How one CEO sees unrealized potential in special needs kids
By Matt Hadro
Washington D.C., Jan 20, 2015 / 05:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News) - Special needs children can bring joy, grace and a potential to thrive in the workplace in a way that parents may never have foreseen – says a former CEO and senate candidate who gave her personal witness to this at a pro-life event on Tuesday.
After discussing her time teaching an eight year-old boy at a special needs school, Carly Fiorina revealed that, “I have learned over the course of my life that every person has potential, that everyone has God-given gifts, and in truth, most people have far more potential than they realize.”
Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlitt Packard and 2010 GOP senate nominee, gave the keynote address at the Heritage Foundation event “Welcoming Every Life.” The event emphasized the tough choice parents face when their child receives a “poor prenatal diagnosis” like Down Syndrome, Spinal Bifida, or another genetic disorder.
The vast majority of unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted; statistics from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation estimate the percentage as between 67 and 85 percent.
Yet despite the challenges of raising a special needs child, they can bring “joy and grace” that could never have been predicted, Fiorina insisted.
“Kenneth,” her special needs student, “provided moments of joy and grace and made a positive contribution to my life and I know to his parents’ lives as well,” she said.
Speaking as a former CEO, she said that the “highest calling of leadership is to unlock potential in others.” Children with special needs bring about this opportunity for leadership, she said.
“Sometimes, the times of greatest challenge can also bring the greatest blessings,” she revealed. “I know that life is not measured in time, in IQ, in wealth. Life is measured in love and moments of joy and grace and positive contribution.”
Mothers may be scared of a Downs diagnosis, but they need our “deepest support, never our condemnation,” Fiorina insisted. “Truly, who are we to judge which life is better than another? And none of us can predict the future, or the struggles that we will face.”
Her talk played into the theme of this week’s 2015 March for Life, “Every Life Is a Gift,” that focuses on those unborn children given a “poor prenatal diagnosis.”
March for Life president Jeanne Monahan explained the theme in an op-ed for The Hill. She wrote that although parents may “understandably” be frightened by a “poor prenatal diagnosis” and the majority choose to abort the child, those families with Downs children overwhelmingly report a positive quality of life, she cited statistics from a Harvard researcher.
As a Republican candidate for senate, Fiorina told of how, after she won her party’s nomination, she was asked by a donor if she would soften her “extreme” abortion stance, especially after she had received degrees from MIT and Stanford.
“The irony of that statement, of course, is that science is helping those of us who believe in the sanctity of life to make our case every day. Science is why more and more young people are becoming pro-life,” she stated.
For example, evidence now shows that the same DNA present in a zygote is also present in a person at his death, she said. Surgeries on unborn children as young as 19 weeks are successful. Unborn children can dream and feel pain at five months of age.
“We gather here because we know that the life we save may make all the difference in the lives of others. We gather here because we know that no one of us is any better than any other one of us. We gather here because we know that every human life has potential and every human life is precious,” Fiorina concluded her talk.