Meet Vicki

My favorite expression (from the movie Apollo 13) is, “Failure is not an option.” 

As an educator, meeting a student’s needs became a search for what works. 

As a Christian, facing challenges involves relying on all the resources God provides: heavenly wisdom, inner strength, clear guidance, abundant hope, lasting joy, etc.

 “ Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.”  Jeremiah 32:17

 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”  Ephesians 3:20

Meet Vicki: The Parent – Professor – Patient

In many ways I’ve learned about special needs. 

Parent

Details: I’m a wife and mother of two sons.  Our younger son, Rob, is 29 yrs. old and married to Kristie.  Rob and his wife are doctors.  Our older son, Chris is 30 yrs. old.  Chris graduated from college and is a freelance computer consultant.  Both our sons have their father’s musical gift.  (I, on the other hand, have no musical talent…but I’m an appreciative audience!)  Both sons were identified as being ‘gifted’ and both earned a black belt in karate. 

Insight Earned as a Parent: When Chris was 5 yrs. old he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  When he was in his junior year of high school Chris he was diagnosed with mental illness (schizoaffective disorder).  Those experiences equipped me to be a better teacher.  I could be more compassionate and supportive to parents of students with special needs. Those experiences also kept me on my knees in prayer and clinging to God’s Word.  Although my heart was often pierced watching what Chris had to experience, I also witnessed God’s faithfulness. 

Professor: During the 34 yrs. of teaching I’ve taught students with many disabilities – which included blindness, multi-handicapped, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional difficulties which necessitated special education, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, language disorders, cerebral palsy, etc.  I’ve taught in Christian schools and in public schools, in special education classes and in regular education classes.  I’ve been an itinerant vision teacher and am currently an adjunct professor at a Christian university where I’ve taught several special education courses.  I’m grateful to have a part in preparing the next generation of Christians who will impact the lives of students with special needs. 

Patient:  When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I gained new insight into living with special needs. 

 Vicki – the Person

Sanity is still intact.

Finding time for interests:  I love photographing God’s creation. 

Keeping it Fun:  During the 12 years I taught second grade, I collected novel items.  They brought delight to my students.  I found uses for a mannequin.  An industrial size boot (about 4 feet long) in the corner of my classroom made a fun and unusual spot to read a book.  I especially enjoyed surprising my students with unexpected sounds (of the rain forest, or a trumpet sounding reveille).  One of the most favorite of all was a marionette named Wrong Way Ralph.  My students loved his monthly visits because he took everything literally.  The students were always up for the challenge of setting Wrong Way Ralph straight!  A merry heart doeth good like medicine!  (Proverbs 17:22)

Meet Wrong Way Ralph

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6 responses

15 09 2011
dianne marino

Vicki this is great! I also have a son with adhd and vicki was very helpfu to me when my son was in middle school. I also have a son newly diagnosed with schizophrenia. Vicki has also been encouraging in this. i would love to hear from other parents. how they cope, function, grieve. Spouses greive differently too, dont they. I need creative ways to make it still work. we do ok and try to communicate but sometime have a very different approach.

15 09 2011
Vicki Chandler

Dear Dianne,
Each time you and I talk and share from our hearts, I love hearing how you keep your eyes fixed on Him. It’s encouraging to hear how you commune with God through His Word – with verses freely flowing from your mouth. I’m glad you brought up the topic of grieving because it’s a huge concern of so many parents who have special needs children. Because each spouse grieves differently that can lead to stress in the marriage. We need to lift each other up asking God to protect our marriages.
Sharing the journey,
Vicki

18 09 2011
debbie

Vicki,you have been an inspiration to me in so many ways. Having two out of three children with AD/HD, my life is challanging at times to say the least. You were there praying for me and encouraging me when I didn’t know what to do with Sam. I was sure you thought I was crazy! Thank you for being a dear friend and encourager, and thank you for setting an example of what it looks like to have many challenges in life yet still press on and run the race..keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus….love, Debbie

18 09 2011
Vicki Chandler

Dear Debbie,
I never thought you were crazy. Quite the contrary… I’ve been amazed by your calm demeanor in the midst of all the challenges. I know it’s the peace of the Lord in you. Having been judged by so many people when raising our son with ADHD, I learned the last thing we need is to be judged. I’ve been so blessed by our friendship. I value you as an example of a godly woman with such a gentle spirit. I’m grateful for the bond we share in this journey of parenting children with special needs. The icing on the cake was when I benefitted from your mom’s experience as a special educator (when she volunteered in my classroom) and when I had the opportunity to teach Emeline. What a blessing to be a part of your family!
Vicki

27 01 2012
Joann

Vicki, I have a sister with multiple sclerosis for at least 25 years, and RSD. Her chief complaint from MS is heat intolerance and extreme fatique. The RSD took about 3 years to diagnose and another year to find relief from the disabling pain in her heal. She is basically home-bound. In addition, she has an adult daughter with ADHD who refuses medication, though she is an RN. My question: how have you managed to stay active with MS? My sister has vision problems, but not severe; leg pain is controlled, and she has no trouble walking.

27 01 2012
Vicki Chandler

Hi Joann,
What a compassionate sister you are!
I completely identify with your sister’s heat intolerance and extreme fatigue – in the context of having an adult child who has ADHD and who refuses medication (in my son’s case – medication for his mental illness).
To answer your question about how I’ve managed to stay active. The short answer is that without God’s help it would be impossible for me to do what I do.
The longer reply is that every day is a challenge. A close friend of mine who also has MS once asked me how I manage to do water walking at the gym three times a week. My response: “The better question to ask is how I get up in the morning!” I count it a victory when I’m able to even get out of bed…a victory in the Lord, an answer to prayer. When I am weak, He is strong.
Although most people affected by MS complain of fatigue and heat intolerance, the disease affects each patient differently. Some have it worse than others.
But God is never changing. His faithfulness is constant.
Last but certainly not least, I’m able to stay as active as I am because I have a very supportive husband. Thankfully, your sister has you!

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