Great moments Person Centered Science [PDF]

Tell Me a Story of Deep Delight

An Account of the Work of a Network of Families in the Durham Region*

John O’Brien

Oct. 1998

Tell me a story.
In this century, and moment, of mania, Tell me a story.
Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.
The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce it’s name.

Tell me a story of deep delight.
– Robert Penn Warren1

Families in the Durham Region whose members include a person with a developmental disability –like families with disabled members throughout North America– face many socially imposed barriers to living so they can recount stories that evoke deep delight. Despite two generations of progress in enunciating the human and civil rights of people with disabilities, the storylines most commonly laid down in our society still dictate shallow, pathetic stories of disability as a chronic tragedy that…

…raises questions about parental suitability (now days usually unspeakable, though still potent)
…calls for brave acceptance of separation and isolation and low achievement and second class status
…looks for hope in benevolent control by professionals who, if they cannot be miracle workers, will at least be predictable, patient and protective.