From “Welcome to Holland” to “Amsterdam Int.”

Saturday’s planned book post will be delayed, as I just had to write about this.

Watchful - you never know (Naomi's photos)
Watchful – you never know
(Naomi’s photos)

In the fascinating book I am listening to (audio-book) “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon, the author says there is a piece called “Welcome to Holland”. He claims that   just about every parent and educator of special needs children has encountered this piece, written by a mother of child with Down Syndrome (Emily Kingsley),  not only once but frequently. It attempts to explain in a simple way what it means to have a special needs child. The author includes it in the book.

I’ve been involved in special education for all of my adult life and I had never heard of this piece. But then, I don’t live in the United States.

I was intrigued by this way of presenting the situation of discovering your child has special needs, and went to look up the piece on the Internet. I wanted to read it again.

I stumbled upon an expansion of the piece, Amsterdam International also written by a mother of a child with special needs.  Dana Nieder says:

“While Welcome to Holland has a place, I used to hate it.  It skipped over all of the agony of having a child with special needs and went right to the happy ending.

The raw, painful, confusing entry into Holland was just glossed over.  And considering the fact that this little poem is so often passed along to new-moms-of-kids-with-special-needs, it seems unfair to just hand them a little story about getting new guidebooks and windmills and tulips.”

This is powerful stuff. I really recommend reading both pieces. It won’t take you long. I’m still thinking about them both.


2 thoughts on “From “Welcome to Holland” to “Amsterdam Int.””

  1. Dana Nieder is an excellent writer. She has two children with disabilities, and has written the best information on speech apps for non-verbal children that I’ve seen.

    And yes, there’s a lot of controversy about that article on Holland. I’ll be interested to hear what others think.

    1. Dana Neider writes beautifully! Reading this book you recommended is leading to all sorts of insights and new information.
      Thanks again!

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