It was in June 2009 that I first met Mike George. I was attending a MOVE International Trainers conference in Bakersfield, California, and Mike had flown all the way from New Brunswick to attend. There, he told me about his son Ben who had Cytomegalovirus (CMV) with resulting severe and multiple disabilities. Mike had met resistance from local therapists when trying to get the MOVE Curriculum adopted in the public school Ben attended, so he had flown 3,500 miles to learn what he could about the MOVE Curriculum. I was impressed.
Mike and I stayed in touch. He sent me photos of Ben using a Rifton trike and then ideas for adapting the trike. He followed the progress of the Activity Chair, then in development. This year, I received a message from Mike that he needed the “soft pelvic harness” for Ben’s Rifton Pacer. And he needed it right away as Ben was set to graduate from high school in a few days and had his heart set on walking across the stage to receive his dipoma. Mike then asked me if I had seen the book he had written about Ben called Third Time Lucky. I hadn’t, but bought one right away.
In it Mike describes the first five years of Ben’s life. At one of Ben’s first appointments when he was only four days old, Mike heard from the doctor, “Ben may never be able to walk, or talk, or go to school.” So the book describes in detail what it is like to come to terms with being a parent of a child with complex disabilities, the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds, while knowing for a certainty that your life will never be the same. Taken from his daily notes, we see what Ben’s family life looks like, small steps forward, frustrations with lack of support, and trips to the emergency room. However, what shines through the narrative is the love of Ben’s family – parents that will do anything for their child, and a boy’s character that will not be trapped by a spastic body. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand what parents of special children experience.
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