by Almeda Girod
Pam Silverwood was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele (exposed spinal cord). Her doctors said, “She’ll never walk or talk; she’ll be mentally retarded,” and they advised immediate institutionalization. But her parents said, “no, she’s part of our family,” and took her with them to their South Chicago home.
Pam found her life’s work while attending an elementary school for handicapped children. Her classmates with speech problems told her that, in speech therapy, “we play games,” and Pam thought, “that’s for me!” After traditional high school, college, three years of teaching and a master’s degree, she landed her “dream job” at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
She became Supervisor of Speech Language Pathology at Walter Reed, where she treated stroke patients First Lady Mamie Eisenhower and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, in addition to the many Army personnel grievously injured in the Vietnam War.
Later, Pam married husband David Hack and they adopted an infant son—who is now age 30, six feet five and working for Apple, Inc.
Most important to Pam, she’s lived a normal life—which turned out also to be both exciting and fascinating. She’s learned that great things may happen, if you hope and TRY. “The parent of a special needs child must both hope and do, and may have to say the equivalent of, “No, she’s part of our family; she’s coming home with us.” Your child or grandchild — every child — is depending on you for that.”
Pam says her parents were “the best parents on the planet. Without their support, without their love, hope and faith, their guidance, patience and perseverance, my life would have been totally different.” David says he was inspired by Pam’s life to write her memoir. To read the first 20 pages of Pam’s memoir (FREE) go to Amazon.com, search for “She Will NOT Grow Out Of It!” and open the page for Pam’s book. Then click the link, “Look Inside.”