The Children’s Publishing Center
South Grafton Elementary School
South Grafton, MA
BOSTON: Richard and Cindy Bissell of Grafton received recognition at the 2001 Department of Mental Retardation Statehouse Recognition Ceremony on March 30. The ceremony, entitled “In Partnership with Communities” and hosted by WBZ-TV’s Bob Lobel, honored fifteen individuals and/or groups throughout the state for their progress and accomplish-merits that have been achieved through inter-personal, interagency and collaborative efforts.
The Bissell’s are parents of twin boys with disabilities who determined a need in the Central Region of Massachusetts for information about disability-related resources. Working in partnership with the Central Region of the Department of Mental Retardation and central region resources, they created and maintain the www.communitygateway.org website. Families, provider agencies, staff, individuals with disabilities and community members are now able to access disability information for local, state, and national resources. The Bissell’s work with large and small groups to provide links to their website and keep online resource information current and accurate.
The Mental Retardation community held numerous events throughout the state in March to commemorate the month as Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities month. Regional, facilities and area offices working in concert with families and boards hosted a series of local events conferences, legislative receptions and recognition ceremonies to honor the accomplishments of people with developmental disabilities.
A Certain Kind of Love, by Deborah Wright and Jean Joy Crowley. Versa Press
This compilation of stories allows us to visit some special families in their own homes and in their hearts. Some of these experiences are a celebration of life and love; others are a tearful reminder of how precious life is and how fragile it can be. But whether tragic or triumphant, each heartfelt story resounds with honesty and emotional integrity. Each story provides the reader with a different perspective and allows us a glimpse into the life of “special needs.”
The death of a child is one of the most horrifying experiences any parent could face. When we read about Jennifer and read her father’s moving and inspiring eulogy we cannot help but be moved.
Cameron’s mother tells us how the love of her son transformed her from a “nervous, naïve, and self- righteous mother to a confident, informed, compassionate, and strong person.” Her honesty and openness are a lesson to each of us. Do you want to know what it is like to be “different” and what an individual who has a disability might feel as he travels through the “able-bodied” world? Read the story of Charles that he has titled simply “My Journey.”
Each of these readings offers encouragement and hope as portrayed in the grief, joy, fear, courage, heartache and unconditional love shown by these families and individuals.
Cynthia Bissell lives in Grafton, MA, with her husband Richard and 6-year-old twin sons Eric and Aaron. The twins both have disabilities related to their premature births.