I want you to meet the other Dr. Ward.
You might have heard the story about my little brother, and his growing pains. (If you haven’t just ask.)
That was the “unofficial start” of my chiropractic career.
In light of this day (Mother’s Day), I wanted to talk about the other Dr. Ward, and what she has meant not just to me, but to the persons she has directly and indirectly affected.
If you have found some help in my practice, I believe you’re one of them.
First off, when I say Dr. Ward, I mean PhD. She wasn’t a health care kind of doctor. She had a different kind of practice.
Mom was a teacher for 35 years
But she wasn’t just a teacher. She was a special-ed teacher for her entire career.
And many of those years she worked with kids (mostly boys) who were emotionally and behaviorally disturbed. And much of this was in the era before everyone who was differently wired was medicated.
Her first job was as a civilian on an army base in Colorado. She ended her career as a middle school teacher in the Chicago Suburbs, while also teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
There’s a special-ed textbook out there that she co-authored, along with some journal articles.
Along the way she got her masters and eventually her PhD in special education.
I think these things are important because in her words she grew up in “that house” in a working class neighborhood in Buffalo, NY where the cops were called more than a couple of times.
From an early age she had a sense that her life had a purpose
But from an early age she had a sense that her life had a purpose in education. And that she would change kids’ lives.
She won a Golden Apple Award for her teaching, along with some other awards that the teachers among us would recognize.
I don’t remember them all.
But I do know this…When anybody had a problem reaching a special-ed kid, or getting to the root of their disability in the classroom, Dr. Ward was there. She was a resource for other educators.
Mom was never shy to say that the education system often got in the way of itself, and often didn’t help kids. She was comfortable thinking outside the box.
She once told me a story about a group of special-ed middle school girls who had a hard time fitting in. Some social situations were painful and intimidating for them. Especially the cafeteria.
So, Mom hosted lunches on her own time in her classroom for this little group, as her way of bringing them together to connect and give them a break from the social anxiety of their day.
Mom just did stuff outside the box for the people she cared for. She too had a practice.
And that’s the kind of practice I aspire to have. Mom’s respect for the ideas that had come before her, but also her innovation, has allowed me to be comfortable looking for time-tested, but also non-traditional answers when practicing as a chiropractor.
Unfortunately, mom passed away in late 2021. When they heard the news, a number of her former students reached out to us and let us know what she meant to them. That was incredibly gratifying.
So, Happy Mother’s Day to Dr. Rosanne Ward. And all the moms out there, both living and deceased, who’s own ways of being have reverberated in the lives of their children.
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