walls.
Maika is the only one who already has her super power. She simply said she wants “to freeze.” That’s what happens when you go to school in Wisconsin, Maika.
So it seems it doesn’t matter who you are – nerd or not, male or female, 20-something or 40-something – there’s just something appealing about being given the gift of super abilities, ones that allow you to do something extraordinary, something heroic, something others said couldn’t be done…
I guess looking at it that way, all the students of Shepherds College are super heroes. Every student at Shepherds College has found the super courage to fly above and beyond society’s expectations of someone with an intellectual disability. They are learning new things every day, and they’re daring to realize their dreams. Each future is brighter because our students are refusing to be limited by their disabilities.
Forget the comic books. Come meet some real heroes at Shepherds College.
Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.